When I’m Gone

Life is fleeting. Today I wake up, and on my WhatsApp group I see Sylli has posted something concerning Senzo Meyiwa. Or rather, that he is dead. I am like ‘how now?’ Well, that’s just how things are. The other day Senzo was bossing it in the Orlando Pirates goal as they (or shall I say, we) ran out 4-1 winners against Ajax Cape Town. The next day? Gone. Gone, never to come back. Too sad, too devastating. He was just getting to his peak as a goalkeeper, captaining both club and country, but thanks to a hit man’s bullet, we’ll never know just how great he could have become. Thoughts go out to his family, his nation and each of the distraught fellow Pirates fans. One Sea Robber is down, but we’re too many. They can’t take us all out. The Ghost lives on.

Of late I have been thinking a lot about death. About my death to be precise. And yeah, I am fully aware that it may be a taboo in some quarters to think or as they would put it, to invoke the name of death. Well, so what? Don’t we all get to meet our Maker at some point? I don’t want to imagine that thinking about it attracts it to come sooner than intended. Then again, there will be some who upon reading this, and then by coincidence I happen to die soon after, will conclude that I had a premonition about my death. You just don’t know how thrilled (in the after world) I would be if you all peddled such sentiment, ha! Who wouldn’t like to be credited with foreseeing their own death? If you ask me, that’s the ultimate praise one could ever get. But you know, I kid. I have seen no vision of my would-be impending demise. I’m still very much alive…albeit today I woke up feverish.

How would I like to die? In combat in the heat of the battle? In a mangled wreckage of one these ill-fated public service vehicles? Burnt beyond recognition in a fire that any serious arsonist would be proud of? Fall from the top tier of a stadium out of the delirium that only a last minute goal by your favourite team can provide? Or in my deathbed, clutching at my wife’s hands while pitifully staring at my kids gathered around? So much to choose from aye? It doesn’t matter though. At least I don’t think it should matter how you leave this earth. Though I tend to hear that so and so died a dignified, peaceful death. Well, they ain’t gonna live to savour all that peace and dignity, or are they?

My main concern with my death is how my people will mark it, how they will send me to finally meet both my grandfathers. Yeah, I never saw them, or at least I don’t have those memories. And I have missed them in some way. How will they bury me? Wait, will I want to be buried or be cremated? The jury is still out on that one, with time I’ll come to a decision. For now let’s go with the burial thing.

I’ve always envied our Muslim brothers for one thing. They bury their dead pretty soon, with minimal fuss. Why would you want to keep my decomposing body lying about in a fridge or a bed or floor or whatever for a week or two? It’s embarrassing even for the dead body. I mean, my dead self be like, ‘are we there yet?’ Even Christ was buried within three hours of his death. I’d love that, for me. But if you have to wait two weeks till I’m interred, it’s just annoying. If maybe there was a chance that death offered some grace period within which resurrection was possible, maybe I would understand, but it doesn’t. So we’ve cleared that up, yes? Bury me soonest possible, ok? The longer the period between death and burial, the greater and more stressful the grief. And you know me, I care about my people. I don’t want them to be worn out by their grief.

During Nelson Mandela’s burial last December, the organizers apologized for not honouring the ancestors’ wishes of burying someone as eminent as Madiba at noon, when the sun is at its lowest. I admire that kind of tradition, and as a result, please if you’ll be organizing my burial, uphold it. Ensure I’m in my grave at the latest, 1215h – a quarter an hour allowance because people don’t keep time at such social gatherings. Why though? I mean, I not exactly going to be ‘eminent’, right? Just do it because I said so, damn it! Don’t I get my last wishes granted, you whinny human beings? Not everybody in attendance will mourn me, but at least let the sun with all its glory be ‘downcast’ when I leave for the last time. Of course, my final farewell will be presided over by a Catholic priest. Staunch in death as in life, you know. That moment when you lower me into the grave, that poignant moment when it really dawns even to me that I’m well and truly gone, grant me this one wish. Sing the Kiswahili hymn for Holy Communion, ‘Anayekula Mwili Wangu’. It’s probably the song that when I sing at holy mass I feel closest to divinity. I feel at peace, albeit in a sombre way. I’d love to feel that way as I hit six feet under.

It is not easy, and it probably never will, but I would want to embrace my death. In as much as like everybody else I don’t want to die, I don’t want to fear it. My worry is that in the last sixty seconds of my life, would I be able to say with a straight face?:

I was here. I lived, I loved. I was here. I did, I’ve done everything that I wanted and it was more than I thought it would be. I will leave my mark so everyone will know I was here. I want to say I lived each day, until I died and know that I meant something in somebody’s life. The hearts I’ve touched will be proof that I leave, that I made a difference and this world will see”

Some words, huh? Well I wouldn’t want to take the credit. Ok, I’d want to heh! Anyway that was all Beyonce. Yes, I’m quoting Beyonce, not your usual post, this one. For now though, I still got to make a difference in this world. Let me try, before y’all get to sing thus at my gravesite: ‘Yesu wangu nakuomba, nishibishe na mwilio, nayo damu yako ninywe japo sistahili mimi.’

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Nothing

Finally I got to do it. No, not that thing that you think, and to be honest, I won’t comment on it either. All along I’ve been known to write about only football at The Dug Out , so to try something different is quite refreshingly awesome.  I mean, I’m so many things, but certainly not a one trick pony. This being my first post here, I’ve spent many hours, days even, in meditation trying to figure out what subject to write on. Funny enough, I failed to pick on any. So in essence this is going to be as all inclusive and no-holds-barred as they come.

‘They say bad things happen for a reason’. That’s a line from Breakeven by The Script, one of my favorite rock bands. Sorry, I always wasn’t going to quote stuff from a Riddim, for both obvious and strange reasons. So back to the line above, and I always wonder, does it hold true? If it does, then what’s the reason? At this juncture I’ve got to point out that this post is inspired by something bad that happened to me, so yes, maybe the bad things actually do happen for a reason. Perhaps you’re wondering what this bad thing that happened is. Well, be patient. We’re getting there alright.

If you check my favorites on twitter you’ll see two articles (not mine) that sort of highlight what those who wield the ‘Y’ chromosome go through at the hands of the opposite sex. It is well documented; I don’t need to dissect the two literary pieces further here. When I first read them, I always thought that it was just fiction, you know, generated in the mind of the writers. I was always like ‘come on, this can’t happen. At least not to me’. Well, I came to realize it really does happen or to put it bluntly, shit gets real. At the moment I’m reeling from being betrayed, heartbroken even, by a girl (of course). Yes, I know, you’re probably tired of reading about this, and you have every right to be. So am I. That’s why I’m hoping against hope that this will be the last such article written and read.

I only turned 21 last month and I hear this is the age that one becomes a fully matured adult, after three years of experience in adulthood. So, you know, I always thought I would be able to see things clearer and be able to make the right choices. To me, this was the opportunity to finally try out stuff that I hadn’t had gathered enough courage to hack. Alternatively, it heralded a chance for me to right some wrongs in stuff that I failed at before, mainly relationships. So I managed to get into one just prior to my 21st birthday, and in my mind this was the perfect way to prepare to blow my twenty-first candle. I’ve always been old fashioned, I think, in most of my beliefs and undertakings. I usually think that my next relationship is always going to be my last, not in the sense that I’ll never try again, but more of I’ll never need to. This one was no different.

She has always been special, from the very first time we met. Of course, they all are, you may argue. You know, the kind of person that you always think the best of no matter what you heard of them to contrary. The kind of person that you find you’ve known for so long, as a friend without anything more or less coming in between. Then one day you see a spark that you’d never seen before, maybe only ever imagined. At first you discredit it and play it down, but one day she sees too and points it out. That’s when you realize there’s more to the word ‘chemistry’ than what you knew it to be at high school. It dawns on you that you’re actually sharing it with someone. You’re over the moon. Really. You both don’t know what to do about it, to the extent that almost two years pass without either of you touching on the issue. In fact, in that duration both of you explore other options and duly move on. True to the old African adage that says ‘the eagle may fly far, but will always come back to its nest’, circumstances draw you back to each other and this time it’s like you’re both reading and adhering to the same script which says ‘ah, what the hell, let’s fall in love’. And you both do…seemingly. That’s my story.

Though it’s not the end of it. I mean it was like a dream come true. Every night when going to sleep, I’d reflect on it, look at how far we had come, smile and thank God. The feeling bordered surreal at times. This was it. It was meant to be, or was it? 45 days later it was over. Just like that. My love cheque has bounced. It returned with ‘sufficient funds’ stamped on it. Why? It’s a question I asked at the time and still ask now. She wouldn’t tell me, but instead resorted to the good old ‘it’s not you, I just can’t do this anymore. That’s all I can say’. Really? Makes me wonder whether everybody has the same meaning of ‘love’ or there’s a revised meaning of which I’m not updated about. How do you just wake up one day and someone you claimed to have loved becomes plague to you? How does even replying that ‘hi honey’ text in the morning become a problem? Or is this pretty normal and I’m just oblivious? Did women have some meeting where they ratified this? If so, why didn’t I (and all other men) get a memo?

Sometimes you wonder why you try some things. Or why you’re drawn to some people. I mean, for me life has always been simple. Wake up, think football, tweet football, watch football, play with my sisters, have supper with the family, tweet more football and go to sleep. Then some friends decide that I should actually ‘get a life’. So I try doing what suffices as getting a life, then I get taken for a ride and get thrown under the bus. I’ll probably never understand how love works. The fact that my parents are still happy together is enough for me. I wonder how they manage, but probably I shouldn’t, lest I jinx it for them. I hear another of the The Script’s songs being belted out by my computer’s speaker as I type away this. This time it is the song is ‘Nothing’ and this line is stuck in my head ‘she said nothing, I wanted words but all I heard was nothing’. And how true it is. Maybe everything, even this, is just for nothing. I think that’s enough for now.