Urgency, emergency, and instance are similar words used in different contexts due to the situation, people involved and the kind of audience. This day was an urgent day. It started with the sun shining despite a long streak of the heavy downpour; perhaps it was a great day for Adele to write a song that was not so melancholic but full of buttercups and bright colors likened to a hippie parade. I don’t know, but I for some reason need to construct a playlist for such days so that I can just press play and enjoy the jingles, kicks and snares, melody and lyrics. This was not such a day. I was called by a person whose role is important but not so important−I don’t have a word for that. I had to rush but at the same time, I was tired. It was a weekend I needed to rest so what do I do? I ignored the rest because there is always the next one.
Ever been open for a solo urgent adventure? I have. That is the life, so it seems I heard it is called adulting these days so I adulted. I went to board a shuttle for a short trip that is supposed to be two hours at moderate speeds but ends up to be three hours in a shuttle; I wonder why and I will never get the answer. I took the front seat because a good conversation with a driver is always welcome. There is always something new you will learn from a driver and you will not come across bother as compared to try striking a conversation with a total stranger.
At the shuttle’s cock pit, a fairly built man had sat next to me, he was quiet and didn’t utter a word. With his phone in hand, he occasionally texted as we started out our journey on the A104 road a road that connects Kenya. We joked around with the driver at least so he can join and chip in but the most I got was a smirk on his face. At times I gave a nudge on his shoulder to support my argument but he smiled a bit and went back to texting. I never thought a 50-year-old looking man who must have discovered the gym quite recently would be so much into phone text chatting.
Finally, another call was buzzing on his phone, this one he didn’t ignore or maybe just maybe he couldn’t ignore. He answered to it and his voice was frail.”It’s true, that is the way of life,” he told the person on the other end of the call. You could feel the deep sadness and sorrow in the tone of his voice. He rolled down the window and stared deep into the horizon overlooking Mt. Longonot and the vast rift valley. We got the drift, the driver and I went quiet. He must have been a grieved man. He stared outside for a period of approximately twenty minutes. The vehicle must have had unfriendly strangers at the back because those twenty minutes were the longest I had ever encountered this year. It was like the outer limits the only sound were whispers from the car stereo speakers since the driver turned down the volume when he was on phone and passengers at the back were pin drop silent apart from the pings of WhatsApp messages and the running of the diesel Toyota shark engine.
Bob Marley was playing on the radio, you can barely hear him sing but the 48-year-old guy heard and did the honors of turning up the volume a notch. It was (Three Little Birds- Bob Marley) playing that was when I saw his face, dried tears on his cheeks fairly red eyes and sadness was written all over his face. A true display that spectacles can not hide tears.
Placing my hand on his shoulder I told him it’s going to be alright he nodded and tears started to flow. There is a problem with ‘I have with tragedy, loss and consolation.’ 100% of the time I tell myself I will do a better job next time at handling the mentioned because I am clueless every other time. It’s always like the first time. Even the words from my mouth are somehow inarticulate and my facial expression clearly confused.
This time around I must have handled it well, perhaps because he was a stranger and I had no standard of compassion to maintain or attain. It was natural I felt it in my heart. I asked him to share his loss and he said: “love is a pain”. She fought hard and she never losses. She was a winner but why now? He had lost his wife of 10years, had three young ones since he had given up on love until 10 years ago. He met this mature lady who was successful and focus, corporate and drop-dead gorgeous. He had outdone himself this time. She was way out of his league. He always trusted himself and believed in honesty whatsoever the case. He reminisces and he is stronger now no tear flow just a hearty smile but a frail voice. He says it was just yesterday he spoke to her and told her that the weekend is here and they would watch an episode of their favorite show on his tablet before she goes for chemo, and that is when I knew the dirty claws of cancer had yet again claimed another soul. A soul that completed someone’s life puzzle, a soul that was strict a soul that had few friends but genuine ones, a soul that listened and danced to Sauti Sol.
It was so heavy that the driver made a stopover about 20km to the destination to get a fruit drink, this was a first I have never had a stopover when on this short trip. He told me he is heading straight to where her body lay, “no episode to watch just a cold room probably with other lost souls” he said. And I told him that one day death will also die. Hang in there; brighter days are coming as I alighted at my destination.