… and finally here I am; it scares me that this is the first time the word ‘final’ has lived up to its meaning. This is it, no turning back. Everything in here is at its extreme: very cold, very quiet and very lonely. Are these white walls supposed to bring peace to the souls that lie here? Or maybe it’s for one to have a taste of heaven. The floor is tiled red though. What does that mean? Love? I don’t think so, this is not a place of love. This is danger, hell kind of danger. The owners of this place are smart eh.
I wonder if I’m alone, let me see…
Number 3 is empty. What about number 4? 4 is also empty but has a tinge of smell most probably they were taken out early morning. So three and four are empty, let us aim higher… and ten it is. It’s quite heavy, someone has to be in here…’
I quickly step back startled, “Fuck! You scared me!”
“Can’t a man have his sleep?” He wiggles his toes.
I chuckle, “How can you sleep and you are dead?”
He leans his head to the side, “What is the difference? I have nothing to lose.” I lean on the adjacent wall and fold my arms. He continues, “Could you finish what you started? Pull me out.” I do just that.
I take four steps back to allow him space.
“Wow! You look….you look,” I shake my head taking in his form—up and down.
He stretches out his arms, “Jaw dropping?”
Unsure, I nod my head, “Yeah,” I look at him dumbfounded, “jaw dropping in a bad and detestable way.”
“Ouch! That hurts.” He strides towards me and as he brings his right hand towards my mouth, I step back.
“Wh…what are you doing?” I ask him.
“Close your mouth.” He gestures with his fingers.
“What do you mean close my mouth?”
He ignores my question and instead says, “They used to call me Baraza.” He stretches out his arm.
“And they used to call me Chato and no I’m not shaking your hand.”
“I’m so sorry to assume you would shake my hand while all you wanted was a hug.” He taunts me grinning.
“Who are you?” I push him back and sit on the steel table.
He holds the bridge of his nose then looks at me, “What did you die of? Amnesia?”
“What the fuck has that got to do with what I just said?!” I sneer.
“In a very short period of time you have cursed twice.” he smirks.
“Go to hell!” He is really getting on my nerves.
“That is where you are headed if you continue cursing.”
“I’m done with you.” I step down, move to a corner and sit down on the floor bringing my legs up to my chest.
He turns and faces me, “No, we are just getting started.”
I bury my face in my palms and mumble, “God, you are so annoying.”
“You shall not use the name of God in vain!” He declares.
I give up.
He knows he is annoying me and he’s loving it. He sits on the steel table and moves his dangling legs forward and backward whistling.
I recognize the hymn— I’d better start getting used to calling them that, hymns and not songs.
I place my head in between my arms, look down and in a hush tone, I hum.
“Atií, kwetu pazuri nimeshaa pa kumbuka,” I chuckle at how he begins singing; it reminds me of a meme that I once read, ‘You are not a Kikuyu if you do not start a song with the word, atií’. But his name is Baraza and I don’t think he could have the guts to lie about his name at such a time.
I look up and he is facing forward. He continues, “ni nayo hamu kuishi na mwokozi wangu,” He clears his throat and says, ‘hamu’ changing his voice’s timbre.
“How was that?” Looking at me he continues, “Do you think I could join the choir of angels?” He wiggles his eyebrows, “Huh? Huh?”
I hold his gaze and ask him, “Do you think you’ll go to hell?”
He is taken aback and gulps, “And why would you ask me that after I just clearly sang that I’m so eager to live with my saviour?”
“I don’t know,” I shrug “or maybe it’s because at a funeral, it’s somewhat a norm for a mourner to say, ‘our loved one has gone to heaven’,”
He cuts me off, “And so you think I should be an exception?”
“For the love of God work with me here!”
“Of course you don’t expect them to say they’ve gone to hell. I get you though, only the good is told at funerals. Is that sugar coating?” It’s a rhetoric question since he continues, “And yes I think I’m going to hell.” He sighs.
“And the annoying Baraza returns.” I smack my lips.
He huffs,”I’m serious, very serious.” The stoic look on his face confirms it.
“Oh,” I whisper.
“You don’t want to know why?”
“Go ahead.” It comes out as a squeak and I clear my throat.
He sighs, “Most of my posts on social media received reactions like, ‘mbinguni utaiskilianga kwa bible’.”
I roll my eyes looking at him blankly. What did I do to deserve this?
He bursts out in laughter.
“You think this is a joke?” I sigh in frustration.
“Come on, let loose.” He shrugs.
I breathe out.
“You have nothing to lose.” He takes his tongue out taunting me.
I stay mum.
“Are you afraid?” He asks.
After a while I answer, “kinda.”
“I am afraid too,” he sighs, “kinda,”
He adds, “and it is okay to be afraid.”
“It is okay to be afraid.” I whisper.
In memory of Wairimu Njenga @6
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