Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Of late I write less not just because my life is that uneventful, but because life has been overwhelming. Not to alarm you, overwhelming on the whole in a good way. I have known joys and happiness that I did not think I would ever know.
I have been so altered that two little boys from a houseful of bending cooing uncles, remember my pet family name before all others. When I’m the uncle who forgets their birthdays, I have to be dragged to their Saturday afternoon birthdays, and we set off on sojourns from Entebbe to where they are at 10am, though in the night before we had agreed by 7am we should be in the taxi there. They call my name when whoever is trying to teach them new words and in baby talk asks, “Uncle where?” It brings me close to tears sometimes, to hear down the phone, these stories retold to me, as I travel from one appointment to another, numberless cars, automobiles, settling back into a Kampala I’m falling in love with again.
I thought the dreamer was dead. I once held mental funerals, commemorations and created mementos in bitter months, years after efforts seemed fruitless and vain, and all I laboured with seemed to produce moon-faced still birth demons, how I wept! Parliament Avenue evenings, walking eternally with worn collars, shoes with smirks at my efforts, and 200 shillings in pockets that jigged their loneliness, trying to learn how to harbour no hopes, dream no dreams, go for the money only and be content with beach Sunday afternoons, Bell gulping, oily chicken wings choking, to forget the dreams and the hopes and grow my second fat chin, the fat pork necks, be a success conventionally. I had to go away and come back to find the dreamer not dead, into years of brooding hibernation a refugee, triumphantly arising! To see you, child again, you will never know, hiding this face from the world for the happiness was killing me!
Collect these moments and treasure them, find a Long John Silver chest, a place for what is most precious to you, and you need a smile, a laugh or to look back again once upon a time when your timetable is not so hectic and from morning till night, you wonder how the hours rush past like flitting kisses from the wind, look in. Kayunga Police Station and the four friends, their own obligations thrust aside, rushing with concerned faces in time to help; and remember the ten pondering minutes, pen over torn Police form paper, considering who to call for and who would respond in this emergency, and how they all did, even if it had been months since you laid eyes on most of them. 8th October, 2008, what she said, when you thought she had been kidding, did not mean it, it had all been a joke, and your gratefulness, a first time realization of the endless possibilities with her, a deepening new respect and the wonder of how love never stops growing, never stops changing, never stops surprising, and reaching inside yourself for a new gentility you did not think you had, because this was a precious gift beyond all the precious gifts she had given you before.
Because some of you might not know what he looks like but might want a sneak peak…
The great Okot P’Bitek is the guy up there!
Deds: Melt the Snow by Shayne Ward