For some reason I can’t find sleep today. And it’s not because of a girl. Neither is it because I’m stressed. My thoughts are just jumbled all over. I am everywhere and nowhere at the same time. I see myself at a monastery in some faraway mountain lost in deep thought. I then see a beach full of flowers which is weird because I have never come across such. I also see an acoustic guitar lying beside my small bed but then it disappears when I stretch my arms to reach it. I see a bird looking depressed in a green plateau. And I have this funny Christmas feeling that we’re together having a drink by the verandah at home. Yet it’s barely December.
So I decide to write to you in the hope that someday you might read what your son thinks about at three o’clock in the morning. It makes me sad that you’re no lover of technology and that this letter might never get your attention. I will send you the link anyway through your Whatsapp (which you never open) and leave my worries to the Lord. It’s a Wednesday as I write this. The time is 3.06 am. I have a drink in my hand (water of course) and the brightness of day in my eyes. My head is yin and yang. It’s as a clear as Thika Superhighway on a Sunday and foggy as Alaska during winter. A word document is staring at me with a cursor that blinks with every passing second. It’s a big blank space and I want to write your name on it. But that can’t suffice. So I go with a letter.
Deep in the archives of my memory is a time when I used to come to your room whenever I feared the dark at night or couldn’t sleep. You often told me that ‘There’s nothing to fear in the darkness and that it would soon be day’. That gave me some comfort. The adult in me is now no longer afraid of the dark. It’s only sleep that is elusive. Regardless, there’s still a little voice in my head wishing I could be young again and talk to you about my sleep troubles.
I was taking an evening walk the other day when I realized that I am becoming more like you with each passing day. I no longer hate Kaunda suits for one. I also take less sugar. Then I nowadays include veges in my meals. See? Isn’t that some progress towards commonality? Don’t get too much excited though. I still find the idea of keeping a rungu in the car a little bit odd.
I think about you a lot these days. Sometimes early in the morning. Other times deep in the silence of the night. I ask myself what you dream about as you sleep. I get fascinated by the sheer thought of what goes through the mind of a 66 year old man at the sunset of his career. Do you dream about brown coats and green Kaunda suits? Or could it be memories of your late parents? Or are you like me who dreams that I am a white dove flying over the Amazon River in the deep of Brazil? I am the dreamer who also finds himself fighting dragons and floating on space in defiance of gravity. Or maybe you get peaceful nights like mom who sleeps like a two-month old baby?
I write to express my greatest adoration for you. Since my younger days, I have always been in awe of your tenacity, bravery and tough compassion. The days of you coming back from work and carrying me and my brothers then toasting us in the air playfully are not forgotten. They are as alive to me as climate change is to this generation. Ooh, I really miss that unconscious paradise of childhood. I hated school but was comforted by the fact that you sometimes dropped us yourself as you went to work. And you would much later on teach me how to drive without slapping the back of my head or telling me that I look like a fridge.
There’s a story in my head that constantly gladdens my heart. The story of Pinnochio and Monstro. It’s about Pinnochio who went into the depths of the sea to rescue his father, Monstro, from the belly of a whale. It still fascinates me to date. I would definitely dive into the depths of an ocean to get you out of the belly of a whale should we ever find ourselves in such a situation. I’d do that not only as a mark of respect but as a demonstration of my unwavering love for you old man.
I take it not for granted each day that you spend with us. I am a great fan of your stories. I find some of them repetitive but what does it matter? I am definitely not a fan of your humor. But I believe that you can work on that. I always look forward to those light conversations on trivial matters during sunny afternoons beneath the shade of your favorite tree back at home. There’s no suitable adjective in the English dictionary that can help me describe the simple pleasure of those moments. I have heard your tales from India countless times, each time more curious like a little cat. Sometimes I get this idea that if given a chance you’d lose yourself all over again in the busy streets of Bombay and sing using Marathi in some obscure clubs within the city.
I have had my fair share of disagreements with you. But I look back and realize that you were right most of the time. As hard as I found it to embrace your practice of tough love, we moved past those days like true gentlemen. There were no cold treatments like the ones I sometimes see my sister Georgian giving her son Josh. I wasn’t, for example, impressed by the fact that you used to show up on Maseno School visiting days with only a newspaper in hand. But I understood that men in your generation were synonymous with battlefields and spears and wars. And that you found it strange carrying food to visiting days.
I love that you’ve treated mum with profound respect and shown her deep love all through. I love how you’ve raised my sisters to be confident in a dominantly patriarchal world. Some of them are stronger than I will ever be. I love how you took care of your parents in their old age before they passed. I love your ambition, drive and energy. You’re one of the greatest people I’ve ever known.
It’s 4.00a.m. I have to go now. I wish the NBA finals were starting today. It could have been a perfect distraction. And a chance to witness some magic from LeBron Raymone James.
With all my love,