While lying on the tarmac, eyes facing the gray Nairobi sky, I could’ve sworn I was a goner.
Now that I have your attention.
Quick recap: I was walking from Main Campus to Ambassadeur to catch a Hoppa. Somewhere between Wabera and Kaunda Streets I came face to face with death in the shape of a G4S truck that literally smacked me off the road and drove off. I wont go into too many details about who’s fault it was except to say that I should know better than to think/assume that motorists in Nairobi actually give a sh*t about crossing pedestrians let alone basic road traffic rules. That said, people who claim that they saw “their life flash before their eyes” in near-death experiences are all liars. Or maybe I didn’t really have a NDE? Maybe it was more of a strong jolt, a rude awakening, or something like that, meant to shake me at the very core so that I could come to terms with certain inescapable truths about life and what it means to feel/be alive? Much in the same way as the break-up did. Deep down, I’d like to think this new-found clarity about life would have dawned on me without the help of a G4S truck or anything else for that matter, but I would be lying to myself.
Although I rose to my feet, brushed myself off and hobbled to the bus stop, my heart was pumping through my ears the whole time and my mind was working over-time consumed with thoughts but mostly regrets. My biggest regret to date is being afraid to confront my issues head-on.
As your first-born son, I was too scared to step into dad’s shoes early enough and be there for you when you needed someone to bounce off ideas on or someone to just listen and understand what you were going through. I chose to tell myself that you had everything under control and even those times you tried to involve me in making important decisions for the family, I chose to play the child and let you carry that burden all by yourself. And as your big brother, I should have been more firm with you, I should have insisted that you listen to me and hear what I have to say especially concerning my experiences with life, love and school. A lot of the things you’re going through now bear such a striking similarity to my own scars and had I stepped up as your big bro, sat you down and talked to you man to man, you probably wouldn’t have had to go through a lot of the pain and disappointment you’re now feeling.
As your boyfriend, I had kept so much from you. You suffered needlessly trying to figure out someone who seemingly doesn’t want to be understood. I had created this false impression of who I am and what I am all about and it was only a matter of time before you realized that all my lies were all the things I chose to keep from you.
As your friend, I kept you at arms-length, you found my social awkwardness to be endearing, I told you everything you needed to hear while I preyed on you, ignored you when it suited me, used you to my benefit, f*cked you in every sense of the word and then vanished. I hid behind the fact once I’m gone you would struggle in vain to find me before finally realising that your attempts to reach me were purposely being ignored.
As a human being, I have chosen to remain a statistic. I have held on tightly to everything in my possession including my talents, skills and resources and not done anything meaningful with my time to help the less fortunate. I chose to tell myself that I have no material wealth to share and therefore I should not be expected to solve everybody’s problems. I have observed the world around me and never once felt compelled to even imagine ways I could contribute to making it a better place; leaving my mark, so to speak.
As a spiritual being, I’m still a troubled soul unable to decide what, if anything should form the anchor for my religious beliefs. Having grown up in the Catholic church, I have since rejected that church’s rigid teachings and rituals. However I have lacked the courage of conviction to take a stand on which set of religious views I will commit to follow instead I have prolonged my stay in spiritual limbo, experimenting here and there and still undecided.
In short, all these thoughts about my regrets have consumed my mind since I woke up to the crowd of on-lookers staring at me lying on the floor as if I had already been dispatched to meet my maker.
I realise that in alot of respects, I am set in my ways and that I am a mere product of my experiences and upbringing. But there is still some room I have for growth. I’d hate to be that person who resists any form of change both internally and externally while claiming to be in pursuit of happyness and being at total peace with himself and his surroundings. That has been the fool’s paradise I have been living in.
That said, I still maintain that I am not afraid of death. But there’s nothing like facing the working end of a russian AK-47 held by Kenya’s Finest or in my case a speeding G4S truck, to put the fear of God in any Kenyan including me! So as much as I may claim not to be afraid of death, I am certainly afraid of any manifestations that a premature meeting with St. Peter is imminent. I still have alot of growing to do, so I’d gladly take a rain-check.