Updated: Apr 6, 2020
The winds blow slower, the skies seem lighter and in-between is where I’m found. The stillness. The imagined.
I waited for them between dreams and escaped rays of Heaven found across Wells and Wacker. It was like running after a floating feather which drew nigh and far at the same time. It was cruel. I was hopeful. It was better than accepting.
I speak of death and dying as easily and freely as I speak of poop. There is no shyness or fear there; only the discomfort of the one who sit across from me. Yet when death stole from me as I slumbered, I was awaken in dread and comforted by, what now seems, a celestial mourning.
Losing someone you love, like or considered wonderful is like running on sharp pins with a sheet of paper under your sole. You forget how permeable the paper is - like their existence, their buried inevitable absence, protect you as you run the race to find sanity. An explanation. A second chance.
In the midst of this run, you lose yourself, everything looks the same, but nothing feels the same. The fraternal identical consciousness you find yourself in becomes the only thing that seems to be loyal – and willing to stay with you forever. Your emotions clap together like a Black choir, in sync and pronounced. It dances you through spaces that permit you to scream, laugh, weep and smile all at the same time. And it feels glorious, a state you wish to stay in till you meet those you lost again.
But then the phone rings and you realise you are still here, still aware, still beckoned to live. That part. The part where coming to was the worst feeling I felt when Nafi passed. That part I cannot put into true words.
When I came to, I was on the bathroom floor, slightly tilted to the left where the mouth of the shower meets the curtain. My face hurt, and my hands ached from hitting the walls in pain, regret and anger. I looked at the time and it was barely an hour after the text. I was exhausted, yet I burst into new cries when it dawned on me that I had twenty-three perpetual hours to go. Without her.
She was my one-woman army, my shield and my protector. She was a true friend. One who practiced loyalty, appreciation and passion. In our mind’s arena as strong African women, we were untouchable. We elated others around us while pissing of the misogyny darkness that slammed on our doors. We were a historical squad. Her imperfections were what made her beautiful. She was quick to admit her wrong and quicker to say sorry. She lived life as colourful as her dressed. Oh, she was a lulu. She was my Lulu.
There are times I try to remember her voice and laughter. I try to remember her face and smile, but all I see are images of what she may have looked like on her dying bed. For many days I could not look at her photos nor share a tribute. I still waited for her in my dreams and did not want to be distracted by hollow sympathies.
She never came. Even in my eagerness to sleep in wait and forget in abstractness. I held on to the one thing I knew would not change: hope. And continued to wait.
I will see her again, whether in this form or in a formless state. I will see they who left early after conquering life. And when we meet, then we will have my long awaited conversation, “How are you?”