It is a long lovely road. I can’t place it in any location. But its familiarity gives me a delusion of grandeur. Un-tarmacked and un-lit as it is, it is probably the most beautiful pathway I have ever known. Along it, there are never crowds of people rushing anywhere. The few who use it often seem to be slow and meticulous in their walking. They take measured steps and devour the whole experience with some deep sense of passion. It’s surreal. Occasionally, a guy in his thirties jogs in the opposite direction with earphones on and a hoodie covering his brain. He is probably the only person who always seems to be headed somewhere in a hurry.
A lady in her fifties likes using it too. She walks her dog along it. Her dog is called Pola. She talks to it at times. She asks it questions like “Why didn’t you eat your dinner last night?” Because in her mind a dog should never miss out on dinner. This is why some people wish they were dogs.
And there’s the little girl. She is always headed in the same direction as I. She often sings ‘Lay my burdens down by Ellie Holcomb’. Her voice is Messianic. We talk sometimes. But mostly we meet and just walk in silence. She is ten-ish agewise, meaning there is not much to usually talk about. The last time I asked her where she was headed. She pointed North and stayed silent. I asked her what she was going to do there and she said “I am going to do some digging before the planting season begins”.
“And what are you planning to plant?” I inquired. “Wheat” she replied. I looked at her small hands and told her that “It’s a sin to dig with these hands. They are the most beautiful hands I have ever seen”. She giggled like the little girl she is and magically disappeared. I walked some further kilometers. As I edged towards a bend, I heard some familiar sounds from birds that seemed distressed. I followed the sounds and noticed the changes in the surrounding. The air became crisper and pink flowers appeared to be everywhere. I pick up one and smelled it. It smelled of serenity. That beautiful smell filled my gut and settled deep in my lungs. Then I saw a grey door ahead. It looked brighter than a meteorite falling from a clear night sky. I tried moving closer but I couldn’t. Like gravity, a force pulled me backwards and a voice told me “be patient”.
Then I woke up from my dream. Frantically, I looked at the time. 5.39 a.m. It’s Monday. That was the third night in a row I was having that dream. For some reason I don’t quite understand, it was identical in all the three scenarios. I tried getting some meaning from it but failed.
Interpreting dreams is definitely not a talent that God blessed me with. I asked around the house to see if anyone could possibly break it down for me piece by piece and you know…help me understand whatever it means. You never know this things. It might not just be a dream. It might be a grand revelation of an idea that would impact on civilizations to come. “We all know that God always chooses underdogs for these things” I told my mum as she set the table for breakfast.
Much to my chagrin, she thought that I was crazy. Or that I was probably having cabin fever because I had not left the house in so long. From her talk, I knew she was giving me no interpretation. I don’t blame her. She has more pressing issues to deal with like going to her weekly Chama meetings at my aunt’s place.
So I tried my younger bro. Who knows? Maybe he has some hidden talent in these things like Joseph from the Bible did. As I narrated this dream that I was on a mission to decipher, he kept checking his Whatsapp thereby sending me a subliminal message that I should wrap up narrating my boring dream. I knew he wasn’t going to help when he left me midway to go serve tea.
I could have tried my dad but nobody messes with that old man in the morning. He is not a morning person. He has never said it but we all know. He is usually quiet while taking tea. If he has something bothering him, he rants about it and we listen and pretend be shaken. If it is serious of course. When he tries a joke in the morning, which is like seeing the Sun rising from the West, we force laughs. Or at least I do. It’s only moral to laugh at an old man’s jokes even if they are not funny. They need to be reassured that they still got it. The humor. So I didn’t bother him.
Breakfast was a banana bread and tea. I took a tiny fraction then headed to the bathroom. Amerix says that a cold shower has numerous benefits…blah blah blah. It is highly suicidal to take a cold shower in this place at this moment in time. The cold temperatures make it feel like torture. Luckily, I don’t feel suicidal. So whenever I can, I use some warm water. Which is almost all the time.
Dad was going to town. I say to myself “perfect”. This is a good excuse to finally go for that Telkom line that I have been procrastinating on for what seems like years now. Perhaps, it might also be a chance to meet someone like Joseph from the Bible who can lighten my dream with some reasonable meaning. If indeed it was something grand, isn’t that what God could have wanted? For me to go out there and find out.
Because I am going to town with dad, some detours and stops are imminent. Ooh and my younger brother is coming too. He is like two or three years younger than me. Almost the same height as me and certainly with bigger eyes. When we are just about to leave, dad sees a friend. That’s bad news for us. We would have to wait another thirty minutes as they do some catching up. They roar in big laughter beneath their blue masks. Moments later, he goes to some M-Pesa agent and then back to the car. He gives me the key but I tell him that I am tired and my mind is exhausted so I can’t drive. He hands over the key to my younger bro whose excitement at driving remains unwavered for the longest time I’ve known him.
Off we go. The two of them are seated on the front. They are talking about cars. I am like “these two nowadays talk about cars?” Tired of hearing them debate the differences between a Rav 4 and a Peugeot or something of the sort, I put on my earphones and my mind drifts as far away as possible. My eyes are wide open but I see things. I see darkness at some point. Then I see the blue waters of the Pacific. And then a question pops up in my mind “What makes a shark the deadliest animal in the sea?” I mull at that for a while but can’t concentrate on it because my mind is already in Tibet. All over a sudden I am there at the Himalayas practicing meditation with some Buddha I saw in a BBC documentary. While there in Tibet interacting with the Tibetan people, I get to meet the current Dalai Lama and tell him that I am a great admirer and follower of his teachings.
Because my mind can’t settle anywhere, I am now in an arts class. I can’t place the country where the class is in but I see an old professor in an admirable cravat. He has a nice frame game. Designer specs I must say. He is in an old coat. The kinds that were worn by Winston Churchill as he gave his speeches during the Second World War. Ooh, he has a hat too. This man. He is a classy professor. His beard looks profound. His wisdom around the class is unchallenged. He teaches arts but it is not the normal art. It is dark arts. He says things like “Vengeance should be absolute and profound”. His class is packed by silent people with big notebooks. I sit at the back to be invisible but his message is weary to my soul so I leave through the back door.
My father taps me on the shoulder. We have reached town. “That was fast” I exclaim. The roads are clear these days. He says. “If you desire to go back home with us, meet us in the office at 2 p.m.” he adds as they head for the office while I walk to Telkom offices.
At Telkom, there isn’t much activity going on. Some two customers walk around scouting for phones to buy. A familiar song is playing from the overhead sound system. I Shazam it. Fix You by Coldpay. Yeah, I knew it was familiar. I am directed to an agent who caters for students from UoN by a smiley young lady with kindness the size of Jupiter. On reaching his desk, no pleasantries are exchanged. He seems to in a hurry to be done with me. But I realize he is nice. So I ask him a couple of questions. Like how their plan of using balloons to provide internet is coming along. And whether he knows a thing or two about interpreting dreams. This might be the guy to help me checkmate this whole situation. Sadly, he is not. Even if he was, it would be profoundly unprofessional to discuss such things at the workplace.
I leave at a few minutes to noon, having been sorted out. I feel thirsty and suddenly I hate my mask. It hurts my ears and makes me feel dizzy. But I’d rather put up with it than spend my days at a government quarantine facility. I want to call Georgian but I decide against it. Her workplace is a few meters away but I know with certainty that if I pay her a visit, I’ll miss the drive back home. Her stories never end. One story always leads to another which gives birth to another and another. God knows how angry she would be at me if she learnt that I was in her turf but never stopped by.
I head to Urban Coffee for a quick snack or two. Shock on me when I reach there. They relocated. Ok, now I feel devastated. I feel a pang in my chest. An ache in my heart. And sadness in my body. I was so accustomed to the place. Their relocation felt like a great betrayal. So I hopped into the Indian restaurant next door. At the far end of the room, I spot an acquaintance. I go over to her and say hi as I make my order. She is doing well for herself. She graduated from campus a year ago and now has a job in Milimani Resort.
I later find a seat at the center but it’s hard to eat. My mind is unsettled. I stare at my glazed pork ribs with some sense of sympathy. They surely deserve to be eaten and looked at the way a groom looks at his bride.
After I pay old Masnur his dues, I take a walk towards the lake. They say in the media that its waters are rising. From where I stand, it is hard to tell. It looks calm and bright. A white boat can be seen from a distance. Beyond it, lie some hills that look like sleeping lions. It’s a magnificent distraction. A wonder to marvel at.
But as I later go back to catch my ride, my mind still seem far away. Many things go on in it. The dreams of course. Distant thoughts. Wild imaginations. And a whole lot of other things.
I ask myself “where is my mind?”