Life sometimes behaves in some strange ways and shows you some glimpses of its brutal reality in peculiarly effortless ways. I went to Brixton to pay my condolences to the family of a deceased relative and with us also was my little grandson. I watched him, in the silence in that room where hordes of people had gathered to pay their regards too. Issa, nearing his two-year mark now, ran with an air of joviality and delight around him, jumping and kicking a small football to and fro, emitting those pleasing childish laughs, pulling my beard at times. He was blissfully unaware of the sorrow that surrounded the sitting, the air of melancholy that tainted the white walls and the pain that the news of the deceased man had brought. Unbeknownst to the young soul, and perhaps alien to his underdeveloped mind, here, a life was starting to blossom – exhibiting a new beginning without blemishes of any sort, a life that is immaculate and pure – and at the same setting another was wilting – decaying under the soil somewhere in the outskirts of Kismayo.
In a frail, disconsolate voice, the deceased man’s wife spoke as we expressed our tributes to her late husband. Issa, on the other hand, clung on to the hem of her clothes, rolling on the floor with his intermittent “Daadah, Daadah, Daadah” what a contrasting scene it was. Here I witnessed, with greater contemplation, the life cycle of a man and the great distance the deceased had travelled to reach where he now was. Death had caught up with him, unawares, and here my grandson was, oblivious to it all!
My temporary time in reflection had been abruptly terminated by the politics-obsessed Somali men, in their multi-coloured suits, who requested for HornAfrik, to hear the latest development in the Somalia conflict. Of all times to exchange trivial tribal banters and feed one another with fictitious tales of their tribal nobility, they chose this – a time appropriate only for reflection; a time for grieving. Little did they know, that they will be ending up as such, and their tribal nobility and meaningless banter will count for nothing in the darkest recesses of the earth.
When I reached home, I reclined on the large cream sofa in the sitting room. Mounted on the wall directly facing me, was a large silver timepiece. I watched its chrome hands for no apparent reason, but in the silence that surrounded me, I couldn’t help but pay attention to the tick, tock, tick, tock of the Seconds hand. This irritating clanking it made seemed quite loud and unwelcome. I wondered how I never pay attention to it during the day.
Every second that passed, I observed with intent, was bringing closer the terminator of my soul. The seconds slowly moved in a loop, each loop budging the Minute hand into slight movement and pushing it forward, and in this manner deducting a minute from my life. It was agonizing to listen to and worse to sit and observe your life, literally, flashing before your eyes!