One for the Heart

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I think he is the only person I ever tell my shit genuinely. He is the first person I ever told odd things about me, dark things, without ever thinking twice. I open to him like you would extend your arm to a girl for a dance, without caring if you’ll trip on the floor during the process.

Most of our conversations didn’t come out of anywhere. They emanated from deep places of our neediness, and our common sense of expressing thoughts through writing to the carefree world. It always seems that we are burdened by thoughts, mostly rotating around women, love, and general human connection. And perhaps our emotional neediness pushes us towards each other, to foster talks rotating around things that we find enthusing, and sometimes, devastating.

Our story dates back to college. We attended the same college, where he studied Criminology and Criminal Studies (or something like that), while I kissed Communication and Public Relations on the lips. During our first year, we stayed in the same hostel. I don’t recall us being great friends, but we talked on several occasions because one of his closest buddies was my roommate.

We met on different platforms apart from the normal running on each other along the corridors of the hostel. One would be playing checkers, another playing cards, another playing darts, and during football games. Not that I was a pro at any of these, I was just actively involved in them to keep bad shit from my mind as well as enjoy the silly conversations that went on during such encounters.

He played for the town campus football team. Football was and still is in him, he does play even today. On Sundays, we would flock to the field to watch Inferno F.C. play. It not only played well but it lifted several cups as well.

I remember him so well because back in college he would enter into these arguments and argue philosophically. Therefore, it was always fun and thought-provoking listening to him and Pablo argue about theories they read.

College ended. As the world always is, it brings people together and then takes them apart like a person would rip apart a roast chicken’s limb.

There was a period, a long period of the unknown whereabouts of the people I was with in college. Most were trying to hustle, going into and out of offices to get a gig to help them stay afloat. It was a time that most of us realized that it is good to be careful what you wish for. When in school, we had always wondered when would have finished school so that we can run away from the crazy schedule of studies, a schedule that many felt denied them the freedom to pursue their goals.  Therefore, we badly wanted to finish school so that we can start living fully because school was fucking with us, our time, our energy and everything. We were impatient. We cussed every day. We relished on the idea of being free, with no books or lectures or other obligations.

One day, we were done. There was no more school. We thus packed our bags and other belongings and went our ways. We said goodbyes and never looked back because we didn’t want to be reminded of the lemons life had fed us in that place. We, however, realized that we were saying goodbye to people we’d been used to, people who had become friends, and now the possibilities of never seeing them again were lingering in the air. It was a moment of awakening, rude and unavoidable. There was a whole world of goodness waiting for us out there, we had to beat it. We did.

Hauling our bags to the bus stop, we hugged our friends for one last time, some with tears, some without. Hugs lasted longer than normal; I guess the reality of missing each other was sinking in us. Some of us said goodbye to our lovers, people we had given all. But since we all came from worlds apart, the distance spoke so loudly, it could be ignored. Even though there was hope of continuity, Lodwar said to Bungoma that it is better to face reality- that was the end of that relationship.

When we took seats on different buses, we looked outside at our friends, perhaps for the last time. It was unbelievable. Fear built a fortress in us, fear of leaving behind all we had built. The fear also propelled some to new worlds, scary worlds of newness.

So for a while, I didn’t know what Jose did. I, however, did read some of the works he put on Facebook and admired his use of lingo. He was exceptionally good at articulating points using the right diction (learned diction). So I reached him out and asked him if I could offer him a spot on this blog so that he can showcase his work. It was too good for Facebook. Our blog needed his spice; I knew people would love it.

Time didn’t pass, soon I opened an account for him and he was doing articles here and there, two or three per week. I didn’t know he had people behind him. He moved in with his readers. Our readership doubled. I always read every piece he wrote, deep pieces that spoke from within in a language that intrigued me. There is a way he uses words that makes you love him. His writing prowess drove me to like him (even if as men we don’t like other men). He became some icon in my mind.

I would take time off, hide somewhere and read his articles word by word. Occasionally I’d go back to savor a word or a sentence that I felt was well crafted.  That is how good he was.

Then one day Jose stopped writing. I never asked why because I thought that he might resume soon. He never did. I didn’t ask why. As a man, I believe every man has a reason as to why they do or don’t do things. Therefore, I knew he had his own reasons. So it was me and thousands of others hanging around the blog missing his impressive works. I remember some few readers asking me where the philosopher went. It was clear that they had missed his musings. I told them that he had lost his writing hand so he couldn’t write using the left, and if at all they want him to write they raise money for him to buy this dictation software that people use to type stuff.

In reality, Jose was alright. He was doing well.

I kept following his status updates on WhatsApp. Here, he writes these brief writs that are usually either hard to understand, or awesomely crafted that you reread them five times to own them. And our conversations spurred from those WhatsApp writs.

I came to figure out that Jose became trapped. Emotions, if not love, were consuming him. He was going mad, falling for women and losing himself, getting confused as shit and slackening on things that were out of the emotion bracket.

Love can be confusing. I know so because it is the only thing that makes sense. When you find it, other things blur.

I was impressed that my nigga was, after all, getting himself a woman to call a girlfriend. But it happened every time we talked we talked of a different girl. You’d think that his feelings were wandering from girl to girl, feeling the same kind of attraction but ending up moving to another.

These girls were older than him. That is where the confusion came from. Age gap scared the shit out of him even though his feelings were telling him to thrust his head into the game. His heart would be in; his head would be by the door consulting with the door whether to go in or not. It is a tough world.

And in those moments, we would open up to each other. He would ask questions he thought I had answers to, and I would answer them well because I have dated several women older than me. I would give him the best piece of admonition I could scour from my brain because he’s my buddy. We don’t lie to each other. There is no gain in lying to another man.

I guess he knows a lot about me, things I hardly tell people. I too know shit about him. His love encounters and how his feelings taunt him. There is a feeling that since he met this woman, he has lost his mind. He has been taken captive, forgotten some of his dreams and chosen to seek after his heart’s pleasures.

There is nothing wrong with that. Being single is a tragedy. If you can find somewhere to perch, somewhere where you get peace after a long day, somewhere to get a second opinion from before you do stuff, then do the right thing and perch there.

I would have said more about him, but what do I gain by fucking up with him, especially at a time when he has found love? Don’t you also think that he should be left to savour the moment?

Find all his works here.

Mzangila Snr,

Where shall we go, we who wander in this wasteland in search of better selves?

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About Mzangila

Mentor, media consultant, photographer, editor, poet, writer, and counselor.

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