I rarely post songs here. But this one is speaking to me right now.
Lyrics below the video
I work better at night. Not with a broomstick. My brain. It comes alive. Inspiration seeps from the cracks in the walls and fill me up. The sounds of rats scurrying in my pantry, roaches biting at morsels on the kitchen floor... wait, that's for my other personality.
One minute to 4 am and I am not alive with creativity. I am just awake. I have been reading. Something I am afraid I might forget how to soon. See, they invented audiobooks for me. Times like this, I would get into my car and drive. With an audiobook playing. Or Andrea Bocelli'a Con Te Partiro. (A song I know all the lyrics to yet I speak no Italian). Yeah, I am crazy like that. Tearing down Lang'ata Road at 3 am is pure bliss. Not on a weekend though. Unless I am Florence Nightingwhatshername. And my car was an ambulance. Though I must admit there were a couple of Friday nights I have just driven at 2 am to see the many stupid ways people get into accidents. I do not stop to help. When your car ends up hanging off a bridge at 2 am when you're all by yourself, you were asking, nay, demanding for it. Other times I stop to help. Like this time.
Driving calms me. And cooking. Since I am not going to start banging pots and pans at bewitching hours, Nelly and I it is. Nelly is on a break though. Not consensual. Someone decided her behind looked better with a dent. So we are getting that fixed. What that translates for me is (a) Walk - Live 20 mins walk to work, (b) cabs, c) go nowhere. So far (a) and (b) are working fine. (d) is taking matatus. I hate them as a motorist. I detest them as a passenger. Last week, took them all of 2 times.
So I can't get out and drive. And I can't cook. And I am not feeling particularly creative. And I don't want to waste my GBs on Slutload. or Porntube. Yes, I know the sites. I go to look for stories, bite me. So I read. I decided I wanted to know more about something I know only fleeting information on. And my brain zeroed in on Stephen Hawking. Yeah, yeah, I know. At 4 am, reading on a theoretical physicist who communicates using some speech device. So now I know how not so smart he was in written examination, the bet he had with Thorne and Preskill, and what his favorite food is. Okay, last one was a bad joke.
This post was a waste of your time.
She sits across from me. Her eyes will occasionally meet mine, then travel. At first, they will look at her feeble fingers wringing on her lap, then to the side as her head cocks as if to listen to a voice far away. Like a weary traveler, those eyes that have seen more than language could ever express, finally rest on the notebook in my hands. I follow those eyes. They beg to be followed. They promise to tell, promise to show. It's a nondescript notebook. But in it holds questions that reduce her life to a series of answers. Suddenly, I want to throw it away. It seems to generate heat, too much. It's a Moleskine. Nothing much. But as I look at it through her eyes, its the window in which her past is displayed. It's the epitome of all things evil, all things inhuman, all things she has been working so hard to forget.
I find my hands putting the moleskine down. I am surprised by this move, more than she is even. We both look at the object of her disdain and my new-found bane.
I have been asking her questions for the past 15 minutes. It feels like we have been talking forever.
Talking insinuates we have been discussing how healthy her goats are, or how fat the chicken are becoming. Talking makes you think we have delicate china in front of us on checkered table cloths with steaming tea and biting on finger sandwiches.
I doubt she even knows how to make finger sandwiches. I doubt she ever owned china. Her cups are old cylindrical tins that have hints of the colour they were when she first got them. That is what she offered me tea in. I do not like tea. Yet, norms dictate that I never refuse such an offer from a woman such as this one. Now my tea sits on the ground next to my chair, flies covering the rim of the cup. I see them fight for a spot on that rim. I assume that spot is the least hot for them to stand on.
She clears her throat. I look up. Those eyes again. Now they are imploring. Asking me what I am thinking. If I am judging her. I hold her gaze, trying to push back the current thought. Which goes like this - 'I am stupid for shifting my attention to flies, instead of what you are telling me. I am sorry.'
I pick the moleskine again. I have forgotten what my next question is. Shameful really. Because I have been asking the same questions to women in this area for a few days now.
'Are you afraid of dying?' I ask
Stupid question. Who isn't?
Eyes that speak answer me. No. I don't know what I expected. I ask her.
The cameraman who has been quietly filming this interview interjects.
She did not answer...
I sit up. Of course she did not. Her eyes did.
I ask her again.
She bites her lower lip, and chews it slowly.
The woman in front of me is 40 years old. She looks 70. She is frail. Too thin. She is dying of AIDS. Because she was raped during post election violence. She has 6 kids,no husband.
I seek out her eyes. And hold them.
No. She says.