It is 9:58 a.m. on a chilly Tuesday morning. Morning to everyone; but the time in your heart is the colour of a starless sky at night – dark.
You are seated at the arboretum grounds. You close your eyes to listen to the sound of silence in the woods; the tranquil. It is fearless; this sound of silence. You want to hold the peace in your palm and rub it on your heart. You want to feel the texture of the silence through your fingers. You love the cold rubbing against your skin, numbing; like death.
You look at your bare skin, scarred by the beats of life’s hail stones. And how you’ve covered the scars up every morning, with oil.
You wanted to be alone; from yourself, from the world. You wanted to detach yourself and peel the layers of pain, guilt and disappointments. You look at the heap that has formed on the ground. It is the size of an anthill.
You wanted to process each one of them, undisturbed by the neighbour’s cat’s claws on your door, or their music. Why does it even annoy you? You ask. Perhaps that’s how the neighbour gets to process their pains.
It’s almost a month now since your brain took a compulsory leave. Like a printer that ran out of ink, it just sits there, under your skull, unable to do anything.
It occurs to you how easy it is to snap into depression. That you are not really as strong as you thought. The walls around your heart tumbled down but you were too busy chasing the next pay cheque to notice. You were too busy trying to help everybody.
You didn’t want to get here. You felt angry at having shut down on yourself. You felt guilty of being ‘lazy’, of doing very little for yourself. You wanted to measure up to the world because they said, ‘it doesn’t matter how you feel, you have to wake up and show up. You have to don those heels and wear a smile.” It didn’t matter if your cheek bones were not up to it. You showed up smiling, day after day, until you couldn’t.
You are distracted by the birds flying nearby, freely. The kind of freedom you wish for. The kind of freedom that frees you from the order of life. From the pressure of ‘being stable’ but then, what is stability when crumbling is not just a word?
Today, you want to confront yourself. You want to cry the pain away. You wish it rains so the rainwater spares you from doing it, soaking the pain into the wet earth. Then you’d be baptized; purified.
You remember the times you’ve been inexplicably happy, it almost felt like a prank. True, it’s payback. It’s time for life to tax some of that happiness but no, it does more – it saps all of it. More like the relationship between the government and common mwananchi.
Before your eyes is a dense cloud of sorrow, existential confusion in your spiritual dimension. Your lips cannot move in prayer. You think of how nature is furiously rebelling against human bondage, of the great darkness that clouds the land. Of the trap that is the world and the meaninglessness of it all. You think of how your life has derailed and is hurtling out of control over a precipice. You think of the hopelessness that has slithered into your system.
You think about these things.
You wish to forgive yourself for clipping your wings to fit. For thinking yourself better. For thinking of yourself as a manufacturer of your own strength. For setting yourself as a baggage carrier.
You want to call on God for a little chat. ‘God, how did we get here? You saw me getting here, why didn’t you hold my hand?’ Silence.
The clouds seem to be giving way, there is light through the morning clouds. No magical feeling, just the sky lighting up amidst a rainy season. The golden rays of the sun are penetrating through the tree leaves above you.
Soon, the rays will pierce through your skull, down to the slopes of your heart. And you will smile, only that the trees will be beneficiaries of the magical smile. Perhaps that’s the hint, there will always be light but you have to look up to see it.
So, have you checked the time in your heart today?