Tears stream down my face. I close my eyes and listen to The Fray. I can’t hear what they are saying but it sounds really sad.
I got the text this afternoon after class. From my dad who rarely texts me. You have to come home early, it said. I had a group meeting to discuss our project and a dinner meeting afterwards so I called back to find out why.
I had a bad feeling something bad had happened. The feeling had persisted during the day. He didn’t pick buy he called me back shortly … I was thinking please don’t be Sam or Albert, my bros. Or mum. It turned out to be my grandfather, on my mother’s side. My paternal grandfather passed on three years ago.
He was going to come for my graduation … that’s what I keep thinking about. He was going to wear a suit and tie and well shined shoes. He was going to wear his godfather hat and pose with me in my gown.
My grandfather loved suits.. and his godfather hat. I was going to be rich so I could charter a helicopter for him to fly around. He’d always wanted to do that and I was going to keep that promise.
Earlier I’d kept wiping the tears but now I let them flow.
He was an elegant man. Very neat. Polished. He was born poor, he didn’t die rich financially but he leaves behind a wealth of people.
I keep imagining how it happened. It wasn’t a long illness bravely born. It wasn’t old age… he was about 70 [Learned that he died at 78/79]. It was a motorcycle accident. Those boda boda operators riding recklessly. The merchants of death.
He’d just gotten off one motorcycle and was about to cross the road when another bike came from the opposite direction …
Did I say he was gonna come for my graduation?
I feel for my mother. Her dad would walk for miles to come see her in boarding school. He’d wear torn shirts just so he could pay school fees for his 12 children. He’s the type of man who took responsibility seriously … he was.
We didn’t talk much but we had a basic understanding of each other. We’d sit under a tree and listen to the portable radio whenever I was in shagz, which is not too often. It was never often enough.
I left school this afternoon in a haze.. wiped the tears streaming silently in the mat. Later I didn’t care, I just let them flow. The.conductor tried cheering me up but I couldn’t even speak.
Now I’m feeling better, I have to be strong for my mum.
I’ve been tweeting whenever I get any free time… but I just can’t tweet a death. It feels like Twitter is for trivial news like “just won a lottery! ” “just married”. Not any amount of sympathy will bring back my grandfather.
If only we could sit under a tree one more time and listen to Egesa FM. If only I could buy him a hat, suit, shirt, tie, shoes and socks and take that graduation pic with him. If only I could charter that helicopter and give him that ride he always wishes for. If only wishes were horses …
We’ll travel to shagz as soon as we can. We’ll reunite with all the people whose lives my grandfather touched. We’ll curse these careless merchants of death. I’ll wonder if there are stats indicating the number of accidents caused by the recent influx of Chinese motorbikes ridden by untrained merchants of death.
We’ll bury our grandfather and come back to our lives. We’ll be sad for a while, and sad on some lower level for life.
With time we’ll move on. People are born. People die. Every second. Before my time comes I’ll take time to live. I’ve been thinking of writing a will to ‘dispose of’ my online accounts since I have no financial wealth … YET.
As the French say, c’est la vie.
In the meantime, I’m letting the tears flow. Flow for my grandfather. For the boy he was, the man he became, the old man he was before the merchant of death knocked him off this earth.
I’ll miss him.