I am still in shock! I can’t believe he passed away! For death is always even more haunting when it comes so suddenly. Death may be an old phenomenon but the news of his death was as usual broken by way of modern gadgetry. From all my friends, Twitter posts, Text messages, Facebook statuses all screamed ‘He is dead!’
My first reaction I must say was to stifle an ‘Oh my God!’ My second reaction was to stifle another ‘Oh my God!’ My third reaction was to give up stifling and I actually managed to utter an ‘Oh God, noooo!’
He was gone.
I immediately called Roni. When she answered the phone, I could hear her voice falter.
‘Why?’ she asked.
‘We never can ask why’, I consoled us.
More muffled sounds from the tender Roni.
‘The boy could sing, eh?’ Roni observed.
It was easily the best understatement of the year. You know how the Swahili say - alimtoa nyoka pangoni - that someone can charm a snake out of its hiding place. The deceased, could do more than just that! He could charm the snake out of its hiding place, it would then go back and bring with its relations to listen to him sing.
It was easily one of the gifts that stood out from his rather short life. Whilst people like me had to get an Excusometer to hide our lack of singing talent, he shone brightly making me once wish that I was him. And now, here it was, that he was gone too soon. If I was him, I would be dead, you know!
Nat was dead. My co-boyfriend. He had passed away that cold Friday morning in Mombasa in a car crash.
At the time, the details of the accident were sketchy but from what we had gathered, he had been going to work early in the morning and had just alighted when the speeding car that was behind the car he had just un-boarded hit him and flung him almost ten metres away.
He was pronounced D.E.A.D. at the Coast Provincial Hospital but by then, the news of his accident had already spilled into the aforesaid modern gadgetry.
Nat and I shared something very special. Roni. We both dated Roni at the same time in the past and she couldn’t quite make up her mind whom she thought was the better lover. She enjoyed my writing just as much as she enjoyed his singing. And how he played the guitar. I remember how he once sang a cover of the Bryan Adams questionable ‘Have You Ever Loved A Woman’ and everyone thought that he deserved her. But both of us could see our unborn children in Roni’s eyes.
She called the two of us ‘The Special Two’ long before Jose Mourinho came to the scene and pronounced himself the Special One.
Our dating arrangement for Roni had taken most people who didn’t think sharing was caring by surprise as we jokingly called each other ‘Co-boyfriend.’ It was never going to mature into ‘Co-husband’ only for the reason that that is just that: illegal.
We split the days we spent with Roni. He had her on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays whilst I had her on Saturdays, Mondays and Wednesdays. We kept Friday free for a toss up.
I won most toss ups. How ironic then that Nat would also pass away on a Friday.
Nat clearly hated Fridays. Just like he hated the Beatles. Yet he also loved The Mosquitoes.
Green Mosquitoes was the name of our local football team. They played in green uniforms hence the colouring scheme in the title. I served as the Secretary General whilst Nat was the Organizing Secretary. With the advent of time, we had relinquished our positions but still supported the team in kind.
Nat had recently started a computer project to digitalize our village. He had roped in no less a person that our local Member of Parliament.
The last time I had met Nat was during Easter… and now I was meeting him again, only this time, he could not see me, or talk to me, or sing. Or kiss Roni.
Roni was in attendance at the funeral as was Nat’s widow and their very young child. Roni’s husband was seated a few metres away from where I sat with her whilst Monique had been gracious to put our recent estrangement aside to join me on this trip but sat in the car just sipping on Dasani. Some youngsters had sagging jeans perhaps to emphasize Nat was going down.
A few people were also screaming like toddlers who had lost their favourite crayons.
It felt odd to see someone filming the funeral. Even odder when the film crew opened the casket and filmed an up-close. The impact to his face after the accident had been rather shocking to say the least. What world do these people live? Unless they were shooting an advert for cremation.
The funeral service started with some tributes from all and sundry including our neighbours, his workmates, the Green Mosquitoes, the MP and some church fellows.
“Nat is not dead!” declared an old lady. “Who says Nat is dead? He is not dead!”
I looked over at the guys who were digging the grave. ‘Hang on! Hold the jembes!’ my inner voice spoke. If this old lady was right and we are not confused... we're burying the wrong dude.
“Nat lives on!” she continued. Oh well. She then broke into tears. She was led away. Nut.
The next speaker from The Mosquitoes had an analogy about how life was unfair. “If life was football, we would all get injury time and then extra time before sudden death penalties”. Roni and I exchanged glances. Nat had been injured just before he passed on and some would have said he got injury time before the sudden death.
A middle aged man stood and complained that old men were still living and yet productive men were dying. “Why doesn’t God take one of these useless old men, some of whom are here!” he thundered to lots or murmurs from old men at the ground. It almost turned into a riot and on account of the heckling, the tribute ended.
The MP stood to speak and paid glowing tribute to the digital village that had been the brainchild of Nat. “He is now teaching the angels how to use computers.”
Before the interment, there was still reserved a tribute from his best friend. I demurred as did Roni but the chance was quickly taken up by George Cheloti, whom I didn’t quite recognize as a close chum to Nat. And soon we knew why he had jumped at the chance to speak.
He started by saying that we are all going to die. “Even you Nat’s mum! Even you Our Kid! Even you Roni. Even you Bwana MP!” We are all going to die sooner or later and join Nat.
At a time we all needed comforting, this was discomforting.
George then went on to describe Nat’s widow as a stunning beauty and hint that if she ever got lonely, she should not forget that where Nat came from there were more handsome men such as himself. “If we had a beauty competition at this funeral, she will emerge as Miss Funeral!”
Comforting 0 Discomforting 2.
You know at this point am thinking, maybe the widow should have missed the funeral. George paused and looked at all of us and nodded. This guy was made for such events. “Could someone get me some bottled water from my BMW” he asked and pointed his keys to the car park and unlocked his car.
There has never been a bigger product placement since some guy wore the Brookside t-shirt in the video for the hit song Apewe Sifa by Wangeci Mbogo.
George then decided to take this a notch higher.
“The Good Book says: Let the dead bury their dead! So I will move on to some living testimonies”
“There was a man who was driving his fancy car - like my Beamer - when he saw a hot woman just like Nat’s widow, standing by the roadside. She was wearing a very short mini-skirt, they call them micro minis…”
This sure didn’t sound like a funeral story. Especially when our friend died in a car crash.
“He slammed the brakes! The girl had on the roundest bum he had ever seen! He quickly opened the door and beckoned her in…”
Memo to the middle aged man. The old men shouldn’t have been killed. George should.
“As she sat, her mini slipped up and all the young man could see were tracks of thigh! He pretended he was looking to engage the gear and slipped his hand between her thighs...”
Roni pressed my hand as if to say, ‘Do something!’ Her husband frowned.
“The girl said Matthew 7:7…and the young man quickly took away his hands. But he couldn’t concentrate on the road so he stole a glance at her thighs. He looked her chest and she was breathing heavily…. He wanted to squeeze those boobs but chose to slip his hands between her thighs…”
You could hear a pin drop at the funeral. The MP’s mouth was agape. Some older women could hardly remember the last time they read Mills & Boon leave alone experienced such tension.
“She whispered in a softer voice Matthew ... 7… 7… and the young man took away his hand again. Like all journeys, this one came to an end and the girl started to alight, her rounded bum filling the entire visual spectrum of the young man. She turned around, smiled and sashayed away. After his Little Man dropped, the young man took out his Blackberry, logged onto the internet and Googled Matthew 7:7”
What gall. What harrowing moment. What a way to send Nat off. I stood and was walking towards the sound system.
“It says: Ask and it shall be given to you… seek, and you shall find… knock and it shall be opened unto you”
I switched off the sound system to applause from all.
George came over to and said I had sabotaged him as was just about to announce that he will contest the elections for Member of Parliament in 2012. He was merely stating his intention through a parable. Tell that to the mosquitoes!
May the Good Lord bless Nat’s soul. And that of George C. Looney!
Oh... and apparently Michael Jackson also died.