June 1st she woke up at around 5 to a text. A text that had been sent about an hour earlier. She’d gotten used to waking up early. She never left bed though, she would reply to texts she found on her phone then go back to sleep or just stay down till around 8. Most texts were from Ali. Some nights she went to bed late and some early depending on how late he kept her up. She hated going to bed without talking to him, he’d gotten her used to it. Their chats weren’t as frequent as she loved, he was busy, he was dealing with important stuff and she understood. To keep busy and to avoid harassing him, she kept in touch with her friends. She talked to Sam a lot. Sam’s brother, Samson was unwell and she liked to distract him from the pain of watching his brother suffer. Sam was a positive guy, she envied that.
The previous night she had gone to bed a few minutes to midnight. She had then stayed up till well past one. Ali had been busy all day but had compensated for it later and they’d talked till late in the night. They talked love. They talked marriage. They talked family. They talked about the future as though they had a clue. They talked humour. They talked for long. She finally let him sleep because she too was sleepy. V went to bed hoping for a beautiful day ahead.
She’d been home for about a week and a half now and everything was going great save for one drag, she had not met her mother or daughter yet. They were visiting a cousin of hers who had also recently conceived. They had left on Monday that week V travelled home. She had to wait a while till she saw them again. She was home with two other cousins and a niece. She’d distracted herself that week with Music Festivals and had made some money. All was good. When she opened the text to read it she sat up with a sharp pain she didn’t understand. It was a short text. One that was meant to be simple, but was heavy for her. It was not the kind of text she had anticipated. Especially not early in the morning. She stared at it dumbfounded. She wanted to respond but had no idea what to say. V rarely ran out of what to say, but then she rarely ever received texts like these. It was written mater-of-factly ‘we lost Samson this morning.
She’d asked Sam about Samson once every while and his response was always the same, “he is getting better, we thank the Lord.” V believed him. She cared about Samson by extension and by default. He was her best friend’s elder and only brother, she couldn’t help it. She’d heard Sam talk to and about his brother and she could feel the respect, the adoration, the reverence, the love, the friendship. From the stories he told, Sam was barely different from Samson. They had a lot in common it was adorable. She’d heard about how chicky and blunt he was, how friendly, generous and simple he was. He’d been like Sam’s role model which led V to believe he was a great friend, a responsible man, a loving family guy. V knew quite a bit about Sam’s family and hence Samson. She felt, in a way, attached to Samson. His death was a stroke to her. More so because she had hoped she would meet him some day, probably to just shake hands and tell him what a great guy he was, or perhaps to make friends with him too. He would probably be just as awesome a friend as Sam.
‘What? How? When? Where? Who? Why?…” Is what she was thinking. She couldn’t text Sam that though. She couldn’t tell him textbook clichés either. She was completely lost for words.
Is what she managed to say.
God’s plans. He had His reasons..
She read the text with awe. There she was, looking for someone to blame, wondering what to tell her friend, and there he was, all tranquil and composed. V almost wished she was him, except for the part where he had lost his brother. She knew he was being strong. She tried to talk to him but he told her he was busy. She figured he didn’t want to talk about it. V understood. She too had trouble talking about things that she found unbearable. She couldn’t go back to sleep. She needed to talk to someone. Someone who knew a little something about Sam. A mutual friend. She texted Angela. She knew she could trust her advice on what to say. As usual, Angela had something reassuring to say.
The rest of the day was strangely slow. She didn’t want to sound pitiful or sympathetic when she talked to Sam. She decided to let him be and prepared how she would attend the burial. Most of their other friends were attending as she came to find out later in the week.
That week she didn’t bother Ali much either. He was busy and she was preoccupied. They talked less than they had initially. It could wait. The day she was to travel to Bumala for the burial was the same day Ara and Leba were coming home. She had waited for them impatiently all week long hoping each day that they would show up. They didn’t. Then her mum announced that Friday morning that they were finally coming home. She waited. At some point she gave up and decided she could see them when she came back. Two days was not such a big deal anyway.
She got to Bumala late but before the rest of her friends. Sam was busy, working around with his male cousins to ensure everything was in place. The women had their share of work. V immediately bonded with Niffer, one of Sam’s female cousins. She was pleasant and accommodating. V instantly felt comfortable. Meeting and liking new people wasn’t easy for her, but this was different. V spent the rest of the evening and a good part of the night with Niffer. She introduced her to most of their cousins, some whose names she couldn’t remember minutes later. She only saw Sam every once in a while from a distance, being busy. She talked to him a few times like when their other friends who were travelling from Nairobi needed directions.
They arrived some minutes after one. Sam called her to meet them at the entrance where he was already waiting for them. Despite herself, V was a tiny bit jealous of the reception he gave them. She was glad to see him happy though. He had hardly sat down the whole time she was there but at this time he had a few minutes to spare. All was set for the burial that was to be held the next day, 11th of June.