Some days are special. Some days you wake up and you notice the birds chirping outside your window. These are the kind of days when you really feel that the world has the potential to be beautiful. That it was indeed intended to be a garden with rivers of honey and gold flowing freely. That all men were destined to be equal, to eat fruit and to pet cheetahs; to weigh the world between their ears, to mull over the balance that is needed in the animal kingdom and to ponder upon the issues that arose the previous day – the smaller animals’ complaints against the larger ones. To meditate. To reason. To think.
We never have the time to soak in such mornings. We never have the time to do any of these things, especially the cheetah one.
Chances are, that on a given morning, you turned in bed and the environment was one you had experienced before. That the curtains did little to shield you from the light pouring into your dwelling. That it was a morning spent in your mind; when your consciousness seamlessly drifted, when your eyes remained closed – because you dare not open them, lest your sleep disappeared – and when your body ached with fatigue.
As you drifted between being half-awake and dead asleep, your mind spoke to you. In a haze, you heard the birds chirping. You saw the sun, the hue of the sky. It was one of those, the mornings you can only describe with the chords of a piano rolling gently from the soul of an artist. A content artist – a man who had realized that life is meant to be lived one day at a time. And on that day, he played the tune of a beautiful prairie, a utopia, an open field, a wonderland at tea time. To purgatory he led, and his song followed. Eternities were created, stored and destroyed in his leisurely tune. His song was history … his story. He told of his journey to a new space. He described the feeling he had in his new place, and his need to protect it. He guided your thoughts to his despair when he lost his habitat – to his safe haven getting crushed, leaving him abandoned in an empty pit full of insecurity.
It was the kind of day described through literature or through poetry, but not through drama. No. It was a slow morning when you, the main character in the novel, spent a few moments on your bench with your back to your hut, musing over the previous chapters and the fleeting nature of your existence. You sat in the sun, but you didn’t feel its burn. Time moved by. You realized that the pages were turning, that the gears in the watch were rolling.
You resolved to a blank stare, to peace of mind. You looked far off into the distance, and you stared at the space between you and the horizon. The buildings in the background were only that – a background. You saw the space for what it was; for what it could be to you – nothing. You spent the only currency you had. You spent the moments inbetween the notes of the piano, the moments in the breaks and pauses of the rhythm. This was your land. This was the only environment where you were free. Free from pain. Free from thoughts. Free from the world and the harassment of life. Free from time.
This was space.
You spend five minutes in bed, enjoying the idea of a slower life – a life rid of distractions and noise. But just like the artist, your world is full of music, but your soul is empty.
“Damn it. There goes the existential crisis again.”
You turn away from the light. You lift up your phone. You cover your countenance with a mask.
Sometimes I wake up with this need to read, a craving for words. At times it’s a filling cuisine when I feel empty, and other times – most times – it is an empty space that I can escape to when my capacities are full. I escape to the space between here and there, to the air between me and the horizon. So, if bikozulu is talking about what my 40s could be like, or if magunga has lost me with a phrase in Dholuo, I am not here and neither am I there. I am in-between. I am trapped in the space, in the medicinal breaks prescribed by the artist.
This thing called space is beautiful. This thing called time is its ugly sibling. Together they are the family of life – a family that lives so near yet so far away, on a cliff adjacent to our own. The terrain stands proud. It is a blessing to be far from time, but a curse to be separated from space. Like many men before me, necessity spawned an invention which came to my rescue.
Words. Words are the bridge we use. They are the telephone lines that connect us to space. We long for her beauty, but time knows utos. Time has seen our sinister intentions. After all, he is a man like us – cruel, trash.
When we find space though, time cannot locate us. She wraps us in a gentle embrace, in a warm hug, a tight hug that lingers. It is momentary, but it is an eternity. It is a warm embrace, but it is a horrible reminder of the cold world that awaits us on the other side of the embrace.
We were told, and we continue to learn that all good things come to an end. Space has a boyfriend. As it turns out, she can’t save you. She is as cruel as time. She is her brother’s keeper – an accomplice. She is a burglar, and my word, she is brilliant. She tore the artist’s heart out, after teaching him to live. In her embrace, she held his heart in her hand. She taught it to beat slowly but to live fast, to feel. And now he has no escape. Now he feels. Now that’s all he does.
This thing called space is beautiful …