By Allan Njoorah
Seated under a mango tree in my home my dad called me. “Sit right here next to me son,” he said pointing to the ground. The grass was small and trimmed and while sitting I wondered what it had in its mind. Does it feel pain, does it curse us for sitting on it and will we go to hell for this. But before I could ponder all this I felt his hand on my shoulder. Looking at him, he had that gaze like he really had something important to say, something bottled up for a long time, probably decades.
“When I was your age, I worked in a steel industry in the city; I was the favourite of my bosses. They loved me as I was sharp, creative and I never feared to challenge them whenever they were wrong” he started. I had a dream of resigning and building a chain of clothes distribution throughout East Africa. However, like many of my peer the bottle was more urgent than my dream and with a steady pay check I could not resist the urge. Four years down the line, I woke up to a dismissal letter. I had been fired! My bosses could no longer tolerate my consistent absence from work. My work mates were fed up with my tendency to leave all duties to them and showing up drunk like a fish. But I wasn’t devastated, this had happened to me several times before and I always got another job. As usual I convinced myself I will. As I packed my belonging, I could feel the eyes watching me in that office, the voices of those who loved and those who hated me. I could see the sadness in my friends faces and the joy in the ones hopeful to finally get my position when am gone.
That night after drowning my sorrows with several bottles as usual, I had a vision. I was standing in a funeral, all those around me were crying. Most of them were familiar faces, your grandfather, grandmother, the rest of the family and friendly friends. I tried to do the same but tears would not come. I didn’t know what was happening and who was dead since all those I knew were there. I move closer to see this dead stranger and to my surprise it was me,” “wait dad, are you saying you were the one in the casket,” I interrupted him curiosity getting the better part of me. “Yes son, I was the one,” he confirmed. “Tell me what happen after that?” I asked.
He could sense the tension and anxiety in me and so he continued. “I moved closer to touch the dead me in the coffin, he was cold, stiff and pale like death itself. They closed the coffin after they confirmed it was me and it was time to take me to my grave. The pastor prayed for the body and I was surprised of all the good things they were saying about me. It felt like they were talking about someone else as I was not worth half of all the praises they were giving. Now it was time to put me six feet under me and they were ready to throw sand on top of me. That’s the moment I woke up, sweating, breathless and scared. I had just witnessed my burial and I vowed my life had to change.
I started writing my business proposal having decided I was no longer seeking employment. It was time to follow my long abandoned dream. The following six months was the most difficult time of my life as I moved all over the towns locating stores and hiring my employees. Finally the chain stores opened after nine months of hustle and sweat. Then one day I heard this lady who wanted to meet me and be my clothes supplier. She was let in my office and right there in front of me stood the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. And before her proposal for clothes supply was sealed I was more interested in her that what she was supplying. I even wondered how many men would have died for the love of her beauty. That woman is your mother now; her boldness is the elixir that turned everything for the better.
You see son, I had my dream come true, I have the woman of my dreams by my side, I have you and your sister and I have done countless mistakes. But that is how life is. In this Holiday Season I want you to know if my day to die comes keep a memory of me not as a champion, a king or a hero but as a man fallible and flawed who loved you very much. So whenever you feel like life is building fences to keep you out, start to dig tunnels to your dream.”