Another Sunday morning. Another beautiful day. The birds are chirping, the streets are filled with people heading to their respective places of worship and the sun is shining brightly. Kimani awakes from another drinking spree. It seems it gets worse every time he drinks. He doesn’t feel well. Perhaps someone laced his drink. It could be. He quickly checks for his phone and wallet. His wallet is intact but he can’t find his phone.
Where did he misplace it? Did someone steal it? What happened the previous day? It’s all a blur to Kimani.
Old man: Jesus, boy. You look awful. Why don’t you just stop drinking? You’re killing yourself.
Kimani was startled. It’s almost as if he came back to his senses almost immediately. He looked around to see where he was. He was back at the same public bench! What was even shocking being that the old man was also there. It’s as if he never left although he had changed his clothes. He was clad in all black. The old man was reading a newspaper while Kimani was trying to figure out how he found himself back at the bench.
Old man: Look at this. Another firm has been caught inflating the prices of their projects so as to loot funds. Where are we even going as a country? Scratch that. Where are we going as human beings? Every time I turn on the television or read the newspaper, I only get to hear and read about bad news.
Kimani: (still startled) How did I get back here? Why are you back here?
Old man: Goodness me, he’s not even paying attention. What is of more importance to you, how you got here or how the world is going to shit?
Kimani: How I got here damn it!
Old man: Do you really want to know why? It’s a silly answer.
Kimani: Out with it already!
Old man: Alright. Alright. The reason is because you’re predictable. All men are predictable. When a man is hurting, he desperately looks for help from others but when the help does arrive, you chase them away because your ego can’t handle the simple fact that you need help. Luckily for you, although I’m not praising you, is that you drink. Those drinks you love so much make your brain stimulate estrogen, which makes you more in touch with your feelings. You know what they say about feelings? It’s the language of the soul. So, your feelings made you drag yourself here from wherever you came from. Because you need help. Things cannot go on like this for you forever.
Kimani: Wait, you were counting on the fact that I would bring myself back here?
Old man: No. I wasn’t “counting on it”. I know so. What was only unknown to me is when you would come back. It would have been two weeks from now or even a month. Time is a tricky bastard. Look at me, it has made me feel old in this shell of a body but deep down I am as vibrant as a 7-year-old kid. Don’t you miss being a child?
Kimani: You mean to tell me that I brought myself back here because I want help?
Old man: No shit, Sherlock!
Kimani: Hey! Watch your language. It’s a Sunday for crying out loud. Have some respect.
Old man: (Bursts out laughing) Oh dear! Do you really want us to talk about having respect? I could list a thousand things wrong with you and they would make my use of profanity seem insignificant.
Kimani: You don’t know me old man. You don’t even know my name.
Old man: I don’t have to know your name to know what kind of person you are. You’re a hot mess. Just look at yourself! When was the last time you ever had a proper shower let alone some clean clothes? Your body looks weak. It can’t take no more of your drinking. Soon enough you will find yourself six feet under. And don’t get me started on your hair. Don’t you have a comb? That’s the cheapest commodity you can have right now in the country given that all prices are going up.
Kimani: It’s my life okay?
Old man: You’re damn right it’s your life but you’re not living well. You’re just dying at this point.
Kimani: What if that is what I want? What if I just want to die?
Old man: What about your family? What about your friends and loved ones? How do you think they will feel when they hear this?
Kimani: You don’t seem to understand one thing old man. There is nothing left for me to live for. I had it all. The best grades. I was the favorite child in the family. I did everything to make my parents proud. You should have seen their faces during my graduation. They knew they had done their job well. I also had a lovely lady by my side. Her name was Asha. We were planning to spend the rest of our lives together happy ever after. Sounds like a fairytale to me. Reality hit when I took this job. This fucking job that ruined everything. My stress levels went up because of the nature of the work. Working as an IT expert is almost the same as being a donkey. I didn’t even get recognition for a job well done. Once I complete one task, a bigger task is brought to my desk. The only thing that understood me was the alcohol. I drank because I want to numb this feeling of being disrespected and misused by people. Asha realized what I was doing and tried to help. But…but… (tears coming down)
Old man: But what?
Kimani: Her trying to help me brought back those feelings I was trying so hard to numb. I got so angry that I beat her up. I have never beat a woman before and there I was, beating up the woman I love. After realizing what I had done, I tried to apologize to her but it was too late. When I came back from work the next day, she packed all her stuff and left. I was lucky she didn’t press charges but what I did had no excuse. I knew at that point that I fucked up.
Old man: Hey, mind your language. (giggling)
Kimani: (stares at him)
Old man: Sorry. I thought it would be nice to lighten the mood.
Kimani: Everything afterwards is self-explanatory. Asha’s departure made me feel like I had the lost the only opportunity for me to ever being happy. I, no longer, find satisfaction in working any more. I just go there so that they could give me more money for buying alcohol. That was the plan until I got suspended. I beat up the governor’s son because he accidentally spilled my drink.
Old man: Where did this temper come from?
Kimani: I don’t know. The governor came to the office and demanded compensation. My boss just decided to suspend me for two months without pay. Now, I’m here talking to you about it. How is this even helping me? I don’t feel any better.
Old man: It wasn’t supposed to.
Old man: What you’ve just done is admitting that you have a problem. At this point we could move to the next part of the healing process. You.
Old man: Are you sure you don’t have hearing problems? I’m genuinely concerned. Please, don’t walk away this time.
Kimani: No, I actually want to hear what you have to say.
Old man: Good. Now, the reason I’m turning my attention to you because change comes from within. I’ll ask yourself, do you feel like you’re someone worthy on this earth.
Kimani: To be honest, no. I used to feel that way before when everything seemed to be going well. Good grades, good job and a lovely woman.
Old man: Ah. So, you felt worthy because of your external successes?
Kimani: Yeah, you could say that. You have no idea how good it felt accomplishing things at such a young age. People called me a living inspiration. That made me feel good.
Old man: Bingo! We hit the jackpot. Your only problem is that you think you’re not good enough.
To be Continued…