(Image from Pinterest: Le port altier.)
Day 18 and today we are putting our creativity to the test. The topic is using, ” By the time he woke up, I was dying..” Happy reading!
I always find it funny the way I died, one minute you are sitting in a bus, anticipating the journey to meet your loved one and the next, you are living for eternity in a place known to be haunted. I always try sharing my story with those who pass by here, although they all seem to make peace with their makers and are welcomed home. That has not been the case for me, since 1983 I have been here, watching men and women drive by in silence, whispering about how death looms here and how it might be one of the gates to hell. 4 miles, they call it here. My home has become a tagline to the folklore of how people always die here. They make it seem as if wanting to make friends who are like me is a sin, it is loneliness, in the end, no one has to die alone.
Anyway, I digress. The reason why I am narrating my story is that I realised I have never had closure of how I died. Maybe it is what has been holding me back, hindering me from meeting my maker, whoever it might be now due to my transgressions.
It was the day before my first Valentines day in a new Zimbabwe. Namatai and I had been courting for 3 months and I had to travel from Chivhu to Harare to see the boysky he was planning for us to move into after he secured his job as a security guard. I remember wearing my red linen dress embroidered with small violets, I put on my favourite pair of red sandals and painted my lips and nails a bright red. A red that shouted as loud as my love for Namatai.
I remember waking up very early to catch the only bus to Harare. It departed at 4 am, so that meant I had to be up before 3 am to get myself ready and make my way to the bus stop. I remember having trouble opening my bedroom door, for some reason it was stuck. So I jostled and kicked it for a good 10 minutes before it opened ajar. I should have taken that as a sign.
I conjure almost missing the bus, thank God for the woman whose suitcase had fallen from the bus carrier before the bus departed. I sat by the window, droplets of sweat racing down the sides of my face. I took a moment to catch my breath, then took out my small mirror and surveyed my appearance. My perm had been ruined by the wind as I was running, so I decided to restyle it. After a few minutes, the bus stopped and an older gentleman got on the bus.￼￼ He was a hefty man who stood at a good 6 feet and never missed a meal. I tried not to pay attention to him but he came and sat next to me. With the bus half empty, you would think some people would find somewhere to sit on their own, it was a free Zimbabwe after all.
I scooted over and moved closer to the window. He nodded at me and grunted, a sign of greeting an immediately fell asleep. Never in my life had I ever seen someone sleep as if they are dead. I busied myself by thinking about the journey ahead, the life I would have with Namatai. The last thing I remember physically experiencing was the impact of the collision of the bus and the truck. I recollect being pinned against the window and the hefty man as the bus rolled over 3 times before smashing into a tree.
I felt the weight of the man’s back suffocating me. I tried moving but my body was numb. I could smell something metallic and I felt eerie as I slowly slipped into unconsciousness. It was not painful but uncomfortable, I recall death slowly swallowing me. By the time he woke up, I was dying.