I met death seated under a jacaranda tree as Muthui’s body hang lifeless from the longest branch. It was a chance meet and I know I shouldn’t have been walking around at three in the morning but I just had to pee and Muinge would not escort me to the latrine even though I was seven years old and it was his responsibility as my elder brother.
He sat there quite, talking to himself. A blank expression canvasing his visage. You couldn’t tell if he was happy or sad or the rollercoaster of emotions that comes in between. As I stood rooted to my spot, my tiny feet refusing to bulge he lifted his left hand and signaled me over the way my grandfather would do after he had had too much to drink from old lady Wanjiru’s pot. There was always a sad story that followed.
I had no control over my body. Like a cat possessed I moved slowly towards him. Only my eyes, these windows to my soul, betrayed what was going through my head. Curiosity, fear, awe…the whole nine yards. At that moment my life begun to flash before me.
My heart skipped a beat as I remembered how I stole a spoonful of sugar and spread it over the avocado I had “collected” in the farm. The only consolation were the words of Father Andrews at catechism that my sins would not count as long as I was still under seven years of age.
Time felt like it had taken a break from its hurrying nature to wait for me. I was now sitted under death’s feet , staring into his cold eyes that were not even eyes but stars for they twinkled as if far in the distant sky. The air was cold and dump around him.
As his fingers reached out to grab my face I let out a scream. The kind that would raise the dead from their eternal rest. I jumped up from where I was seated, a renewed strength exorcising the demons that had taken over my conscious.
Suddenly, there was a blinding light. Is this how it feels to die? No, the giggles around me told me I was not in heaven. Surely Mrs Karua, my English, teacher did not deserve to sit at the foot of God’s throne.