I picture a man, he’s not young by any account. His hair is a forest of grey, his back is bent from carrying the weight of responsibilities. He walks with a stick. He’s learnt to talk less and listen more. He smiles more often, and when he does, the creases on his face become more apparent. They didn’t just show up one night and make a home on his face. It took years, mostly of worry, perhaps of how he’d be able to afford fees for his son’s good school, or the worry of a daughter who was slipping into bad company. There are other things that have kept him awake too – decisions and their consequences.
I imagine he always wanted to write. And not just to write for the sake of it, but to write beautifully. He wanted his words to carry meaning. But there reached a time when the was in his 30s, and all men his age were doing something with their lives – something visible.
They’d meet on a Friday evening for a drink and some nyama and he’d listen to his friends yap about the companies they’d started, or the cars they intended to buy, the homes they hoped to own. The women they wanted to marry. Most were climbing up the corporate ladder, eyeing titles like ”Assistant Director”.
And him? He just wanted to write beautifully. But the pressure came in so subtly, he didn’t see himself succumbing to it at first. He started harboring thoughts in his mind, that perhaps his dream was not too sophisticated to allow him sit at the table of men. Other people wanted to conquer the world, he just wanted to write about it.
What happened, you ask? Over time, he became convinced that writing was a hobby for people with extra time to kill, or rich kids with an inheritance in their name. And poetry? That was for high school kids too shy to talk to their crushes.
So he gave this all up, for a chance at the high table. Made more time for stuff that brought him extra cash. Married a lass to keep him company as he rubbed shoulders with peers comparing notes, cars and homes.
Time flew as it always does. He is an old man now.
I picture him sitting in a fancy living room. It’s evening, a time when the world quietens down and thoughts of the past try to come and haunt you. He’s sitting on a recliner seat he bought himself on his 70th birthday so that he could rock in it and watch the sunset.
Beside him is a pen and a book. He has started writing again. He doesn’t want to write about finance, or politics or technology. He doesn’t want to pen down his accomplishments. He just wants to write beautifully. Often, he describes the sun as it sets. It’s marvelous. It’s reminded him of God. Otherwise where would such beauty emanate from, if not from a higher power?
I’m sure you’d like to meet with such an accomplished man. He’s rubbed shoulders with big men with titles to their names. But if you get the chance to talk to him now, you might learn something interesting. He is just a man who wants to write beautifully and watch the sunset. You might learn about fulfillment. About self-forgiveness. And that it’s never too late to pick up your passion. Or find one