Has something ever been stolen from you?
What was it?
Time, love, friendship, or even your phone?
I’ve had my phone stolen from me recently. It was my office, my shop, my phone that is. You never know how much a thing is worth until you can’t just reach out and grab that thing like you use to, like reaching over in the morning and picking your phone to see notifications or to check if you had missed a call while you slept, or reach over to grope for your wife, or husband, or your infant.
Your hand snakes about, your eyes are closed, faith is doing most of the probing, faith that somewhere close by, that thing or someone you can almost not do without is waiting for your seeking fingers, waiting to be held.
And then your fingers hit all the corners of the terrain that is your bedside, your brows crease with the first flicker of doubt, your eyes open grudgingly and – they or the thing, is not there.
Whoever it was that had half your heart strapped to their existence is just gone. As though they were never there in the first place. You raise your head, your frown deepens, your jaws slacken; your doubts coagulate, panic begins its first tentative gnaw in the seconds that follow.
Your mind questions itself, your eyes question its surrounding and the bed yawns with nothing to show for its time of service.
This nothing is the beginning of the testaments that will follow, every revelation with its pain. You will cry, you will wonder, you will accuse – even God -, then you will acquit everyone of the affliction, everyone except yourself and God for this new and worrisome hole in your life.
Have you ever lost someone, something; a lover to another lover, a phone to another owner?
You’d pretend. You’d laugh, a plastic veneer of nonchalance that even you know is a lie. But you’d rather live this lie than face the reality which is this truth: it is over, they are gone.
Oh sorry, I got carried away right there.
I was going to tell you about my phone.
Aha, I was in a Keke with one of my brothers who makes a living copping.
It was Sunday, it was sunny and there was a band playing in my head, all I wanted to do was lay down somewhere and sleep.
This bedraggled man with tribal marks and a hook nose entered beside me. A little smile danced about his lips.
He wore a skull cap, his clothes were dirty, he carried an elephant cement sack on his lap and he was sneezing every ten seconds or so.
Now that I think of it, he looked dirty, but he didn’t smell like he should if he were a street person. He did look like a vagrant, yet he didn’t smell.
So he dropped his key, he went down to pick it, accompanying the act with two more sneezes. He took a few seconds down there to get the key, I had to go down to see if I could help.
He came back up with the key and stretched his hand across me and my brother, he wanted to greet someone in another Keke. I began to feel uncomfortable; he sneezed again, I thought maybe he’s key would fall again, it didn’t.
He got to his stop and jumped down, paid and disappeared into the crowd of waiting commuters.
After about two minutes I reached for my phone.
It was gone.
No words can adequately describe loss, any loss. No words. The feeling is a dark cloud, inexplicable in its form; is it rain, a storm, or is it a night, you can’t tell. The feeling hangs over you for days – sometimes depending on what was lost, it can take years to live down a loss. Some never get over it.
I have gotten over the phone, somewhat.
But I find it hard to forget the man’s face, his hook nose, that cunning smile and the fact that all the time he rode beside me in that Keke on that hot Sunday afternoon, he never looked at me once. Not even for a second.
I have bashed his face in my dreams, I have shot him a hundred times with an Ak, I have cut him in twenty equal halves, and every time, I have woken up from those dreams with a palpitation so angry I had to drink water.
The other emotion that follows after most losses is anger. Anger at yourself for been careless, for not holding on tight enough, anger at a cruel world for spitting such a heartless man as that thief at you. Then anger at the bringer of the loss itself.
Anger that nothing can ever be like the one you lost. Ever.