If sit still and listen closely, I can hear your laughter. Spontaneous, sparkling, infectious! When I think of you, over the years I have known you, it was your cheeriness that most touched me. A big smile, quickly dissolving into laughter. The ease with which a “Hello” would turn into a laugh out loud moment, was so fluid. And it was always a good belly laugh that would ensue, not a giggle, not a snicker, but a cleansing from-the-soul laughter.
We’re on the steps outside your parents’ house. It’s a beautiful sunny December day. (Was it just this past December? It feels like it was just yesterday). And there you go again, teasing, joking. The inevitable laughter! Quick to come, drawing me in, a moment shared, a soul refreshed.
Of the brothers, you were the first one I heard about.
“Who is Koome?” I ask looking quizzically at Etta, as Eugene continues describing your antics. “They’ve just moved in across the road!” she says pointing to the house on the hill. We were the children of the triangle – Mandera Road meets Gatundu. Playing football in your backyard. Where did the time go? More teasing – “…tuu, tuu, thilee, fo, silatu sya ngolova…” A phrase from a lifetime ago. But even if you didn’t get the Kikamba right, you had the intonation down pat! And I couldn’t even protest, because, there you have it, the smile and inevitable laughter would draw me in every time you said that to me.
I can see you on your beloved bike, and you really did love that bike! Up and down the road, tirelessly, incessantly. And when you weren’t riding it, you were fiddling with it, tweaking a gear, tightening a chain, tending to your toy.
Koome, now an altar server. Can’t remember too much that really stood out for me during all those Sundays Masses at Consolata, but I can remember your earnestness as you served.
Running into you at the Metro. Hadn’t even realised you’d come to the States, but such a pleasant and welcome sight you were, that cold, blistery morning. Your dazzling smile the ray of sunshine I needed that morning on my way to class.
Through the years, you remained true. It didn’t matter how many days, weeks, months, years had gone by, the reconnection was always immediate, needing no explanation, a continuation without pause.
We have lost another child of the triangle! And now I shed a tear because it never is easy to say goodbye. I’m terrible at dealing with heartbreak, and this is a heart wrenching moment. I can’t quite swallow the lump in my throat and the tears stream unbidden. For now I mourn, but I hold on to the sunshine that was your spirit, the warmth it brought, and cherish always the blessing that is you.