THE STORY AS IT IS

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These hairy and brown skinned hands are never the same. It is not about fingers being equal, it’s a lot more. They all look alike, one fat thumb alongside four well partitioned fingers. But would you say your hands are like mine just because they move alike, and do things that mine would?  We can flip through every part of our body, every substituent that is fused together. Everything is similar, if it isn’t then you’re tagged abnormal. So even from the genesis of things, we were meant to be the same. But the truth is that characteristics are a constant, it is probably the only thing that is mutually shared between the elitist and savages. It’s a birthright. It is very easy to blend into the crowd, to spend every day thinking that two hands, a head and two legs are all you need to keep going.  You readily buy into that notion, after all almost everyone thinks the same.  That’s a lie that’s big enough to cripple your very worth.

I will not deviate today; I will not let the budding ideas in my head lead me away.  We would never be the same, because something stronger defines us. I can stand on a hill; I can watch the sun rise from its slumber. I can be in awe of nature and look on till the skies go dark. Yet I can never be like the man next to me. The both of us are savoring the moment together, we scream in unison as the lions roar from the dry lands just below us, he holds my hand as we climb the steep hill. I feel like I had met him somewhere before.

“Are you from Kigali. “I ask at last.

He looks at me for the first time; I see the scar below his eyes. I see that he has no teeth in his mouth.

“I am from Kibungo.”  His voice is hoarse, his mouth doesn’t move an inch, but I hear the words.

We are devoured by nature itself, the perfection of every edge and spot. I know he is also excited, even though he doesn’t say much. I do all the talking. I tell him about Mary, the prostitute from Gisenyi I had fallen in love with. I tell him about my inn at Byumba, I keep talking.  The smell of fresh leaves is so pleasant. I want to call him brother all of a sudden. I want to know much about him, but he barely says a word.

“What do you do in Kibungo?”

“I do nothing exactly.”

“Don’t you have a family?”

“Everyone has a family.” He sounds irritated now.

“How many children do you have?”

He sits on the ground. He draws his legs on the sand, and then he looks up at me. I see tears in his eyes now. His words are muffled up.

“The soldiers raped Sarah, they raped her while I watched .I could do nothing, I was helpless. I…I…saw it all. They slit my little girls’ throat…Oh…Oh…. They tied me up and set the house on fire. I was left to die.”

He stands up, he is still in tears. He doesn’t look back at me. I felt the tears run down my face. This man who had travelled several miles to have a feel of nature was not like me. We bonded so well, but then he had been through so much. He was stronger, he was tougher.

“You are not my brother.” I say.

He doesn’t hear me.

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