Silences

These are words written to fill a blank space.

The old boda boda guy rides slowly, his left hand twitching on the handle bars as he considers changing gears. He speaks slower still, weighing the Swahili in his mind before he lets it leave.

I imagine he tells better stories in Kisii.

These are words written to fill a blank space.

The brown eyed boy is bleeding. The notes from his past are spilling from the space between his nose and the tip of his upper lip. They say he had pulled too hard on a reefer and the flame caught his beard. That story seems suspicious, more likely it was an accident of untold proportion that no one tells because no one can.

They have brought him a serviette. It doesn’t help. But they can’t do anything else. The past cannot be locked inside like some secret in a treasure chest. Dead men would be more occupied with collecting the scars of broken women – but even that might be a metaphor with too much force.

These are words written to fill a blank space.

Seasoned players will tell you, when the moment comes, no one will have to tell you. You will be running down the field, wind in your hair thinking of nothing except the next move and you will find yourself on the inside of the second centre. You will have cut back in, right between opposing defenders. No one will know what a lock is doing there; no one will know what to tell you, so no one will tell you anything.

Seasoned players will also tell you that, sometimes, the moment has come, and you have taken the perfect angles, but a stray defender had their antenna up.

Sometimes you are someone’s moment.

These are words written to fill a blank space.

The difference between love and lasagna is the seasoning. If you add a little beef to anything it becomes a filling meal. The problem with filling meals is that you get full.

These are words written to fill a blank space.

How much of the blankness can we fill before we are full?

Still, the old bodaboda guy continues to ride, the scar on his upper lip trembling in the wind.

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