My friend once told me that writing about it will make time pass without carrying tiny bits of your soul. I do not know if that is true but today 10th of September I just lost my eldest sister and I am not sure of anything that has been happening for the last two hours. As I write this I do not even know how it happened, my other sister, Kate Njenga just sent me a blunt text telling me that Karoline Njeri is no more. It is around 10 pm I have been trying to study for a programming test tomorrow but I have just been staring at my laptop. I have let my warm salty tears wet my lap and my laptop keyboard hoping that as they trickle down they carry away this burning rage on my insides.
I first met Karoline Njeri in 1995 as an infant when I could not make out much of anything. Karo had been at least ten years old and was quite accustomed to visit us at our home. She had been my cousin then. Mom always narrates how when Karo and her friends used to come for school games they would come to our living room and find me sleeping on the couch. Mom would tell them not to wake the baby but they often thought my chubby cheeks made me irresistibly cute so they would touch and touch some more. I was a light sleeper, or so I have come to conclude, so I would wake up with a foul mood demanding to know why my sleep had been cut short. I would cry. I loved crying when I was several months old, that part I can even remember. Mom would then be left alone trying to make stubborn Dennis sleep and Karo would scamper away with her clique.
That was 20 years ago. I try to play my last moments with her right now and all I can remember was a beautiful light-skinned girl who loved laughing than she loved life. A girl who had a wordplay for every line during family gatherings. A girl who just left us without even a goodbye. I remember a beautiful girl who was taken away from people who adored her more than they did their selves, people who grew up with her and watched her grow to a charming young woman. People shedding tears of disappointment all over wondering why it had to be her. Still you want me to say that God loved her better than we did? Because if I said that I would be lying!
Karo and her younger brother lost their mom soon a little after 95 and that was when she moved in with us. A great part of my childhood I knew her better than I even knew Kate because Kate was always in boarding school. Karo would prepare in the morning to go to high school, I would prepare to go to pre-unit. She always ironed my clothes, my shoes were as shiny as a mirror each day. At one point out of arrogance I asked her why she had to iron my clothes yet I did not see the essence. Karoline did not take offence, her task to dress me up went on relentlessly. She would drop me to school then head out to her school each morning for years and years until I was all grown up and went to boarding school too.
Come to think of it, it was Karo who had new cooking recipes during our family gatherings. Once it was pineapples and carrots the next it was something else. It was as if she lived to I induce life to the family. She was an anchor supporting these events. Each time she would come from the city to see grandma she would have bags and bags of everything she thought grandma would need. I wonder how grandma is doing right now, the cruelty of life has made her bury a daughter and now a granddaughter. Nobody should have to go through that! My heart bleeds out for her. It is not alright that we have to look over our shoulders each time because, turn away a little and BAM! Death has ran away with people that make your life worth a dime, leaving behind a tired piece of junk inside you that you cannot even figure out how to get rid of.
I mean, I was just playing loud Chris Brown music some few moments ago getting ready to activate party mode after my last paper tomorrow. Ugali was cooking in the kitchen and a glass of water in my hand, everything was cool until my phone vibrated, a damn text message! Kate, telling me that it is bad, really bad at home. I did not get her so I just called her immediately and even before she could respond a certain uneasiness fills my intestines like I had just swallowed something bad and there she goes ahead to ask me if I had read her text. I say I did but I wanted to say I did not. Perhaps if I denied having read it would make the story change course and Kate would just amuse me about her day’s work and stuff, how she got to a public transport vehicle and the conductor did not ask her for fare, something else. Something that did not end with a long silence and occasional heavy breaths indicating how apprehensive things had got when Chris brown was playing on my radio.
Unfortunately news was just same news, Karoline Njeri was no longer with us. She had passed away at KNH. I still do not know how or why! Dammit! I do not know shit! I do not even have a damn clue but I cannot ask, not now, not today. Today I just want to remember all the moments we shared with Karo, good and bad alike. I want our encounters to play on a HD screen on the back of my brain till sunrise. I want to remember her crying in her bedroom because I was mean to her, I want to remember me telling her about my first girlfriend, about the day she and her husband noticed that I am not a soccer fan and drove me to a big hotel just to watch Manchester play against some other shady team. The match results was 3-0. Manchester United had won. Karo was overjoyed, she was a diehard Manchester fan and she was the only one who watched soccer in the entire Njenga Family. I want to remember her big warm playful hug because she might no longer be with us but that hug will be always be there, a little empty and hollow now but with her perfume scent and her laughter.
And before I start thinking about things will never be the same again, I want to pass my deepest condolences to her husband, grandma, mom, dad and Kate. I would promise to be a shoulder if I could stand myself up. Goodnight Karo, finally you got to be with auntie and uncle. Do they still remember us and the dents they left?