My late friends, excuse selfish me but there is no rest or peace for me. I can’t imagine any of you resting in peace either, not if the way you lived your lives is anything to go by. Let’s just say the party to be at must be wherever you are.
One day we were poking fun at each other after our drunken escapades and the next, I was standing by your graves with over-used tissues in my sweaty hands, nursing blood-shot eyes.
Just the other day, I was excited to find Mafikizolo’s Sibongile on my laptop but I couldn’t play it until the end. I would have drowned in my own tears if I had. I still can’t play this damn song! And ‘Loudmouth’, after all this time, I still get shivers when I walk past the spot where they took your life so brutally. To hear that I would never see you again sent spikes through my heart.
As for you light-skinned one, to know that you had finally given in, hard as I tried, I couldn’t bring myself to feel that it was better for your suffering to end. That’s what everybody said. I preferred it when I could still hope and pray that you would eventually come out of your peaceful sleep asking for a cold beer.
Remember how we used to joke that you know it’s a kasi funeral when they cart in a sack of beetroot so the neighbours can help make the largest dish of beetroot salad you have ever seen? Well, they had beetroot at your funerals too. As soon as we came back from the dusty cemetery, there was beetroot waiting for us. Of course, coleslaw comes standard with funeral catering.
A preacher at one funeral kept saying your name all wrong, he didn’t know you and that was understandable; you were not a frequent visitor at the church. I paid no attention to my feet as they kept screaming enough was enough, the stilettos were pinching them! All I kept thinking was; “This is it. I’ve just left you in Avalon, watched your family throw sand in a hole in West Park, buried you in Duduza and saw your coffin hit the ground in Newcastle. That’s the end, my friends are gone.”
I blog these days and knowing you bunch of clowns, you probably would have said nonsense like ‘uyaz’thanda lezinto zok’phapha’, ‘you and these funny-nyana things’ or ‘don’t say too much’. I miss you so much it’s crazy but I keep it to myself because people don’t seem to understand why I would be weakened by your passing when we were not even related.
But, we were related. You were my family. We came from far to meet each other in this hood and fall into place in the perfect puzzle that was our friendship. When rent was late, it was on each other’s couches that we passed out. When lovers broke our hearts, we cried about it together for a less than reasonable time. Together we found that with enough beer, kwaito and friends; a broken heart could be mended sooner than without.
We were related because we feasted together at month-ends and shared loaves of bread and buckets of slap chips on Rockey Street when cash was scarce. We were related because we knew each other in states of disarray and mismanagement that our blood relatives would never dream we are capable of achieving. Our blood relatives don’t know that we almost crushed our knee caps getting down, literally, whenever Mzekezeke instructed us to Guqa ngamadolo. We were related because a fight picked against one of us was really a personal attack on all of us.
I miss you every day. Some days are really cool because I can smile about the mischief we got up to but then, there are days when the memories are real and vivid, and the pain is fresh. I have days when the past stands out from every corner and almost suffocates me with emotion and longing.
I wonder why they say time heals. I also used to say those sorry words to people thinking there was much-needed comfort in them if they were uttered in the right tone. Now I know the emptiness of the lies I told all those people.
Time has only offered me a chance to continue with my life in a manner deemed ‘sane’ and ‘acceptable’. Time has only meant that I am now able to go on with my days successfully pretending that I have recovered from losing all of you. Time has not healed me. Time has not made me forget about you. My dear friends who left me sooner than I ever could have imagined you would, time has not made your passing any easier for me. Time is only a measure of how long I have had to be without your friendship, how long I have been without rest and peace.