One beautiful day last summer I woke up like everyone does during summer - adventurous and energetic.  On that day I watched football with a man. At night I watched him die. This isn’t just any sad story. This is my truth.


Death could have chosen anyone else but it chose this man. If there was a God why did he let this happen? If there was a God maybe he let this happen. My thoughts continued to accumulate rather seamlessly. They came like unwanted ripples on the sand shore.


You should have gone home I kept scolding his departed soul. But it didn’t matter. He could have gone home if he had anyone to go home to but he didn’t. He didn't have anything more than a house so he stayed in a place he expected to be loved. In a place that brought him flowers and then built him coffins.


As I watched his lifeless body begging to be saved I couldn’t help but wonder. Would anyone know this man died? Did he matter to anyone else? Why would he matter? He was only a driver anyway. And in today’s world what was a driver but for a replaceable living thing. A random human and nothing else.


I kept wondering if he would have a celebrated funeral like everyone else. A funeral where many gathered and spoke at great length about how much of a human being he was. A funeral where the marks of his haunting memories were inscribed on everyone's skin and echoed to nature's hearing. A funeral where those who could arrange themselves into humans again could eat to his being for the last time and those who couldn't would cry rivers of tears to wash him clean into sainthood. I wondered if someone would miss his demise but I doubt if anyone did. He was only a driver.


He was a few years older than I was. Full of life and grossly underachieving. He told me he had big dreams. I believed him. He had this beautiful bicycle. It was bigger than he was. So he was what? A small man with big dreams?

 I couldn’t remember his face after that day but I remembered his bicycle. Each time I thought of him I did so with the image of a man with big dreams lying in a graveyard and a lovely bicycle lying on sand waiting for its owner. A faceless man whose dream had a face that could only be identified by him.


This man could have gone on to cure cancer. But we will never know. He could have changed the world forever. But only the grave knows. The trigger that took his life didn't know too. It was a case of a man with a dream, a pair of wings and fired bullets.


When you struggle out of sleep and wake up remember someone else prepared for that routine and couldn’t take part in it. When you have a dream and continue to sleep on them remember someone else began to work on theirs but couldn’t go further because they slept forever.


Last summer I watched a man die a death he didn’t deserve. Today he would watch me write this and maybe he would smile. I hope he does.


Listen to Aquilo -  Best of Us Go Down:

Published by Etenwa Manuel