Remember that night we meet for the very first time?
When my eyes were greeted by your sweetly sculpted silhouette
Accentuated by the lively swing of your hips and your comely voice
As you emerged from the shadows and into my life that starry September night
It was poetry in motion
Do you remember how the sun bled for you the following evening?
How a thousand petals were pasted to a mundane sky
Creating a magnificent roseate sunset just for you
And you still have the audacity to wonder why I’m so into you…
Just try to remember that weekend and you’ll know why
One of these days you’ll open your eyes
And accept that I’m not the cool guy
You always thought I was
When you do
Please remember that night we stayed up well past 1am
Doing barell rolls, flat spins, knock-downs and perfect runs
Like adrenaline driven teenagers
And it will soon dawn on you that it’s not me
But me and you that is cool
Photo credit: Annie Sinkala
How many people know this writing, where it’s located but still won’t bother to enter the premises? I’m pretty sure there’s many more who don’t know the existence of this place and wouldn’t care less, after all such things are for tourists right?
In two days we turn 52 and we’ll enjoy the public holiday and the long weekend. We’ll get some much needed rest from work and regular routine. We’ll meet up with friends, catch up on stories and as we do with every other holiday in Zambia, we’ll eat and drink.
As we celebrate let’s remember that some on the plans and strategies to ensure we attained the freedom of speech, assembly and association we’ll enjoy this weekend were formulated here and many other places across nation by ordinary Zambians. Places and faces that have faded with time.
Every shade of paper money ever used in Zambia since independence can be found here. Some of the furniture, kitchen utensils used by the Kaunda family, his children’s primary school uniform, family photos, his letter from exile and his famed Land Rover are all here and serve as a reminder of a time when our future, our rights, our hopes and aspirations were but a dream.
Even as you fight on in today’s tough times, keenly follow Zambia’s freedom trail and remember what great odds we’ve faced but still managed to rise above them. Remind yourself just how far we’ve come and how much further we have to go on this journey.
Every evening at a quarter past six, it’s light and action on Chipalo Road, the street comes alive. Waking up from its daylight slumber, the cars pick up speed, people come out to bask in a newly found sense of freedom.
The new, shiny lamp posts, standing close to the old, dead ones pour light onto a street that hasn’t seen such late night brightness for nearly 20 years, except on New Year’s Eve. The road itself was only re-laid five months ago after being overridden by potholes since the late 90’s.
For a fortnight now, when the scorching sun has set and the lights come out to play, people get out on the street to get some air. There’s tall and sort people, the old, the young and those in between. They walk in pairs, some walk alone and others in groups. Some prance back and forth as if memorising a speech, some swagger confidently, sure of themselves with every stride while others drag their feet, desperately pressing their heels against the asphalt.
Among these there are the quiet and audible ones. As you would guess the audible ones are seemingly more interesting. They talk about everything and anything from politics, what’s being served for supper and where to watch the night’s Champions League soccer match from. Some days they speak softly you can’t really make out what they’re saying, others days they’re so loud I hear them from inside the house almost as though competing for attention with the fast cruising cars.
And these cars suddenly pick up speed and fly by when the lights come on, as though powered by the street lights themselves. Perhaps in seeing the lights on, the drivers realize it’s getting late and try to rush home. Some do it do it for notoriety and for others I guess it’s a half heated attempt to be cool. Whatever pushes these motorists, they own my street, driving past each other with decreasing regularity till two in the morning when the street is deserted. By the time the sun begins to appear, the lights are off and the street slips into a light slumber with relative activity till a quarter past six in the evening.
It’s been 90 days since I last saw you and it’s fair to say that I miss you. In fact saying I miss you is failed attempt at demonstrating just how much my heart is longing to see you. Of course I appreciate and enjoy every photo and video clip you send me as well as the faulty video chats we have but to physically be in the same place as you, to be able to touch your face and hold your hand, that’s divine.
So much has happened since the last time we were together I can’t put it all in this letter but two things stand out. Firstly, I’m done with school now which means more time for you but it also means I must find a job pretty soon. Now I know there’s so many opinions people have about the Zambian job market but one thing I know is for sure is that I ‘ve never failed a thing ever since we met. I feel I can do it all with you by my side, I guess it’s like that saying; I can change the world with one hand as long as you’re holding the other one.
The second thing is that the cold is out and summer is here. You know what that means; lots of food, clowning at the zoo, the movies, the museum, long walks to nowhere and getting lost in the process, whatever we can do to paint the town red. Two more days and you’ll be here, I’m so excited, I can’t wait. We’ve done this a hundred times but seeing you get off that bus is till an event for me. Well, you better get here quick or I’ll have a head start with the food. So see you at the station in two days.
Forever & always
P.S. We need to get better sunglasses this time, ones that will last all summer