This is the day

Finally it’s happening to me!” The alarm goes off 5.30 in the morning sharp. You slam it shut. “Hey, I have been up like for hours now. You’re the one who is late!” Your day has come. So you swing yourself off the bed and do a little dance. This is the day. You open the window and the smell of raw sewage is like aroma from a bakery. You don’t even mind if it’s flowing across your gate or right in front of your door. This is the day. You see a man sprinting down the street, lunch box in hand, jacket flapping and you smile at this ‘part of the morning scenery’ drama. An early bird and that’s what most people are in your suburb. They have to be there like 6 or 6.30. You can actually hear the cry in the rhythm of all the noise, “Make straight their way!” Then they will come like 8.30, from the leafy, quiet and smarter suburbs, driving their posh cars and the first thing they ask for is a cup of coffee or tea. The early birds scratch and fret just to greet them. You go to the kitchen section of your room switching on your hot plate to boil some water but a second glance through the window tells you there is no one in the toilet/bathroom, you pick up your towel and soap and rush out. You don’t mind a cold shower at all. This is the day. You know there are about ten people who have to be out by 7 and they all need to use the same shower/toilet. Here you are actually leaving out the other nine or so people who are staying at home but might want to use the toilet just as early. You are not bothered at all when you find the bathroom not that clean. You sing in the shower, exactly what happy people do. Of course you are happy, all you need to do is be in town by 8 and you are on your way out of this place. You come back and take your time dressing up. You put on some nice music and sing along, off tune but for you, today, everything is good. For the umpteenth time you check the contents of your bag, passport, CV, breakdown of your novel, the diskette with the actual novel and the other usual junk. You are also an early bird but for today work can hang. Of course you were sick, that is if you ever need to explain. This is the day. The person you are to see said you are a great writer. Of course that’s what you are. You have always been, the local publishers are just too narrow minded to see it. He is going to market you abroad and in no time you will get published. In fact, he is leaving the country today but first a meeting with you is very important. He has to be able to say something about you as a person when he meets with publishers. You feel very important. If only you had a little bit of cash you would have wanted to get there in style, a cab or better still driven by a friend. You don’t have many friends though and for the few that you have none of them own even a bicycle. Not to worry though because very soon people will be falling all over the place just to be seen with you. You have been telling this tale in your heart for days and it never fails to send your heart galloping. Already you are sweating in the palms as you lock up your door. This is the day. Two women gossiping by the roadside greet you and you mumble something back. You struggle to place them. You catch the subject of their talk though, this is one reason you will gladly leave this place, landlords and cleaning duties. You get to the bus stop and there are more than a hundred people already waiting. You glance at your watch. There is no cause for alarm. You go back to the last song you have been listening to. The place is like a zoo and you hum softly. This is the day and you are just happy. Occasionally a bus comes but the unbelievable tout shouts, “We’re not taking any passengers!” A few metres down the road they stop to pick some pretty girls. On another day you could have shouted something obscene but not today. You smile. This is the day. At about 7, you decide to move to the nearest junction, to increase the probability, you reckon. You are not the only one, you move en masse. There is still no reason for you to panic. You still have an hour to kill. You laugh the loudest when two heavy women crowd out a thin guy landing him in mud. It doesn’t matter that you also wanted to get into the same car, but it took you some seconds to realize that you were pulling at a locked door while the car was filling up through the other! 7.30 and you are beginning to panic. A truck stops a few metres from where you are and you join the rush. The driver is on the phone. No questions, no pleasantries, you pile up the truck. The call takes another five minutes but you are very patient. You wait for him to finish his call. He does and then takes off in the direction of the city without a word. You sigh a sigh of relief and join in the topics making the rounds, soccer, politics, and other ghetto gossip. Down the road the driver branches off the city highway and now you are all interested in talking to him. “Ah, where is he going?” “Maybe he needs to pick something.” “We are late.” “People never give a damn about us.” The driver is on the phone again and this time he cuts the engine and steps out. “Blazo, we’re late!” One guy gathers the courage to remind him. “What’s that got to do with me?” He asks finishing his call. “We’re going to the city.” You also make your contribution. You realize how stupid your statement is before he even answers you. “So?” You giggle. Two guys in the front disembark and you are thinking maybe they were aware but they too are shaking their heads and smiling. The driver is already walking away again talking on the phone. You glance at your watch and another giggle. This turns into a laugh and the others join you. You laugh until your eyes water. You know in those tears there is self pity, frustration, helplessness, despair and many more things you don’t have names for. Folks, welcome to my world.

March 2006
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