was the smile of the man with wonderful eyebrows on a hard Friday, and Suspicious Minds by Candi Staton. There
was the drive home, the strength of a holy book, and the story of a dream
discovered, rolling in my tongue. There was the heaven in that café, right
about 9pm a month ago. There was the watchman who likes holding hands, and there were bananas and apples and, and, then there was also Lamu. There was Lamu in the breathing,
in the freedom, in the stone and sand and sand and stone, in the mornings of
passion-pineapple juice and a book on the roof, in the late nights, in the
writing and in the people and in the water and in the peace, in the dreadlocked
and turbaned artists, in the history and the story. In the beauty I am scared
to taint by writing.
There was Dar es Salaam. There was Dar es Salaam in the release, in the choosing life, in the trees I had never seen, in the joy, splendour of family, in the realization of beauty, in East Africa on the beach. There was Dar in the taste of Swahili, in the mshikaki, in the makuti-roofed bars.
Then there was the pain of a memory, and the dry-eyed staring at scars. There was the coming to terms with insecurity, and the unshakable, all-consuming irrationality of something like mental disease. There was the decision to face the past and agree that it is what it is, and that I have been gladly loosed from shackles I had seen with the wrong eyes.
And so I had my umpteenth awakening. I write about waking up to life, always, in one way or another, because this is what I am always doing, this is the lens through which I always end up looking at life; as a brilliant, slow, unfolding, that kisses you good morning as soon as you think you have known the whole day that is life. That there is always space for more, that beauty can always acquire a new, even deeper, more thrilling meaning. That life will surprise us in more beautiful ways than we might ever expect. There was life in the letting go and opening up. Gut-wrenching sadness, I have found, is often a necessary precursor to the most profound joy, and especially if you find yourself, silent, in Lamu.