I am so distraught. Even more so because I never told anyone that I am a leader. I have never raised my hands to ask people to believe in me and make me the ‘head of something’ . I never got any leadership position except one time in secondary school when they wanted to make me the bell ringer and I vehemently rejected it…
That’s not even the point. The point is that I’m distraught and I don’t know what to do with myself.
I have been staring into blank spaces since I got home today. I can still taste the London Dry sachet gin the Bike men brought and forced down my throat. When I breathe, I feel the smell of the gin travel up my nostrils. The sachet wrap itself tasted like fish. Someone who handled fish, probably handled it.
Can you tell that I’m straying away from the point? How can I even stay on the point when I’m still a wobbling mess of disbelief.
Okay, let me try to articulate:
It’s 7:46am this morning and I’m trying to get to the factory. (I want to put in some extra work today before I ask my boss for time off on Saturday).
I just alight from the bus that brought me to cement bus stop. I stand by the road where the bus dropped me, arrange the crumpled change the conductor pushed into my palms, and put it in the secret middle pouch of my bag (that’s where I keep money, else, I’ll misplace it).
I look up and I think I see her. (I’m angry now, because I’m not sure whether I did or did not see her come down from the bus) Anyway, she appears beside me by the road and adjusts her handbag. We both want to cross to the other side.
I look at her and something tells me that she’ll follow my lead to cross the road. I think to myself that that’s such a woman thing to do. (Idiot me! It was at this point I should have told her never to follow me, as I’m not a leader. Not in any way. But I didn’t. Instead I thought to myself that that was such a woman thing to do)
I crossed the first stage of the road and my suspicion was confirmed. She was following my lead. Such a woman thing to do.
We stood at the middle road divider, waiting to cross the last phase of the road. My factory was just waiting at the other side for me.
I don’t know how it happened, really. I can’t quite recall how I made to cross the road and quickly realized that I had been absent minded and had totally not considered the bike man insanely speeding down the road. But as soon as I saw him, I quickly shot back to the divider.
But it was too late for her. She was following me and she didn’t know when to stop (because she couldn’t. Because I wasn’t a good enough leader to let her know that she shouldn’t follow me).
I stand by the divider in a paralyzing state of shock. I watch as her body grows lifeless; as the crack in the tarred road slurps her blood thirstily; and the floor becomes an interim coffin for her lifeless body.
All the people have gathered now and they are beating the bike man and even his passenger. Some of them even stepping into the blood of my follower. No one is looking at me. Not yet.
When they finally look at me, I am ready to be killed. I want to be killed. If I could give my life for hers, I would. I mean, I knew I couldn’t, but I wanted them to try at least.
But they were looking at me in pity. They said I have ‘shocked’ and called out to Mama Nice opposite the road to bring me gin from her big transparent bowl of alcohol.
I taste fish and a bitter sharp taste in my mouth as they feed me with gin. I breath out and smell the gin through my nostril. They tell me I’ll be fine soon. That I should calm down. They beat the bike man some more for causing me to be in shock.
I am distraught and I don’t know what to do with myself. I am very stupid for not trying to be a leader. She is very stupid for trying to be my follower. We are both very stupid for not knowing that we switched our actual roles. For now, I can think of nothing else but follow her leading to the place where the ground has sent her blood to; the place where her spirit had left her body to; the place where I will no longer feel distraught.
*image from here