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Days of Summer by Nasibu Mwanukuzi


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Days of Summer by Nasibu Mwanukuzi

  1. 1. DAYS OF SUMMER byNasibuMwanukuzi The sun had already risen. Its light filtered through the half opened window and shone on my sticky eyes as I struggled to get out of bed. I stood up and stretched myself to scare the night’s spirits away, but my bones made some cracking noises and I shuddered. There was a red chair standing closer to the bed and I leaned on it as I could not hold my balance properly. The radio was still on, filling the room with the voice of the announcer who was reading a report on the weather enthusiastically. He was saying that there was going to be sun throughout the day, and the sky was going to be something like clear blue. The radio had been on like that for the whole night as I lay deeply asleep, engulfed in a long dream that was impossible to reconstruct. For a split moment I visualized death. The stealthy hands of death were gripping in. They were getting closer and closer around my neck and I felt nausea. My stomach was revolting. I tried to pull myself together and walk to the wash basin that was on the other side of my tiny room. I grabbed a glass of water that was half full and gulped the water down my throat. Then I let the water run from the tap for a while to get colder before I dipped my head to cool down my brain. I could hear the announcer adding that there was going to be light breeze and the ocean would be calm for the most part of the day. Outside, in the trees, the birds were singing in between the maddening sound of trams and cars that were passing in the streets below. People going to work! I thought in a flash. Then slowly, as if coming out of a trance, the thoughts of a new day came to my mind. A day that lay in ambush and which could also bring death along. An apocalypse.Death in the streets where nobody cared, because nobody seemed to know anybody and yet everybody seemed to have walked on.These streets of perfect silence whose magnitude could be measured only by death itself. Still wet in my head I retraced my steps to the bed and sat down. The bed creaked and I threw the old pink bedcover and watched it fall slowly down on the floor. By now the birds were chirping even louder, and I could faintly hear a voice of a woman calling for her child. I looked out through the window. The sky was light blue with patches of white clouds that were moving slowly. The red brick chimney was there, as always. Its dilapidated walls were standing taller than the rest of the buildings around. The chimney was clearly visible against the blue sky. It was like a silent monument that distinguished itself from its environment. Beyond it I saw a green hill with what looked like a camping site situated on top. On the western side of the hill there was a row of white wooden houses with red roof tops. The houses were partly hidden behind pine trees. From the fifth floor where my room was, I could see most parts of the town with its multitude of railway lines, which seemed to be crossing each other chaotically. It was a busy morning at the station. There was a train shunting and one of the workers was directing the train driver. The worker, who had blue overalls and a red cap,was carrying a yellow flag which he was waving to the train driver. On his right hand he was firmly holding an iron bar, which from a distance looked like a weapon that could kill anybody with an instant stroke. I could watch him through the window and follow his movements. The old flat in which I was staying was only a stone throw away from the train station. The chimney was not giving out any smoke .It was a Saturday and the coffee factory was closed. Every Wednesdays and Fridays the chimney belched out a grey smoke that was acrid in smell. The smoke would hang lazily above the neighborhood for the whole day, adding a chilly ingredient to the whole scenario. Then suddenly, all of a sudden and without warning, everything turned sad. The man with the yellow flag looked older, grey and sad. The pine trees that covered the view of the white houses looked sad and desolate. The trains that were standing at the station looked like motorized coffins. The small crowd of passengers that were standing silently looked long dead that there was no use trying to bring them back to life again, and I retreated to the kitchen, which was empty, to think deeply and in peace, about all the different attitudes towards death.