Most times when I am done with running around town chasing that deal, that meeting, that person, that payment, that and that; I tend to sit down at any pavement or even a bench (benches are rare in this Musisi city except at bus stops) and recap my day, watch people rushing to do their own things.
There was this one time I found an empty bench on Kampala Road below the beautiful gardens of Constitutional Square. I sat myself down and watched the people move. Taxis and buses fighting for parking space, children coming from school walking and shouting. The place was too busy but I found some sort of calmness in the scenery. There was a kind of warmness in the wind that kept on blowing from the tree above near the public toilet.
It was a beautiful scene. It made me forget that I had proposals and reports to finish. That my phone had no battery, and that I needed to get home. Or even that next to me was a public toilet that had its own odor mixing with the cool air. My focus was on the people moving that had needs, worries, and saddens, smiling faces and joys. These I only saw when I focused on looking into their eyes and watched their faces.
There was this ‘mad’ man who passed by, dressed in polythene bags; singing Eddy Kenzo’s famous Sitya Loss – oh this BET awards winner has a concert coming up soon so you better be ready for him. He looked so happy and comfortable in his outfit even if it did not look so from where I was. He had shoes but mismatching ones; and as he sang, he pausedmid-stride and removed them.
To some extent I wished I was him, no one was judging him; he could randomly chase someone, sit in the middle of the road, throw stones to rushing cars, shout and sing with no care in the world. He had no proposals to write, he had no worries about traffic, rent, food or clothing. He was a free man. He was the everyday Ultron, ‘no strings on him’.
As I watched him walk away with envy in my eyes, I saw a set of pupils walking directly to me. They sat next to me on the bench. They were pupils from Nakasero Primary School as per their green checked dresses. They looked tired and bored. They were not talking. They were just – there – like me. Looking at people pass and, I think, waiting for a bus.
I watched them for some time and my mind again started to wonder how it was for me in those gone years. How stubborn I was, how heavy my backpack was, the homework that I had to do before I went to bed. How late I always got home and how being an adult was all I looked forward to. I wondered if adulthood was on these young children’s minds too as it was on mine, then.
I wished they knew how being a child is such a blessing. How not having so many worries but just homework is a good thing. How not being a celeb is a good thing. How not dressing like Rihanna is notsuch a bad thing. How being a virgin is also a good thing. How not having a boyfriend in primary is also a good thing. I wished they knew that life could be cruel most times and you had to take the happy moments and keep them at heart.
My reality was called back when one of the six – wonder how we all fit on that bench –bid her friends good bye and entered a taxi to Banda. One called out to her with a reminder to bring her sweater the next day. This is when I realized I had wondered so far deep into my thoughts that I needed to find a taxi and head home to my solitude.
ION the Ultimate DogShowUg is on this Sunday as the first ever Kampala Art Auction