We’re at a friend’s house, we’ve attended a small party. He’s sitting across the table. A not-so-old woman comes in, greets everyone, except him. She moves towards him, as if to greet him. He says “Muraho” as he rises up to greet her. Because she heard him greet her, she just gives him her hand without even looking at him and moves past him to sit in opposite chair. She wasn’t going to greet him, she just wanted to pass to go sit. Lucky for him, no one noticed the embarrassing episode. But I did. I look at him and we both laugh.
He is in his mid 60s. He shaves his head completely bald. He’s a tall big man. He’s a news addict. He listens to the news on every radio station and watches the news on every TV channel he knows of. He also reads news online. He used to buy newspapers daily but nowadays he just reads online. He says it’s an addiction he can’t seem to shake off. Sometimes, the news upset him and he sits there arguing with the radio/TV. But he doesn’t want to miss any bit of information. When he’s not keeping up with the news, then he’s playing his music. He’s an old-school music fan. A hardcore devotee of Masabo, Muyango, Rugamba & amasimbi n’amakombe, Nyiranyamibwa, Kayirebwa. Totally old-school. I made him a selection of their music. As the songs play, one after another he gets carried away, singing along like he’ll never again listen to the songs, so beautifully written, so emotionally seductive.
He has an incredible sense of humor. There’s never a dull moment with him. He has his own way of telling stories. Every time he starts a story with “ces imbeciles…” I know it’s going to be a good story (hehe). He’s one of the funniest people I know. He makes me laugh in a way that no one else can. He has taught me how to laugh, how to laugh at others, how to laugh at myself and how to laugh at him (I’m even laughing as I’m typing this).
Look how skinny you are.
Me? No, you haven’t seen a skinnier person.
Haha. There’s no such a person. You know, one day the wind will blow you away.
Don’t worry, I carry stones in my handbag.
And he gives me this look, shakes his head and laughs.
Or when he sees my pants on the clothesline and jokes about them.
So do your legs really fit in here or it’s your arms?
And who’s shorts are these?
He looks at me, acts surprised…
I thought they were Ivan’s
(Ivan is the neighbor’s 3 years old boy).
How can I not love this man? The man who thinks my shorts are for an infant. The man who jokes telling me “sha uzi ko wanze gukura?!” He’s always teasing me about my weight and (tiny) clothes.
I love the face he makes whenever I tell him about Senderi (yes, whenever Senderi hits the news I’ve to tell him, and I get a good laugh).
Having him has probably shaped me in more ways than I’m even aware of. With him, I fear nothing. Nothing can harm me. With him, I’m protected. I always feel safe around him, I feel not even lightning can strike me when he’s with me. Hehe. To my eyes, he’s invincible. I love him for numerous reasons. He is a loving, thoughtful, supportive, faithful, and humorous man.
I come from school, tired and hungry. My eyes are almost falling into their sockets. I’m trying to fend off doziness. I look like a wilted plant. I zombie into the compound and he immediately sees my fatigue. I greet him, he looks at me and laughs. He laughs at how crappy I look. I drag myself inside (the house) and he comes after me. I drop my bag and sit at the dining table. He sets the table and brings me food. Something he doesn’t do for anyone, not even his wife. As I’m eating he asks me about my day. He wants to know every single detail (yes, he always asks about how the day went when you’ve spent it away).
He’s always listened to me. That’s a reason I love him even more. He lends an ear to my meaningless blabber. Some years back, when I was a silly and innocent girl, I was a victim of a scam. Three girls e-mailed me, at the same time. Girl 1 was in the US, told me how she was interested in me after viewing my profile *rolls eyes*, said her mother worked for the US Refugee Agency and would help me to get in the US to be with her (this last part made me very uncomfortable). Girl 2 was in Canada, told me she worked for an NGO and would help me find a job in the NGO. Both had something in common: they asked me to find 9 other people (we had to form a group of 10 people) and to pay some visa processing fee (200$ if I remember well). Whenever they mentioned the money, I would back out immediately! Hehe. Girl 3 was from Liberia. This one almost got me. She told me her parents had been killed in the war and she was in a refugee camp in Senegal. She told me that her father (who was a politician) had left her a large sum of money in a bank in the UK, but she couldn’t access the money since she was in a refugee camp. She asked me to help her leave Senegal (and move to Rwanda). Well, it was pretty simple. She emailed me the bank manager’s contacts, told me to contact him about transferring the money into an account here. Then I would use the money to help her re-locate here. I’d an aunt who was working for the UNHCR and thought I would talk to her to help the girl. See, it was simple. Haha. The most interesting part: she told me that she would give me a percentage of her money. I did the calculations and it was a whopping 500 million Rwandan francs! Whaaaat! My heart pooped its pants! I ran and told him that I was going to make him rich! I was going to buy him a car and renovate his house. And take him on a vacation (with his wife of course). He laughed and listened to my blabber. He knew it was a scam but he never said a word. He wanted me to find it out on my own. Soon enough, I did. I lost my 500M Rwf and we had a good laugh.
I’ve realized that I’m a really hard person to get to know. And very few people know that. I’m shy and I don’t talk much. But he knows me. He knows that I’m a quiet girl. He knows that when I get emotional, I turn into jelly and can’t talk (yeah, I’ve a hard time making words come out of my mouth). I communicate via messages/writing letters. Few times I’ve wrote him letters (when something’s troubling me) and he’s read all of them, no matter how long they were. And he still keeps them. Then he comes and talks to me about the matter in question and we solve it.
Through good or bad, he’s stood by me and still does. He makes me feel loved, no matter what. He is the someone-you-can-turn-to type. Even through my darkest hours, at my very worst (2011) he still loves me. He’s the one man whose love I’ve never doubted, not even a single second of my life.
He isn’t verbal, neither am I. He doesn’t tell me he loves me and I’ve never told him so. I know he loves me simply because he does. I just know and he knows too. And that’s it. I feel the love and care. That’s the way we do our thing. The emotions cannot be accurately described by words. There’s a connection. A bond deeper than visible to one’s eyes.
I couldn’t have asked for better. He’s not perfect (who is?) and he has his faults, his struggles, and his weaknesses. But I fail to see anything about him that isn’t perfect. If asked to choose, I would choose him over and over again.
He is one of my weakest spots. He makes me vulnerable. I thank God that he’s alive but I’m afraid of the day he’ll die. I don’t want him to suffer at all. Death is inevitable, but thinking that one day he’ll pass on sends shivers down my spine. It freezes me in paralyzing fear. Fear of losing the man who sincerely loves me. Fear of losing my best friend. Fear of losing this unmatched unconditional love. Fear of living without him. I dread the day he’ll break my heart. I hope he lives long enough to buy him that car.
I’ll never cease to love him even if he becomes mentally incapable of recognizing me tomorrow. Nothing ever will stop me. Not even death.
I’m thankful to God today for giving me the father that He did.
Enough said. Happy Father’s Day, Bayijahe.