The Room

The room was well lit with a single round table, with two chairs opposite from each other. The walls were plain white and had nothing particularly interesting about them apart from a small window on the opposite side of the room. From where he was standing he couldn’t make out the landscape. The sun was affirming its radiant assertiveness shining bright orange but he couldn’t tell if it was sun rise or sun set. His adrenaline pumped heart started beating faster and faster with every breath and his sweaty palms closed in a fist ready to take flight or fight. Not knowing where he was and how he got there did not scare him; it was the two men who were seated across each other on the single table that stroke the fear of death into him.

The two gentlemen either didn’t seem to notice him or just completely ignored him. They both looked somewhat familiar but with the sun in his eyes, he couldn’t quite make out their faces. He tried to block out the sun using his hands and only then did it dawn on him why the two men couldn’t see him. It was because he wasn’t there. He could see neither his own hands nor his legs but he could still feel his body. He tried to walk but couldn’t move because he had no legs,though he could still feel his legs. His lips moved but no words came out as he tried to say “help me, please help me!” It felt like a dream but it wasn’t a dream. He had full control over his thoughts and actions but neither his body nor his presence seemed to exist in this place.

He began to question his sanity as he scanned the room, as if to find something that would make sense of this situation and that’s when it hit him; the room had no doors.
The gentleman seated on the left side of the window was exceptionally well dressed and groomed. His suit looked like something a lawyer would wear to a settle a court case that would make his career. You could tell it was tailor made for his physique as it captured every curve and angle on his muscular, well toned body. His posture was perfect and his gaze was strong. It had a perfect combination of authority and compassion that was heavily complimented with the aura of confidence he exhumed that would put even the greatest speech by Obama to shame. The gentleman on the other side of the table was literally quite the opposite. His posture was slouchy, his shirt was a tad oversize and did a terrible job hiding his pot belly and sweaty arm pits. He looked like the sort of person you would consciously avoid talking to if you were invited to a Sunday barbecue. His patchy beard was seriously unattractive and his gaze seemed lazy and weak. The sad part was that he didn’t seem bothered by how badly he portrayed himself.

As his mind adjusted to the peculiarity of the situation, the room began to come into focus as his eyes adjusted to the direct sunlight. He began to notice some surprising similarities between the two men. Although they were both seated, they were the same height and resembled each other; he assumed that they must have been brothers although the well dressed one looked about ten years younger. From the muffled conversation between the two men, he could tell that even their voices were almost the same. But what where they doing here and what exactly was this place? The series of rhetoric’s coursing through his mind made him feel dizzy. He tried to remember the last thing before this place but he only got a few glimpses due to the nausea. After a few deep breaths his mind started to concentrate and he began to remember…….

It was just before 6 pm and he was one of the last people to walk out of the office. A few of his colleagues were going to a nearby bar to have celebratory drinks for surviving another week at their terrible job. None of them really liked working there although the pay was decent. Every working moment they would always find something new to hate about their job; annoying clients, poor leadership, incompetent subordinates…. , the list was endless. Today was different from all the other Fridays. He had had a particular terrible week being yelled at by clients for non existent system errors and his employers threatening him with unemployment from the above mentioned customer complaints. All he wanted to do was go home, watch a random TV show and hopefully not get insomnia like the previous couple of nights. He bid his friends farewell and proceeded to the bus stop but before he could continue with the memory something distracted him.

The two men had moved from having a civilised discussion and were now in a full blown argument. The slouchy one was on his feet, fists clenched, with a devilish look across his face and was about to jump the other fellow. The well dressed man remained blissfully calm as the other fellow hailed insults at him. When the chain of insults finally came to a halt, the suit simply responded in the coolest, calmest and collected tone, “How many promises have you broken? How many times have you said how you wish you knew? How many times have you postponed and ended up never even doing it? If you are looking for someone to blame, look no further than a mirror”.

Nothing that was going on made any sense to him. He decided to focus on trying to remember how he got here. His mind drifted back to standing at the bus stage replying to and ignoring WhatsApp messages. He got onto a bus after arguing and negotiating the bus fare to town and found a seat at the back next to the most attractive young lady. He was very shy around such women and was praying and hoping she didn’t notice how nervous he was. He wouldn’t forgive himself if he didn’t at least try and get her phone number. On the other hand, the last thing he wanted was to come off as some sleazy douche, an honorary member of team mafisi. He pondered on something smart and clever that would capture both her curiosity and her attention. But unfortunately, what got her attention was the screaming and the screeching of brake pedals.

In an instance he was back in the room even more scared than he was before because everything was starting to make sense. He glanced over at the two men as they both stared back at him. They had known he was there all along drifting in and out of consciousness. Suit gave him the most sympathetic look, as if to tell him that everything would be okay as he smiled revealing perfect pearl white teeth and an unmistakable scar above the upper lip. On the other side of the table Slouchy gave him a death stare as if blaming him for all that had happen and was to happen. The scar on slouchy’s face was on the same spot as Suit’s but appeared at lot worse; or perhaps it was just that everything about him just looked like it had been dragged through the gates of hell. He touched his face to feel the same scar as the two men. He recalled having an accident as a child while riding his bike. His scar had never truly healed. He glanced over at the two men with tears cascading down his face. He was dying and this was the day the person he had been met the person he had wanted to become..

By Peter Maina


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