Stop Chasing People’s Shadows …

Some people will not amount to anything in life. Some people’s lives will have very little impact on others. Some people’s obituaries will be a few sentences long. Some people will disappear into memory sooner than the dust had settled on their coffins.

When you wake up in the morning, you get out of bed with an intent. An intent at times clear, other times solid but most times vague. You wake up to a whole cacophony of things to do, places to go and, well…things to be, like this or that, be like him or her. Somewhere in between all this, there’s an imaginary person with a clipboard, ticking boxes, making notes. After all the doing and the being, an evaluation is made. This imaginary person, after much deliberation, has decided that you are a failure, or you are a success, give or take a few box ticks.

You know this person right? Many names, society, peers, media, MJ saw him in the mirror. Most times we accept the outcome of this ‘evaluation’, even if it is reluctantly so, but nonetheless, we accept. We rarely ask who came up with so boxes for ticking. Who decided on the form? Tick for a job, tick for a ride, tick for holding hands in the mall and forehead kisses. Tick for insomnia, it’s cool, right? Crosses for falling. Crosses for things not turning out the way you planned. Crosses for hurting. Crosses for not knowing what to do.

Dope crib with a boom gate, a two-door beast with the roof gone, ivory white ceramic tiles that echo. Every night, the front door keys rattle and these tiles, they echo a single pair of red bottom heels. Kitchen full 10 percented doggie bags. Love doesn’t live here. Some people’s lives will have very little impact on others. We will forget you.

30yrs old packing shelves watching your peers pack trollies. You tried your best but amongst the woop woops and shouts, all squatted around the newspaper scanning matric results, your name didn’t show up. Maybe it’s a misprint. No, it wasn’t and now you are taking orders from your high school crush and she tips you 10%. Can you please doggie bag it, thanks. Some people will not amount to anything.

The heels are off, mascara is moist, lipstick is staining a glass of merlot and a phone call from mom, “thank you, mntwanami. For everything you have done for me and the family. You are truly a blessing. In spite of everything you are going through, I love you. God loves you. Yezwa, mntwanami?

Your shift is over and you till up your 10%’s, chuck the apron and grab doggie bag. Sardined into a taxi, way past after dark. Get home late. Crack the door open and two tiny eyes start glowing when they see you. Two tiny arms squeeze your neck like their life depended on it. A warm smile says, “welcome home, s’thandwa sam. Here’s your food.”

God’s sun shines on us all, stop chasing other people’s shadows.

Photographer: Jeff Rikhotso