The bouncer’s hands securely gripped him under his arm pits, his wobbly legs dangling weakly like a scarecrow’s, barely holding his sneaker covered feet leaving a double trail of crooked lines on the dusty cemented floor. He is carelessly thrown by the busy road side, dangerously close to the gathering Monday morning traffic. The crowd on the bar shade is a mixture of drunk patrons, skimpily dressed waiters red eyed and heavy with sleep from the long night of attending to tanked-up guzzlers. Right by the entrance, wheel barrow fruit vendors slowly offload their delicate merchandise, a colorful mixture of watermelons, papaya, and pineapples. This is a familiar scene I’ve watched daily as this late closing bar lies along my children’s route to school. Every day I pass by and watch drunkards being thrown out of this bar in an effort to close the bar before full sunrise and the arriving daylight that seems to threaten them with exposure of their nocturnal evil deeds. Today is different however, am close enough to take in the whole scene. It’s one of those mornings where I couldn’t beat the 6:30 home set off, so am always forced to use the boda-boda alternative to beat the morning traffic. After the drop off, I decide to walk from school to the food market as it’s in the same neighborhood as my children’ s school, hence my present proximity to the eventful bar.
I reach the bar spot at the same moment a sloshed dude is being dumped outside. I slow down to behold the poor soul as he gets dragged out of the semi-dark bar, through the crowded shade, then right outside on to the tarmac borderline. I mumble my usual short spontaneous and grief filled intercessory prayer in such unfortunate circumstances, ‘reminding’ God that no matter this lost soul’s story, he is not out of reach of his beautiful saving grace. I am forced to slow down and linger a bit as I take in the whole scene. The previous night’s company on the bar shade makes fun of him and swear how they can never stoop to his level (all seem close to their associate’s state judging by their ‘heights’), the waiters join in the mockery yet they all seem to have helped themselves with a little from the bar stock as they stand indifferently staring with tipsy half grins. Among the crowd stands a sober older lady (probably the owner) calmly giving instructions like a squad captain to the bouncer dragging the drunkard, urging him not to dump him too close to the road for his safety. But none in the crowd is concerned or bothered, it all seems a familiar scene, an every morning ritual where over drank patrons are dumped on the road side so the bar can close on ‘time.’
The zonked out fellow hasn’t moved an inch, he lies eyes closed facing up the grey cloudy morning sky (invisible to him) passed out or dead asleep, mouth half open, with liquor infested saliva drooling from both sides of his mouth ends. He’s draped in a fancy now dirty polo t-shirt, casual jeans with a big crude circular parch of almost drying urine and tennis sneakers which all probably draped a descent lad before this blotto experience. I can’t help imagining him enter the bar a few hours back; all clean and kempt, out to have a good time. One beer after another, a scotch here and there. The waiters keep the booze flowing, and the wallet isn’t complaining: the liquor is flowing and he can afford it. He begins to feel woozy, but the urge is still there, he’s still “thirsty”, the smiling know better bar girls keep him well watered as long as long as their hand s are well oiled. Things begin to get hazy, he relocates to a lower seat for stability and comfort in the corner sofas off the high counter stools. The smiles from the girls start fading, the feigned politeness is dropped and they start demanding he orders with cash, to which he subconsciously obliges. By the first morning light, the bar is a frenzy of a mixture of alcoholics and wasted patrons trying to take the last gulp in an effort to drown their sorrows in a sea of forgetfulness all cheered up by the frustrated older men fighting to silence their demons that constantly remind them of their broken old dreams and long gone youthful energy. Our patron is dead asleep in a dark corner totally unaware of the happenings of the world around him. He will be gathered up and thrown out shortly.
The loud honking of taxis and their loud touts shove me back to the present, I break myself away from the gloomy scene with my ever defiant mind fighting to pick a take away tale of reflection especially from the passed out drunkard. “What about the invisible drunkards?” my distorted cognizance begins. It takes me awhile to decide what that even means, more so where this forming mental conversation will lead me. So I switch into my free fall gear (let the thoughts flow realm).
She’s young and beautiful, her apparels are sharp and carefully chosen according to occasion, her make-up is light and flawless. She has a sharp eye for figures and numbers, they all come easy as long as she’s careful, she easily meets her targets, so she slowly but surely climbs the corporate ladder. Remove that veil though and she’s no different from our roadside drunkard, only that her ‘heights’ are invisible, she’s a spiritual drunkard. If you come closer to her life you can smell the strong stench of guilt she’s always drunk on. Don’t let its lack of odor fool you. It might not smell on her breath, but sniff her soul hard enough and the stench is deafening. It was from long time ago, she thought time would scrub it off. How wrong she was! The scream is always loud and clear, the verdict in the court room of her conscience; murderer! Murderer! Murderer! It gets worse when she goes for baby showers, the ones she can’t find enough excuses to miss, her wounds get pricked crudely all over again. If only she could turn back the years, she could face her father, she sure enough now knows he would have forgiven her for her moment of relapse in judgment. He could have stood by her and they wither the early arrival of the unplanned grandchild. She could have raised the child even if it meant her doing it single handedly and still finish her studies. Giving in to his charms and lies was a mistake, but the child wasn’t. Instead she gave in to fear and faced the weaker one, her unborn child. She forced him out, the doctor said he couldn’t tell at that stage what sex it was, but she is almost sure it would have been a boy, her boy. Denied to see the light of day, denied a chance at life, silenced before he could peak. Now she pays the price with excruciating guilt. Now she’s an invisible drunkard, drunk with indescribable remorse. But who will dump her at the foot of the cross, where her redemption lies, and her salvation awaits. Where the savior’s blood will wash her as white as snow? Who is saying a silent prayer for her? Who will explain to her that only the nail scarred hands will dig her out of her deep grave and stand her on the rock of ages?
It all started with just one sensual movie on a boredom filled weekend, but slowly he got hooked. Other motion pictures seized to be interesting. Then he enthused to hardcore pornography, until few could give him the thrill he yearned. He can’t seem to find the one that takes him to the heights he now craves. He’s entrapped in this invisible jail. But he keeps drinking in its lewdness anyway, at least a short pleasure is better than none he consoles himself. As if that was not dark enough, along came masturbation, pornography threw him in a jail, then masturbation, solitary confinement, it slowly eats away any chance of him ever having a meaningful relationship to the one he’s espoused to marry. He mutilates himself concealed from the rest of the world but not his own conscience. The guilt always immediately comes after the climax of his twisted self-indulgence. Is there any chance of someone dropping him by the road to Jericho, where a good Samaritan will pick him and take him to the inn of the one who nailed this curse on a tree, the one in who the remedy for his vileness lies. Not only for this shame but the salvation of his very soul, a new life to be given. A power to break the chains that have him securely in this dunkardness.
He’s in his midlife and he’s finally at the top; Family shelter complete and fully furnished, up country home, near completion, business is growing and booming. He can now afford vacations on post card destinations with family tagging along to complete the fairytale. Wife seems happy, at least most times, well provided for to the last detail of her whims, she’s not complaining, or so he thinks. Kids, they are a jolly bunch, international school, toys, too many to count, high tech crystal clear tabs for their latest video games and favorite cartoons, the TV is slim and wide full access, no limits. But most absurd, should I say, they are all drunkards. So drunk waiting for someone to individually drag each and dump them at the seat of grace where alone can they find mercy before all sobriety is lost. Beginning with the youngest to the man of the house. He’s a grieving helpless man stuck in the mud of midlife crisis. No matter how many ‘toys of the latest car he buys, they can’t feel this void in his soul. No matter how many vacations he takes and drags family along, the emptiness glares at him regardless of location. And her, oh dear; She’s the envy of her peers, she’s mastered the game of keeping up appearances. Her well set of ivory teeth do a good job at hiding her sad smile. And the dry chuckle in her laugh? Her charm and beauty easily conceals that. But if only those these well-meaning friends knew the heaviness and ache in her heart she has to carry from morning to sunset, none can carry it through a single day, the secret other life. The empty bed for most of the days, when she has to wait for the car honk and release a sign of temporal relief. At least he’s home safe, she reasons, now she has to deal with his maniac temper when he’s around the house. She’s slowly getting sucked into his misery, she’s slowly beginning to give up on hope for things getting better. She herself has to be away with her girls sometimes to escape the whole madness and also keep herself away from infecting the kids. I guess it’s true of what one wise soul said, “It’s not health that is infectious, its disease that is. You can’t pass on good health to somebody, you can only pass on disease. “ She’s tired of venting frustrations to her poor children herself. She knows they can see through her pain and they can hear her cry sometimes. Simple requests from these cute souls nag her, and when they persist she mutates into some alien angry creature they’ve never seen. They are scared of her now. They miss her but are secretly relieved when she’s also away. The TV and the Tabs have been their only true friends, but they are no longer strong enough to numb their loneliness. They just wish daddy and mummy could all be home and be normal parents, even if it’s for a short time. Not the weekends where they are bribed with mall trips and ice-cream treats but no real connection time, no real talks where they can tell them their fears. They just want daddy to sit down and talk to them and hear of all these questions they have, and all the stories of their latest discoveries. And mummy to just hold them and not scream. If only they knew how much they…………”fresh beans madam, fresh beans and peas, come madam, come”…..…….How did I reach the market!!??