Well, we sit in the bar tonight having come to help prepare for the burial of one of our pals whom we all knew by the single letter of J. But no one really said J. It was more of Jay. Most people would not have been able to relate because in all of our phones, he had been saved as J.

“Just J”, is how he would forever introduce himself after someone asked him his name. Okay, that would be the second time because some ladies would think that he had played truant when he said he was J and they insisted that he was Jay. We had all come to get used to it. Before the night was over, J would have gone home with one of the starry-eyed women who called him Jay. But he was easy with it, as long as he did not go home alone.

Well, Jay met his death in the company of one of these starry-eyed women when he wrapped his Toyota Camry around a tree. Someone remarked that it looked a quiche and we all had to let out a nervous laughter. Well, it had been tragic and we all could not believe that the girl had survived. J had taken a few drinks at the club that evening and he was going home to “let his guest rest”, as he had put it when it happened. The drinks were maybe a bottle or twelve bottles of Heineken. No one can really tell how many they were because we were all high. But we all could trust J with a vehicle even when he was high. Only that this night was not his night at all.

So that is why we are gathered in this smoky bar tonight. It was where we all called local. Where J and us could come in and order anything we wanted without any cash exchanging hands at that instant. New barmaids instantly came to know us just by sight and after two or three days, we could talk freely with them. The pool table is where J had lost most of his money as he gambled/played with Oti, the local pool champion, who stands quietly at the back in a brown jacket looking dazed. Well, thirty shillings can accumulate to a lot of money after a short while especially when you lose up to five games a night as J had done to Oti and the local-owner. That is why the cue-stick is respectfully laid where J would place it after a game he had lost.

This is the way we would have liked to remember J but we all know that culture will not let us remember him in that way. He will go down into the earth and we will be left with just memories that to some will be worthless and to others, worthwhile.

© chiira maina (Read his blog here)