Last visit: November 27th the card read and I looked at the calendar to confirm its details. Today was the
27th of April all right; the set date for my half yearly medical check-ups.
7am and I was at the
gates of Blue House V.C.T centre. They were already jammed with people waiting to be let in. Soon they were open and everyone
The sight of people in pain,
their hair unkempt and greying, mucus flowing freely from their noses, and their heavy coughs greeted me as I went through
the small gate. We all picked our numbered cards and I sat next to a whizzing lady; her body frail and ashen faced.
I looked at my card, fidgeted
with it, and then lowered my head onto my hands.
a nurse called and I looked up.
‘That’s me…’ I acknowledged immediately, jumping up.
said and I followed her.
10 minutes to midday, my wristwatch
read. A heftily built man wearing a dark grey suit was seated behind a small mahogany desk filled with report cards and notepads.
He pointed a seat and I lowered myself into it.
asked while shuffling some cards.
‘Tom Kamuziwe, sir…’ I responded.
‘What troubles you…?’
‘I have no appetite nowadays and my chest hurts whenever I cough…’
He came round to my side and
said. ‘Open your mouth wide...’
The icy feel of the stethoscope
was soon on my chest as he added ‘…breathe in...’
Bronchitis…’he later intoned and shook his head. ‘…We’ll have to run another test…’
A small gizmo was inserted on my middle finger and blood dripped onto it.
‘I’m afraid you
are HIV positive.’ He later said.
I felt my stomach churn from
within and I stood up.
to be afraid of...’
‘…NOTHING TO BE
AFRAID OF?!’ I thundered, banging his desk.
He now stood up and looked
at me from under his thick glasses ‘…You’ll have to be reporting here regularly to receive your medication…’
I later walked out of his
office in a scuttle as he ranted on.
It was evening when I arrived
home. I rapped at my door for a while but after getting no response I barged in staggering and smashed my knee on the bedpost.
I tried to maintain my balance but the pain on my knee got the better of me and I sat on the bed.
My head felt heavy and I clutched
my dreadlocks. Was I a victim of the society? The Man at the V.C.T. centre had branded me unfit to live. He had said I should
read some watchtower religious magazines, suggesting salvation.
‘Watchtower my foot!!!’
I raged now.
I tried to stand up but failed.
I then picked up the candle holder and tried to replace the yet to be lit candle with incense. Everything seemed a blur. There
was too much ‘kumi kumi’ (illicit brew) circulating in my veins and the drink made my head spin.
I located the matchbox and
tried to light it and after many failed attempts I finally succeeded. The incense, now alight, filled the room in a cloud
of sweet but choking smoke and I later tried to put it out.
Whom does this god we worship
favour? I wondered. Is it the Arabs, Asians, who? And I banged the wall with my fist and that too started hurting again.
‘…Try and face
the reality…’ he had told me after showing me the gizmo.
‘What reality. That
I’m going to die?’ I whimpered.
‘I fear no one…’
I was now yelling, thumping my chest.
‘…Let him take me…’ and I tried to draw an image of Christ being crucified using
the bar soap which I’d picked up from the soap dish under the bed.
The booze in my head started
clearing and I lay on the bed.
die… I’ll finish the year… Let him take me.’ My yells had now become a sob and I cringed in my lying
A suffocating feeling came
up in my throat, ‘…oh God… oh God…’ and my words chocked as a strange yellow stuff came out
of my mouth. I had not eaten anything since morning. I rested my head on the pillow and that was the beginning of my long,
painful sleep full of medication.