I was 15 the first time I carried a coffin.
It happened in the winter of 1987, a long time ago but only if you measure it terms of years.
It remains etched on my timeline for many a reasons.
And yes that winter was different,
cause that year for the first time in winter it rained.
That morning a friend called up who lived a few blocks away
saying that he’s on his way to pick me up.
I didn’t have a clue as to where we had to go.
He didn’t tell me until after much persuasion he said we were on our way to Mark’s house.
I assumed that Mark was taking all of his teammates out to the restaurant to celebrate his victory at the inter state championship last week.
He had won gold in the javelin throw. I lost my game at the discuss throw.
He was the only one of the athletics team who won that night,
and was selected to play at the national open games later that month.
Mark and I were friends since the age of 10. We went to the same local school.
I still remember the first time I met him,
it was at the trials for the school athletics team. He was really good from the start.
Like the rivers gushing waters we swept through the fields of competitors in our way.
In the 5 years that we competed we had victories, injuries, gracious defeats and unbeaten runs and God alone knows the amount of fun we had.
But there was one thing that we both knew, that something always held us together.
Mark always said that he wouldn’t step on a field if I wasn’t there competing along with him.
He said ‘this is my way of making our friendship last forever’
We almost had reached his place but needed to get off a few meters away
cause there were a lot of people standing in front of his house.
I asked my friend if Mark was planning on feeding the whole town.
and then he said something that rang my ears to deafness.
As I made my way through the crowd into his house,
I saw him lying there, dead and lifeless.
He was gone.
I took turns carrying the coffin on our way to the church.
I couldn’t cry that day.
I tried, but I couldn’t.
As we put him to rest in his grave,
something happened that I’d never seen before.
It began to rain.. in winter.
But it wasn’t the winter winds calming drizzle that came down on us,
it was the wailing sky’s black rain.