By Wanja Kavengi
You go to the YouTube App on your phone and look for Jimmy Gait’s cover of Adele’s Hello. You have seen everyone angrily frothing at the corners of their mouths and you want to understand the horror behind their emotions before telling them, “Maybe you are just overreacting.”
You click play
As the song begins, as the first sounds of instrumentation escape the speaker, you’re alert. You hold your breath because breathing will distract you and you are a loud breather. You furrow your brows. You peer intently at a wall or a piece of furniture. Or maybe your head is quizzically tilted aloft so you are staring intensely at the ceiling. Your aural receptors are twitching attentively. The hand holding your phone is resting on your lap, your thumb absentmindedly hovering over the screen.
Just as you hear a voice, a call comes in. Someone is calling you. You are in the middle of a very important experience, and someone has the nasty audacity to call you. You contemplate letting the phone ring without answering, but this is your mother. You answer. Before she can say anything, you tell her that you are in the middle of something urgent and you would call her back, then hang up.
You sigh. You hate being interrupted. So you click play again and hold your breath as you sit still, staring at a wall or piece of furniture or ceiling.
You hear “Jimmy Gaaaait” and your pupils move to stare at another spot on the wall, or the piece of furniture, or the ceiling. You hear “make it or maaake it” and your pupils move to stare at the previous spot. Then you hear some gibberish. You blink. You click pause. You stand up and start looking for your earphones. You cannot afford to not hear a single word. Your earphones are not where you last put them. You can’t find them. You swear that you will murder your sister, or your brother, because you are sure they took the earphones without letting you know. Then you see them on the chair. You were sitting on them. You sit down and plug them in the phone and then your ears. You restart the song and proceed to listen keenly. But it is still gibberish that you hear after “make it or maaake it”.
Then the singer starts belting his heart out.
You narrow your eyes. You don’t get it. You hold your chin in confusion as the song progresses. You don’t understand. You increase the volume and slightly lean forward. You turn your head to the side and stare at something, your eyes seeking answers.
Then you get to the chorus and you choke on your tongue as you quickly look at your phone. What you are hearing is something you had not prepared for. It is something no one warned you about. As you hear “Hello from the other siiiiiide” you see horrid images flashing before your eyes. You see a man in a recording studio, in a booth, being violently strangled by a strangler. But he is resilIent. He HAS to sing. You see this man with tonsils. His inflamed throat is too swollen that air cannot pass through, especially through the mouth. But he is resilient. He HAS to sing. He is not a give-upper.
You shut your eyes tightly and open them. Your throat is dry and you can feel your lips cracking. You feel like you are in the Kalahari, about to succumb to dehydration. You are trembling. You pinch the bridge of your nose and sniff. You want to unplug the earphones and save your life. It is not a cover. It is a corruption of the song. A corruption as bad as the Eurobond stuff going on. Actually, it’s worse because at least you don’t know what the hell Eurobond is.
But you are a good person. So you decide to give Jimmy Gait a second chance because you believe in second chances. You decide to give him a chance to change, a chance to make things right, a chance to make your relationship work. You decide to forgive him; we all make mistakes anyway. Kuteleza sio kuanguka. Maybe the first verse and the chorus was just a joke. So you put everything behind you. You put all the pain, hurt and disappointment behind you and move on to the second verse, with so much hope and anticipation.
And then it begins. Again.
7 seconds later, you unplug the earphones as you fight tears from betraying how you truly feel about the traumatising ordeal you’ve just underwent. You want a hard drink. And someone on whom to vent.
As you hold poison in your hand, you sigh deeply and reflect on the bad decision you made; to look for the song. And the even worse decision of giving the singer a second chance only for him to blow it up like your feelings have never mattered. Like your heart is made of concrete
“Never again,” you say tearfully as you ingest the poison.
Listen to the song HERE