Friday, May 25, 2018

He celebrates his birthday daily


By Jackson Biko

The other day my friend Paul and I were at a bar talking about a friend of ours called Silas. He wasn’t even our friend; he was our friend’s last born, which means he was never really our friend.

Then we all grew up and we all became friends because after a certain age it doesn’t matter how much older you are. Then he fell sick and died 24 hours later.

It was freaky; he went to bed and never woke up again. Meningitis, apparently. He died very young – in his early 30s. But what a character, what charisma, what presence.

Even in childhood he had that thing about him. Everybody was drawn towards him, men and women. You wanted to know him. You wanted to talk to him longer. Women adored him. They flocked to him, sat at his feet, hung onto his words, hung onto his coat-tails and they would do anything for him.

And with him. It was amazing. We were reminiscing about him because there was a guy seated at the table next to us who had a small harem of striking women with him.

And they didn’t look like his sisters. Granted, it’s not uncommon to have many women at a man’s table but the energy at that table leaned towards him, like a centrifugal force.

He also had that energy of t There are chaps like that, who are born with that magnetism. They could go to a party not knowing one single person but at the end, everybody would know him. My university roommate was like that. Our room was a revolving door of women, most of them very beautiful, and if they were not beautiful they were very smart. At first I thought, how does he do it because he doesn’t even have any money like the rest of us?

We lived in a squat hovel that you couldn’t swing a cat in. He didn’t even have a bed! He slept on a mattress from the floor. Yet these beauties would come and spend the night on that floor! Then come back again! It didn’t take me long to figure out that it was his charisma, the ease with which he spoke to anyone regardless of who they were. He never judged anyone. He would flatter you, which meant you always were happy to see him. He also had an abundant, generous heart. Whatever he had, we would all share (money, not women). And I also noticed that because of his charisma the guys who had tons of cash but who couldn’t string a sentence to save their lives became his friends so as to get the crumbs that fell off his table, so to speak.

Although Silas was the quiet guy and my roomie was the loud guy who slapped backs, there was a third guy who had a different kind of charisma.

He used to play the guitar. Quiet guy, mostly. You would hardly hear his voice, unlike my former roommate who had a big laugh, always worked the room and was always at the centre of attraction. This one was a leopard; he hated attention. He walked the shadows with paws of cotton, never drawing attention to himself. You could be at a house party and then suddenly realise that the crowd in the house had thinned considerably. Going outside, in the backyard, you would find him playing a guitar surrounded by people holding their drinks. He was the type of guy that men would tell, “What’s your number, boss? Let’s do something.” These are the same guys who you will lend money again even though they haven’t paid the first debt. The guys who get business not because they can get the job done, but because they look like they can get the job done.

The same guys who somehow can get a woman to pay their rent. Or take a loan for them to start a business. Or leave all their friends for. They are the male version of the femme fatale.

And because of this, they never quite exert themselves to do anything because the will of the world tends to bends towards their slightest whims.