He sat in his old Shack,white fluffy hair brushed back on his scalp.
He wore an old house coat which though bare with old thread weaves was clean for an old man.
His face betrayed no pain of his past,
His frosty grey eyes looked to distant past,
And a present future.
His past, his present and his future were all fused
And locked in a time warp at a distant corner in his mind.
They had no influence whatsoever on his life.
They were not real anymore than heaven and hell are real to the living.
It was now beyond him to feel resentful.
His once beautiful hands were now thin,
But still beautiful in a way of an old man.
For if a man could have beautiful hands that always elicited envy of ladies,
Then old Baba had them.
His well worn sandals were clean beneath the withered soles of his feet.
His white beard,spotlessly white,
Gave his old face a wise look.
His old shack was bare.
A small table, three or four pieces of utensils.
The fire place was cold and the ash unruffled for quite a long time.
Fire was dangerous to the Baba, the old man of the shack.
He could not remember where he was.
His memory of the past had been hazed by old age and a mind that always sought numbness from the constant pain in his heart.
There were times when flashes of clear memory would invade his mind,
And this always tormented him.
And he would long for the innocent bliss of his now senile mind.
Everything he owned in this life was within one span of his arm;
Well,not quite so,for he once had a family that abandoned him.
A wife and two sons.
He does not know where they are.
It is hard for him to remember their faces,or their voices.
It was so long in the past.
He can’t remember whether they loved him or detested him.
It was all lost in his senility.
He can remember though, the owner of this shack;his former employer.
Twice a day,he comes to see him,a plate of a hot meal on his hand for Baba, the old man of the shack.
He has been kind to him in a way that only a brother can be kind.
In his days as his employee,old Baba never once mentioned his family.
He was a curious man at 45 years old when they met and a loyal employee.
He worked hard.
It was as if work meant everything in his life.
He was jolly,albeit with a hard shell that sheltered his private life.
No one ever saw his family.
No one ever prodded him about it.
It was a silent taboo that those who became close to old Baba learnt insinctively on their own.
Time came when Baba,the old man of the shack was too old to work any more.
He knew it.
His employer knew it.
No one dared talk about it for several years.
But he had to quit.
He had no where to go.
He had no one to confide this predicament in his life with,
Except his employer.
He listened with patience,
a sad story of a man thrown out and forsaken by his family,
A loyal employee,a man whose pride was stolen by betrayal,
a man who after all this had decided to continue living for what was left of his miserable life.
The boss was silent for minute and then the tears rolled from his eyes.
So this has been the man I never understood.
A man who chose not to voice his pain.
He offered him a shack in his farm to retire to.
He could not trace his family.
Even if he would,old Baba had expressly stated his wish
to go to his grave in dignity of not having to seek out favours from his family.
Every day, Baba did the light work around his former boss’s compound till he could do it no more.
He had now to wait patiently for his final resting day.
Every day, his boss brought him food.
Every day, he had his clothes washed,
For Baba in his days was a smart and a clean man.
Every day,he had him bathed clean.
Every morning before heading off for work,
He checked on Baba,the old man of the shack.
But Baba suffered a fatal stroke today,
He found him laid out on the floor this morning.
He was smart in death.
He was peaceful.
He will not mourn him.
Baba had told him that he now wants to rest.
There was no one else to mourn him
The shack will be empty tonight.
Baba the old man of the shack has finally found a home.