Goodbyes. Such a word that I tend to think of it as an oxymoron. There’s no good in it, just spasms of anger, denial, hatred, and finally letting go.

“Oh, but as you walk away You don’t hear me say Where’s the “good” in “goodbye”? Where’s the “nice” in “nice try”? Where’s the “soul” in “soldier on”? Now I’m the “lone” in “lonely” No matter how it falls apart There’s an “art” in breaking hearts But there’s no fair in farewell, no

Does the infamous “Time heals all” work at all? Fallacy?

So, last week Thursday was my boss/desk mate’s last day at work (Yes, he was my boss and we sat next to each other in the office). I thought maybe I should describe who and what he was, but then I will run short of the correct words to use. I wouldn’t find the exact words to describe his charm, laughter, physique, embodiment; his whole being. So, in a nutshell, he was human, so full of life and selfless, fragile and cosy at the same time.

For Vincenzo Cesta Incani, (Everybody dreams, but you are the dream)

I remember counting the days from Monday, fidgeting in my seat hoping you won’t notice. My knuckles ached from constant knocks on the desk. Only 4 days? Impossible! I unsuccessfully tried convincing you to stay a little while longer. I tried, then tried, then tried again. No through way.

I convinced myself that you’ll be forgotten before I knew it. That your memories will be long gone in no time. That I will be normal. But now looking at your empty desk and knowing that you will not show up at ten o’clock in a pair of shorts and a black t-shirt, shouting Buongiorno to everyone while forcing me to speak Italian, almost brings tears to my eyes.

There have been mornings when I lost the psyche to come to work. There are moments I have fought tears just thinking of you. There are moments I wish you never showed up in the first place.

It almost feels like I am all alone in those manned spacecrafts you used to talk about. Remember how you told me you’d put me in one of the manned missions and hope that it explodes halfway to space? You were so full of laughter at the expression on my face. I am at times afraid that when I talk, the echo would be blasting.

Now I realize how you took too much space and I didn’t even notice.

It’s funny how two weeks can create a whole lot of memories.

There was that Friday at the restaurant that only serves Italian cuisine. Damn! Who does that to a fellow human being. And there I was, trying in vain to roll the pasta onto my fork, half the time wishing I just stayed in the office and munched my dry bread and water. I couldn’t even look up. And from the corner of my eye I could see you laughing at me. (Next time if we’re not ordering chicken, please leave me alone…haha)

Then there was the wine (I don’t even remember the name). Down on my first sip and your mouth couldn’t refrain from talking;

Cesta: “Eunniah don’t get drunk.”

Me: (Rolls eyes) What now?

And you were telling people about my outfit that, according to you, was of Roman origin. You got everyone staring at my shoes, and my luhya legs…aha Damn, you figure out you could’ve just taken a picture instead?

I don’t know exactly what I miss; your extra-large laptop with everything in Italian (I couldn’t even stalk you); your weird Keringet water that tastes like the brown water flowing next to my grandmother’s place (Yuck, why don’t you just drink normal water? Not my problem though)

Or is it your unique chewing gums in a dinosaur-shaped tin; or the many times you unexpectedly wheeled your chair next to me checking on what I was doing on my computer, only to find a YouTube video of some woman trying to lose ten kilograms in three days. I still remember you telling me if I tried that, I’d shed everything including bones. Aha.

We will talk about your fascination with my afro hair some other day. And the fact that you think I’m weird because I cannot use any other calculator apart from fx-82ms.

Truth is, I miss you. I have lived, I have traversed this engineering sector, but nobody has ever put as much trust in me as you did. You believed in me, told me I was an engineer, that an engineer uses their brain, not their hands. I actually had no clue about half the things you told me (problem with cramming in campus and having shitty laboratories). But every day I tell myself I will get there. I can be what I want to be. That passion and the right attitude will get me there. Maybe someday I will be the space engineer that you want me to be.

I miss the times we had to fight over the LAN cable (Who doesn’t love fast internet anyway?). God knows the number of times I have cursed you because my downloads failed at ninety five percent. One thing, your cup of patience runs out very fast.

I hope you spread your charm wherever you go (Where is it again? I can’t differentiate Italy from Fucino). I hope you smile every time you remember my name. I hope you find another good soul that will be willing to rewrite emails for you because your language was nothing closer to English. And I hope next time you see me, you won’t refer to my water bottle as a water tank.

PS: I still watch TRHK over lunch break. You’re missing out.


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Meet Eunniah Mbabazi
Eunniah Mbabazi is an Electrical and Electronic Engineer with a deep passion for books and literature. She has authored Breaking Down (a collection of short stories), If My Bones Could Speak (a poetry collection), The Unbirthed Souls (a collection of short stories), and My Heart Sings, Sometimes (a poetry collection). She has also co-authored Kas Kazi (a novel) and When a Stranger Called (an anthology of short stories).

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