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Trespassing: Fiction by Yokoniya Chilanga

old man
Photo by Jean Gerber on Unsplash (remixed)

My only wish now is to die. I should die. Not that I am tired of this life but I am tired and bored by the kind of dreams visiting me in my sleep these days. How can I, an old-man, born in 1900, be wasting my time in sleep, dreaming of people with their phones, wearing loose and short skirts? This is an antithesis of the good life I lived.

My grandchildren, you may want to know that I used to have good dreams; even those that were bad were good, so to say. But the changing modern world has changed my dreams. I no longer dream about my old life when we used to walk on foot to distant places. I never dream of fighting a lion. I never dream of going hunting.

Now, I dream of travelling in a minibus to see my son. I dream on a phone, sometimes, on what you call WhatsApp, messaging my late wife. I dream of young ladies in their almost naked bodies. I never dream of the long dresses that my wife, your grandmother, used to cover herself with.

Yes, the world has changed and so dreams have changed. I wish the changing world changes not my dreams. My dreams should remain. I feel I have trespassed into another generation and this is the penalty I am getting.

You see, my grandchildren, the latest I was to die was in the year 2000. But living up to this time, it’s apparently an act of trespassing. So if you heard that I was about to send myself to death using that rope, it is true. I want to escape these types of dreams. I need freedom, freedom from dreams. Things of the world should be separated from things of the dream world.

So when you came to that place where I was sending myself to my death, it’s not that I was happy. I am really unhappy with you my grandchildren that you wrestled me out of the hand of death. I am really not happy with the manner that your world is modernising. You say that this is development but it’s not. Tell me, how many friends and relatives have we lost this year due to road accidents? I guess many. And you call that development? If we were travelling on foot as we used to do, we would not have lost those dear friends and relatives. It is disheartening that this also comes to my sleep. The dream of travelling in a car is itself a bad one. And add to that, now I have to dream, a car overturning into a river.  In the past, I only used to dream of myself diving into a river, not cars diving into the river. So when you run to not let me go, you have really done a bad thing.

But all this is happening because I have trespassed into another generation. All my friends are gone. Even my wife. They escaped earlier from the torture of the dreams I am having now. You think the pain of old age is only physical degeneration of the body, but the most painful experience I tell you, is the psychological degeneration. While you are thinking that the world is modernising with the new technological inventions, I think otherwise. To me that is degeneracy of the good world we had.

It’s like I am living in two worlds. The world that you are living in is not my world. My world is gone; it ebbed with these monstrous ugly technologies. And now I stand like a stump in a forest ravaged by an inferno. What remains of me is this body and not my mind. For if your modernising world forces its way into my mind,  that is confusing my essence. That’s bringing anarchy to my essence. Now my essence is divided between two worlds; the world of dreams on one hand and the world of my experience. That creates a conflict on how I define myself now. I am made to be what I am not. But as I have told you already, it’s all because I have trespassed into your generation. So when you come to my hut to cut that knot of death on my neck, to not let me go and follow my generation, you, my grandchildren, did a very bad thing.

By the way, if you had lived in our world, you would have understood what I am trying to say. I hope some of you have come across Sigmund Freud, that crazy guy who dissected the world of dreams. Did he not say something about dreams being a reflection of the real world? I guess he did.  But I don’t respect him much because he missed something in his psychoanalysis of dreams. He failed to show the link between the dreams that can torment one when one trespasses into another generation.

Freud was to demonstrate why old people do not dream about their old word. He was to demonstrate why dreams are mostly about one’s immediate experiences and fears or excitement. If there were to be the choice of dreams, my grandchildren, I would choose dreams about my earlier years when we were boys. You see, I am an intruder into your world not by choice. I am here by default.

Now the worst thing is that you know, I am a sleep-walker. I talk loudly in my dreams and sometimes I walk and go about muttering in my room. I am told, this other day, I was saying something like lol, to mean that you should not take things seriously. I also muttered something like bae, to refer to my late wife. That’s unfair because in real life, you know I can’t use such nonsense vocabulary but in the dream world, I did because those words being strange, they stick to my mind. So indeed, that’s unfair for an old man like me to be carried away using the vocabulary of this generation. But it’s not your fault. It’s my fault since I trespassed into your generation.

Please, next time, when news get to you, news that I am sending myself to death, don’t disturb me.  Let me leave this world for you, for I am trespassing.


Photo by Jean Gerber on Unsplash (remixed)

Yokoniya Chilanga
Yokoniya Chilanga
Yokoniya Chilanga is a Malawi writer and a Master of Arts in Philosophy student at Chancellor College of the University of Malawi. He contributes feature articles to one of Malawi’s daily newspapers, The Daily Times.

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