Here’s a Quick Way to lose a Friend

by Unathi Kondile
Unathi Kondile

Unathi Kondile

Cape Town_ It  was Saturday and we had just finished watching a crucial game between Manchestor United and Kaizer Chiefs.  We drank a few drinks and a number of soccer after-parties were in order. So as we perused the streets searching for one house party after the next and getting lost – the cops pulled us over. They did the cop thing – asked me to slowly get out of the car with my arms apart. I got out. They flicked a light inside the car to see the other occupants. Next I was told to blow some device. It said 0.54 milligrams or something like that. I don’t know if that was a good or bad thing. But I knew I only had two drinks earlier. Lucky me. They let us off and we found the main after party. Upon entry we met some friends. Drank more. Met a once-close friend I hadn’t seen in ages. We spoke a bit and caught up and he constantly kept telling me how fat I’d grown. Conversation spanned and I even told him about my brief encounter with the cops. He laughed as he yanked out a half-empty bottle of whiskey and proclaimed that if those cops had stopped him they would have probably arrested him.

Now as I write this I am engulfed by that lump that usually sits in your throat when you want to cry. As I write I’m further engulfed by thoughts such as: “I wish the cops had stopped him instead of me that night!” and “I wish the cops had arrested him and yanked him in a cell for the night!” At least he’d be alive today. A day after the party I was met with horrific news of a car accident that claimed his life. It is unbelievable when you were just speaking to someone a few hours ago. It is unbelievable that you could have actually prevented something from happening. But you didn’t. It’s not guilt. It’s remorse and sadness.

I recall days in which I have driven home – incapable of seeing anything more than the white line on the road and the rays of the street lights, and then wondered, in the morning,“How did I drive home last night?”
Well, that’s it. I’ve seen too many people go through the drunken driving world exit point. This latest incident has brought some reality into my life about a close friend whom I hadn’t seen in ages. Afteall those years, I met him and his whiskey, to say goodbye that night. Will  I miss him and still wish the cops had stopped him, made him blow that device and maybe yanked him into jail that night? At least he’d be alive and I wouldn’t be writing this.

Kondile is a freelancer writer. To read more of his work go here.


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