The family news of the day is that it was Halloween and the kids – a gaggle of expatriates living on campus – came to the door of our Ugandan university home like kids do in so many parts of the world.
The executioner, when I asked him what the “trick” was if I didn’t give a treat, said he would cut off my head.
Beside him — by Elmo, The Fairy Princess and the Lone Ranger — was Death who made it clear that he and the executioner were buddies.
Somewhere were my own kids including Liz, my oldest, in her mother’s white medical coat and my glasses to strike an appearance of Shelley’s mad scientist Victor Frankenstein, creator of the monster of that name.
So everyone held out their bags and got their candy and then trotted off with it, their fun and darkness, going for their next haul. But there was more to the news of the day on this Halloween.
This, because, for the team at The Standard, yesterday was also the day to drive to Kampala and pick up the campus paper from the printer; then get it back and out to several thousand people who would read about the latest around here, which includes a couple of suicides.
One student, a young girl named Sunday, died broken hearted after a relationship came undone with the young man who she thought was her only love. Another student, Apollo, who dropped out virtually from the day he registered, died of a broken neck after he tied a bed-sheet around it while in the campus holding cell for certain alleged crimes.
In a strange twist, the young man had stolen identity on him, so when his parents were called, and, in any parent’s worst nightmare, came in to identify his body, they looked down at a young dead man who, in fact, wasn’t their son at all but someone else’s.
So some here are grieving and thinking in a very gripping way about the darkness, the darkness in the corners of any of our souls, the darkness that comes out every once in a while, but just so seldom because nice people aren’t supposed to think about these things, no, not until it’s put in front of you in black and white and you can’t turn your eyes away from the disturbing page.
There is Good New too. And without it the world would be shrouded in the night without escape, no, there would be no All Saints Day that comes on the dawn after Halloween night.
But before the Good News is good, it has to be the bad news. Or, at minimum, it has to be simply the news, the way it is in this world, a broken way that leaves any of us – as part of one family or another – dealing with it. Or not dealing with it, but rather, ignoring it.
If you want to read more on such family matters, here is a column in this current issues of The Standard.