Eleven or so years ago yours truly was just another rural boy without a care in the world, a little naïve maybe. Life was simple nothing like ‘living on the fast lane’ was ever heard of. Everyday was routine, as if we ran on auto pilot. Life was just happening nobody seemed very much driven. I knew all my neighbours, even those in the neighbouring villages! If you doubt that one can know everybody in an entire location then look for Akuku Danger and you’ll catch my drift. But wait, I don’t mean that we were a big family from a polygamist, No! When nothing much is happening around, you find your self at the neighbour’s to break the monotony.
Then it all happened! No explanations were given, I didn’t ask any questions either. The eyes just told it all, I could feel and touch the sadness in them. Emotions seemed drained. And moving away we did. I can’t remember saying goodbye to all those friends, like money with G4S, we just disappeared. It was a new beginning, new environment a shakeup to the status quo and formation of new alliances. The guy I always played with, shared my childish dreams, looked up to as my hero (When you are the only kid in the village with a bicycle leave alone a mountain one, you know what I talk about), the guy I wanted to grow into or even surpass just left without looking back and pap! He got lost. I had to take one plus one to make nine, because questions only brought pain and bad memories.
So here I was in a new town, everyone seemed narcissistic, not many knew who the other was, it was a ‘mind your own’ attitude and life goes on. A new school and a new search for new friends begins while trying hard to erase a bitter past in my young mind was the occupation as I settled in. Academically intelligent but all over sudden socially retarded, I had to be always pushed from the house to play, with a bicycle and those raundi mwenda’s in the estate I made new friends Kash and Kev. I loved the tube and books than I did interacting with people. I would open the door for a guest but leave them in the living room, go to my bedroom and bum. As Maya Angelou would put it, solitude was my better companion! Questions kids ask like ‘who’s your daddy?’ were answered by ‘He’s dead!’ and that always brought the conversation to an end and ensured the topic wont be revisited again. That worked well since the explanations would have just torn me apart, having no answers of my own.
After a fortnight in my new school my desk mate tells me she loves me! ‘What? Am I dreaming or what?’ was all I could think of, I pinch myself and all I can muster to say was a feeble ‘thank you!’ with trembling lips. I was dazed that afternoon, I became a zombie, in a haze, no clear flow of thoughts. I had always believed we were the ones to make the first move, then again I tell myself am in new territories! Her friends tease my blushing self, what kind of a man was I, I pondered. Here is this beautiful town girl who’s smart too (she was among the crème de la crème of the class intellectually) and she is not beating about the bush or even blinking when telling me this… You will hear people say ‘girls mama warned me about’ but heck I couldn’t remember being warned about girls. All I knew was ‘f**k around and die early, AIDS is real!’. Nobody gave you any sex education and the facts seemed scanty in being made public, if you remember the days condoms could not be advertised on tv at prime time then you can understand.
‘Hey wanna see my boob top?’ she whispers, ‘boo what?’. It’s an afternoon and 90% of the class is drowsy or already dozing, check left right center, I took a peek am man I had never felt so much blood flow in my veins. ‘If you ever make me pregnant and leave I’ll kill you!’ she goes on to say!!!!??? *Freeze* The bubble was bust, ‘we haven’t even started and you talk about tots? Am already a big tot, can’t sustain my behind even if I wanted to.’ Time to move on…
My Swahili teacher usually made us use msamiati and methalis in our inshas and one that has served me well every time I see change or move to new environment has always be ‘uskistaajabu ya Musa utaona ya Firauni!’ Since then the surprises have to try harder!