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The Key Heist

We all had those days, weeks, and months when something snapped, and we went a bit crazy. This is one such story I kept in the recess of my mind. I was barely ten years old.   "The phone is really nice and shiny," I said, reaching up. It was placed on a high cupboard, in a corner right outside my parent's room. It was kept there so we could also receive calls since our parents were always away working.   Unlike the one before, a quaint rotary system, this one was white and had buttons. It looked so light caged and padlocked in a metal contraption that held it down, hiding the buttons.   Big Sis was standing on a chair beside me engrossed. Her focus was on the manacles holding the phone buttons out of access. With no social media back then, and with little interest in television, Big Sis was looking at her only source of entertainment. The brightest girl in Laikipia District, based on her last award, was stumped. My eyes moved from her to the phone and wondered wha
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A Crush that Never Was, A Book Never Read

I was standing there with a rose. At least that's what Mr Patel told me it was. It was red and spiky. "Watch your hands and heart," he said. I was too flushed to say anything. The edges were wilting. I was sure I was a novice buyer for Mr Patel.     I walked into the restaurant and sat at the table closest to the door. I looked strange, a ten-year-old on a first date. My uncle had chided me for looking presentable, I wore a white shirt, trousers, socks and shoes. My nose assaulted by Brut, 'the essence of men'. So here I was nervous, and my heart pounding. This went on for a while before worry took over. "Had the girl forgotten to come? Was she held up in traffic?" Outside was a Saturday afternoon. The two streets in Nanyuki were deserted. I sighed, trying to calm down. My thoughts went back to when I had seen her. She was a new girl in our sister class, and the most beautiful person I had ever seen. Flawless dark skin, and teeth as white as dair

I Shall Live by Sight

My ears were sensitive to the noise and babel outside - loud music blaring, and cars honking. We were seated in a small room, deprived of light. There were other sounds, not as loud, of crawling creatures scurrying around. We were on the second floor of a building, that had sucked in air, to fit between other buildings that lacked a hint of design or flair in their construction. For a moment, I remembered the mason who did odd jobs at our house and wondered if he had constructed the buildings in this part of the city.   I looked outside the window, the lone window that allowed in reflected light. The lone window from which you could never see the sun, but still sense its presence. I wondered if a prisoner in solitary confinement desired the sun, the way I desired to leave that office.   Yet, we were there for a good reason. Seated beside me was my father, in a polo shirt and khaki slacks. He was relaxed and seemed oblivious of the surrounding. I looked across the tiny table. Th

How I Visited An Agricultural Show and Survived

"Edwin! We are going to the A.S.K. show tomorrow," declared my elder sister. She was giddy and happy. I didn't get it. Why was a teenager excited about an 'A.S.K show'? "Tomorrow is the day," she repeated, her voice rising with excitement. My sister was the family bookworm, while I was the walking question mark. She brought home awards ever since she picked up a book and was top of every class she ever attended. My sister had brains and beauty. Was eloquent and spoke with conviction at most times. She was the cool kid everyone wanted to be. I was glad she was my sister and would tell everyone as she received her umpteenth prize at the school assembly, “Hey, that’s my sister.” Most would look at me funny. As I   turned to my slightly worn-out shoes, angry that their eyes said they didn’t believe me, then promise myself that would not grate my heart.   Anyway! Back to the story. I woke up early Saturday morning. We were at the dining table when Big

My First Visit To a Wildlife Sanctuary

“You need to ask Mommy and Daddy, and they will probably make it happen.” My Uncle said. The thought of visiting a national park became the sun that rose me up in the morning. And the moon that lit my nights. It captured my mind completely.   I daydreamed walking in the savanna and being among the wildebeest. The documentary in my head featured me with a rich, resonant voice.     “I will find a way to visit the national park,” I told myself. Two days later I made my move. “Mom, can I ask for a favor?” I started.   My mom raised her eyebrows and took a pause from her knitting. She gave me a familiar look. The one mothers give their children to let them know they know what the child is about to say. I cleared my throat about to make my case. “Mom! I would like to visit the national park.” “Mmmh?” She asked, her face folded in surprise. It wasn’t a shocking surprise, like ‘what has my son just uttered’. No! My mother had become a specialist, knowing how to deal with

My First Time At the Library

We were in class, contemplating our existence as six-year-olds when our class teacher, Mr Gitembo, walked in. Behind him was a radiant young woman wearing a dark green dress, and carrying a sizable  box. Our class teacher had a bigger box accompanied with a toothy grin. "Good morning, class?" inquired the lady. “Good Morning, Mrs...” She had a calming voice, like the auntie who you visited to eat cake and sweets. She had our attention and Mr Gitembo’s too.   "My name is Ms Claire. I work with the library near the school, and I have brought you gifts." She opened the boxes and brought our games and storybooks, then urged us to come closer. We ran to the front and picked a book, or sat down to play a game.   Up till then, my reading was a clumsy attempt.   Trying to understand my elder sister's magazines, father's newspapers, and Jehovah Witness literature left in a drawer to gather dust for years. These made no sense to me. But as I opened the boo

My Adorable Younger Sister

  There was a screeching wail, and a tiny alien appeared in my parent’s bedroom. I was three years old when my younger sister was born. I remember holding her and couldn’t wrap my hands all round, and nearly dropping her. Still, I insisted. “Momma let me carry her,” I said. The alien had these alert beautiful brown eyes that seemed to say, “wait till I can get my hands and legs moving, and you will see,” Those independent eyes burned through my small skull. Maybe, that’s me trying to simplify years of interacting with her. I was there when she first crawled, there when she staggered and then stood, and there when she walked. Then held my breath, remembering her burning eyes as I held her when she was younger. I forgot the reason she did all these in quick succession was to keep up with her inquisitive, troublesome older brother. For three years, she silently watched, listened, and soaked it all in. Now she trailed me everywhere. She would release a shrill if I dared leave h