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Showing posts from 2020

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

Cleaning Up My Life

I reached out to the sky and touched the sun. It was the dry season, a time we kids loved to play and run for the sake of it. I loved playing football, or a version of it where a mob raced after a ball. Thankfully, there were several balls, and the mob surged and fell chasing the nearest one. Laughter was all around me, as I ran up and down the field. The bell, loud as it was, brought me back to reality, as I ran to class. I treasured morning break times, they allowed us to breath. I was already thinking of the next class. How I would carry my seat, across a corridor to the class where we barely fit, seated beside the desk of a reluctant host. Every Wednesday, this was the routine. We would meet in this class and listen to the radio. The presenter was many miles away in the city, teaching children in schools, like ours, across the nation. I always felt so proud to be part of such a collective, brought together by a lesson.   As I got into our classroom, I was greeted by a strange

My Name is Joseph

The wind was swaying the branches outside, rattling the leaves. Our class teacher had stepped out, leaving us more bored than we cared to mention. Yet too lazy to make noise. When she came back, a scrawny young boy of my height followed closely behind. He was thin but not in a starved way, more like someone who forgot to eat from a table brimming with food as he contemplated the meaning of life. His uniform was new, and shoes sparkled in the shadows of the well-lit classroom. “My name is Joseph,” he mumbled. He was articulate, that was certain. He nearly broke into a smile, then thought otherwise. His were high cheekbones on a muscular face. He looked wiser than his age. The class observed him, gauging where to place him in the social strata.   It was clear he was doing well because a murmur broke out from the back, and together the class said, “Welcome to Nanyuki Primary School, Class 2 B.” We then receded into our collective shell to observe how he would react.      “Jose

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 Relatives Who Lived Nearby

We lived in a town where relatives were like the holidays. They were few, far in between, and not very close. It surprised me when we traveled to the village. On arrival after a whole day of traveling, instead of resting, we would find dozens of uncles, aunties, cousins, nephews and nieces, waiting to welcome us. Happy to see my father, who was much loved, and his offspring, who looked out of place. Being there felt comforting. Knowing you shared a grandfather with a stranger.   Even so, we had relatives in Nanyuki. And they lived a kilometer or two away. Theirs was a different universe. They lived in flats, we in bungalows. They lived in a church compound, we lived across the road from a bar. In the 80s bars were few, and far in between. This bar was so close we sampled the music they played at night, and our neighboring compound housed the finer ecosystem of the bar, who lived in one-room apartments.     Let's get back to the comparison. My parents were career government