As soft winds sweep away the days, I look back on life through a haze. Remember playgrounds, parks and friends in childlike gaze that never ends. Flashback, seven years ago, that was the last time I saw you; Feb 14th 2005. You had spent the whole day in bed sleeping because mum had been at work. All my friends had already reported to form one except me because there was no way you were going to let me be admitted to Kisumu Boys High School…no offense KB, but you could not just hoard all the pupils from Kisumu who had graduated with four hundred marks and above!
I remember all the hassle you and mum had to go through just to get me a ‘better’ school, and what better provincial school was there than Maranda High. At that time, it seemed like all we had was ourselves, and when your bedroom ceiling got boring, you decided that we take a walk to town. You did not even know that it was Valentines, until I reminded you.
“In that case then, we need to go out on a date,” you said.
Glee… I recall holding your index finger feeling so secure walking besides you, because I knew that as long as I was with you, nothing could ever go wrong. Looking back now, I laugh at my childhood folly as I try to hold back these choking tears from escaping. As children we only remember the feeling that we cherished with our loved ones…not the material things they provided. That reassuring sensation of security that I got felt when walking with my dad is a feeling that I will always miss. Perhaps, the same could not be said for every child, but as for me…my dad was my guardian angel, my imaginary (yet real) friend, and my protector.
As a kid, I only went to church every Sunday because you always had to treat us to our usual fries, sausage and soda…because Sundays were special. So on that day you asked me to pick up something from the top of my head. Something I have never eaten before. Looking at the menu, I was spoilt stupid for choice. All I really wanted was my everyday diet, but since you insisted that it had to be different, I chose the first thing my eyes landed on- Pizza and milkshake. I do not remember what flavor the pizza was- hell, I did not even know that it had flavors!
All I know is that that combination was the best I ever had in all the thirteen years of my existence. At first I thought it was semi-cooked chapattis garnished with meat and kachumbari and a lot of other stuff that only my mother (the best cook in the whole wide world) would know. I guess ignorance is bliss. Please do not laugh at me, because all harlots were also once virgins- at least nowadays I know there is vegetarian and non-vegetarian pizza….okay you got me, I know nothing about pizza. There I said it. Period!
That evening you left for the city. You were unwell. I think kidney failure is one condition that I will never be obliterated from my mind because it robbed me of not only a person I loved, but also the person I had always wanted to be. Before you left, you handed me my complete form one shopping fee. Twenty seven thousand crisp notes on the hands of a thirteen year old at that time were like a pill on the tongue of a starved junkie. They got me high and sweaty. I kept on counting them every five minutes just to make sure that I had not dropped any. I wanted to go out and show off to my friends of how ‘rich’ my dad was that he could give me so much money, but our house help stopped me.
A while later, a cab came to pick you up; I was so excited and sure of seeing you again soon that I do not even remember saying goodbye to you properly. Maybe I just managed a hasty “see you soon”, did I? I am still waiting for that ‘soon’ till now.
The next week I reported to Maranda High School (now a national school), but two weeks after that on March 8th my eldest brother came to take me back home for your burial that had been scheduled for March 12th. That Saturday was meant to be the first visiting day at school. Remember? The one you promised to attend? Well, shock on you dad, it was also meant to be my birthday…and that is the day I buried you!
Well, it has been seven years since that day… I have been counting, and most of my birthdays found me in school. It comes and goes just like the diminishing memories I have of your face. I do not celebrate them much, because there is not much to celebrate about. Maybe if I was in campus my friends would have thrown me in the pool, and I wish they would, so that I let myself drown and join you wherever you are. They might feel guilty and probably blame themselves for the rest of their lives for committing murder, but the truth is, they would have helped me get to you faster. On the other hand, what would happen to mum, to Alphonce, to Nimrod and to Sweeny if that ever happened? I am in a dilemma here so you better give me a solution quick! I love them too, just like I still love you, but I miss you much…and I hate it.
Your absence has gone through me like thread through a needle and everything I do is stitched with its color. Missing you could turn from pain to pleasure, if only I knew you were missing me too. I wish you were here to witness what a good job you did with us. Sweeny got a scholarship and is now at the states. She graduated with a cum laude … that translates to honors for your information. Alphonce too was lucky enough to bag a scholarship from the European Union and is now a third year at Strathmore University and in addition to that, he is a CPA Finalists, and aspires to be a Financial Analyst. Myself, I am not doing so bad I guess… I mean I got an A-, went to law school, and now as you may have noticed by now, I am have developed interest in being a scribe.
Nonetheless all these successes mean nothing to me if you are not here to share them with us. I try so much to imagine that you are all around, and not in some distant heaven. I fight every day with the doubt that you may be nearer to me than my own heartbeat…but the bitter truth is that if some of my classmates are right, and that there is no afterlife, then the last memory of you that I have is the obscure recollection that I have of the number plate of the cab that drove you away on the Valentines of 2005.
It has not been easy since you left. Aunty Anastasia and grandma have also followed suit shortly after you showed the way. They both succumbed to cancer last year. My teenage years were kind of rough. I sure wasn’t too big or tough, but you taught me to defend what’s right, and to never back down from a fight. If you were Robin Hood, I am almost certain you would have told me to RISE AND RISE AGAIN, TILL LAMBS BECOME LIONS.
Despite all these, the last thing I do at night before I sleep, I send you love, and with the dawn, more again. For the bond that we created as mortals will never be broken, and that love reminds me that you still exist somewhere, even if that somewhere is not necessarily right here with me.