When I was in class 7, I think I moved from Top 3 to top 38. Ok, to number 8 but I am trying to be inclusive of everyone here.
So my mum decided to give me one more chance in life to redeem myself. And prove that I was actually her real son. And that her true son had not been switched at the hospital by some Maasai moran who was trying to sell her drained coconuts, and picked her son instead, leaving a coconut for my mum. (Oneni waMaasai waki catch!)
She also went ahead and organized for extra tuition in the evenings. At Mr. Rapudo’s. In Calif. Yep. At the same house that in a couple of years would be home to the legendary Calif Records. Mr. Rapudo was an elite teacher at Ainsworth Primary School, where Lillyane went to school in her early days.
Refer to my previous story here to find out who that Lillyanne was. Nkt.
Sasa pale tuition madhafu haijuani. Ni kuumira kuumira mbaya. Na science pia inaingia vizuri tena sana. We were just winning in class, and then, Mr. Rapudo had some strategic action that we were now and always ahead of the entire syllabus by two weeks. When your teacher asks questions in class you are just like, ‘I did that two weeks ago.’ And teachers love that kind of enterprise. People are just clapping for you aimlessly. You are in charge of answers. People give an answer and look at you to approve. If you don’t like them, even if they give a right answer, you just shake your head. When they confront you, you tell them, ‘It’s not the answer, my friend. It’s how you say it.’
So I am just waiting to be the headboy, or to be selected to mark the form 4 mock exams. Niko chonjo. I am even asking for leave forms so that I can go on a two week break to give mere mortals time to catch up. They are struggling. In class 7.
Sasa ile system ya tuition Calif ni maboys wasita tu. Life is not even interesting at all. Just round faces, perfume ni courtesy of Keith Sweat. The Keith is silent. Ma dent ovyo ovyo mara bandage. And most of us are black. Very.
Katika pilka pilka za masomo, skeli fulani akaletwa na mzazi pia yeye afunzwe maths.
Her name? WANGECHI. Haiyaiyaiyaiya.
Wangechi ni mkonde. Slightly tall. Thiiiiiiiiiin legs, tu miguu hatuna points hataaa, but sura… YOOOOOOOO! Macho ni gololi, white teeth, Alafu alikuwa ile scouts ya wasichana. Uniform na complexion are working perfectly in tandem. Oval shaped head na nywele ni tumatuta tutatu tunono tunono, zimeshikiliwa na blada za black. But they have been put together well. Yuko smart. Alafu crowning it all, accent iko mufti kapsaaaaa. Msamiati ya kimombo ina flow bila assistance from Swahili and vice versa. Ni kama alianzia shule kindergarten.
Now, I don’t want to get you to get it twisted. This story is not about Wangechi, but about my mum and my two older sisters. And how I knew no peace, because of ill informed decisions concerning Wangechi.
Hapo tution sasa usione ma-boy sasa wamechangamka. Energy inaweza supply national grid with electricity for a good while. The excitement was crazy. Boys did things sane human beings should never ever do. We scramble pale kwa mlango tumfungulie, mara we want to sit next to her, mara we want to teach her na sisi tuko hapo is because we are unteachable. Dijo anatingisha tu kichwa in disbelief.
I am telling the guys, ‘Ni mimi nilimuona first!’
Someone slaps me. Sasa naileta na kizungu yangu yote mpaka ile ya fixed deposit.
ME: Guys, I just told you, no doubt I saw her first. Can you act civilized.
All the boys turn and look at me in shock. They act like they heard me right but they are praying they didn’t hear what I said. They are asking themselves hard questions. Even me I have shocked myself. I breathe out easily expecting for them to pave way for me, guard of honor style, to receive the bride. Then I hear a voice.
STEVE: Can you went away. Do not bringing for us.
Silence again. So we are sure he really needs tuition more than the rest of us.
Back to square one because of single tracked humans.
Sijapumua mara mbili, guys are declaring their CVs to our do each other.
KEN: Me I can teach you maths. (Kwanza nani alisema hii kitu inaitwa maths?)
STEVE: Me I know everything.
GG: Me I can do your maths for you.
TOM: Me I can do all your homework for you.
Since me I am not going to be left behind, I shout, ‘Me I carry my maths textbook to church instead of my bible.’
Pin drop silence.
People are looking at each other. Shortly they all burst out laughing. Kidogo embarrassment. And then, she speaks to me and says, ‘Aki you are so funny. You will be carrying my bag everyday.’ She pointed at it, and I picked up. So we are in tuition na bag iko kwa mgongo. Protecting it with my life.
Now, I have two bags. Mine is way way smaller coz I have no use for education. Yake on the other hand. My Lord. Like, it makes no sense to have a bag more than half your weight and still need extra tuition. She was thin, yes, but she was not featherweight.
So, one day after tuition, maboy wanacheza kwa barabara mimi nimebeba bag. The lads have put their bags down and are having the time of their life. I am jealous because I had been told, ‘hiyo bag yangu isiguze chini.’ I don’t even know why I was carrying that bag. Nkt.
Ghafla bin vu, some mugoroki guy from the hood starts chasing us and everyone scampers. We all go different ways. I get home with Wangechi’s bag. But I have dropped mine somewhere.
My mum is just staring at me.
Mum: Hiyo bag ni ya nani?
Me: Ni ya friend yangu.
Mum: Yuko wapi?
Me: Tumekimbizwa na ule mugoroki tukahepa.
Mum: Na bag yako iko wapi?
Me: Niko nayo hap….
I can’t see the bag. I am looking for a route out to run away from home.
So she holds my hand and walks me back round the block. We find my bag after a bit of searching.
Mum: Una bahati. (Kidogo silence) Friend yako anaitwa nani?
Me: (EXCITED) Anaitwa Wangechi.
Mum: (Shocked!) Ni msichana?
Me: Ee! Ni mpoa sana. (Shucks).
Mum: (Looking at me) Ulimjulia wapi?
Me: Tuition. Lakini anaendaga Race Course.
Mum: Lakini bag yake ndio ukaokoa ukatupa yako?
Me: (Silently in my heart) Lord, receive my spirit! I am coming home.
Mum: Usiogope, baba. Nitakupata.
So my mum has engaged CSI mode. My days are numbered. As in for real. But that’s a story for another day.
PS: She nabbed me in a whole of 2 weeks. Because she was busy raising me and my other siblings. But she could have done it in 15 minutes if she wanted. I guess she wanted me to let my guard down.
Next day, Wangechi comes for her bag with her mum or aunt, and that’s where my fall began.
[PS: This is a story I am retelling. I will post part II next Thursday, and the final part III the Thursday after that.] #IssaTBT