The two years i have been away from my shaggs-Meru,left my brain clogged with weird imaginations.Now,with a University a few strides from home and a bunch of educated chaps,I had this childish vision of a market flooded with grotesque buildings which demand the attention from every passers-by.In my dreams,I would see the partially clothed campus damsels strolling along the streets,hand in hand with their boyfriends, as if showing to the world what fashion and romance is all about.I smiled at the thought of the miraa chewing lads,probably siting on a bench outside the ‘pool-table’ building,cracking their necks to have a glimpse of the couple and at the same time cursing the act to hell.
But, reality is a better aesthetic.The moment I stepped outside the mat,Kianjai actually broke my heart.With exception of old buildings which now seemed to give up on life,the market looked the same way i left it.No change.Across the road from where i was standing,next to a slanting-almost falling ‘supermatch’ kiosk,I could see dad sand witched in the middle of miraa chewing guys.Endless Tanzanian tales,I murmured.Dad is quite a genius story teller.
Staring at the kiosk,I felt a sudden revulsion towards the supermatch company.It is almost a decade since my father took the possession of the kiosk,placed it along the highway to encourage the passers-by smoke their brand.To show his loyalty to the company,he further,went ahead and painted our gate with quite vivid ‘supermatch’ labels.The gate gave me a damn harsh time in my primary school class,as i was constantly reminded of its uniqueness.Only that i was skinny and coward,i would be freezing my ass in a juvenile prison for killing an idiot who once called me ‘mtoto wa manager’ It saddened me that with all that kind of promo,the freaking company has never thought of rewarding the old man’s effort!He deserves some kind of an Oscar for chrissake!
The dusty winds brought me back to my senses.I might have stood there for a couple of minutes.paralysed.I then hurriedly crossed the road to meet dad.This isn’t a place of strutting like models on the runway,the miraa laden hillux won’t hesitate to sweep you away,you run.
The crowd was now gazing at me, as i strolled towards them.Dad too,he had paused his story telling.Looking at his eyes ,I saw more of bewilderment than excitement.It made me almost pee in my pants.Shocked.But quickly,i figured out the meaning of all this.I am not a fool.I can see things in a three dimensions.My step mother had eventually lured the old man into hating me,I thought as I struggled not to let the tears find their way out.A real man dont cry,worse before his father and his friends.It is the embarassment the old man would never accept.I stopped walking.My guardian angel whispered into my temple that things have already gone south and the best thing to do is to turn my back to these old fellas and vanish but my guts advised to find out the reason for such drama.”Be a man mike,You faced a knife without flinching,You spent four years in those shady buildings you call school,carrying water in a basin up the slopes of Mbaarua.Do you remember how many times your ass had received beatings there?Do you even remember your surname?Its meaning?Do you?”A voice from nowhere pondered into my soul.
“Dad ?”I eventually managed to call out,still in fear of rejection.
I have never seen such enthusiasm in the old man.He rose to embrace me with a hug.I shied off as he held me tight,its the first time we hugged.I never knew its you,he murmured,you have grown big.I nodded,I couldn’t talk.
He gave me his bike to ride home,its not far from the market.The ride is exasperating,you ride against the wind,cool air blowing your shirt upwards.Those endowed with an appealing chest,find fun at unbuttoning their shirts.I was struck to meet Jane,my best friend youngest sister on her way to take her 2 months old son to the clinic!I swear before i left,even her breast had not yet developed.They were just nodule-like features struggling to push the t-shirt outwards,as if begging for attention from every lousy man.And now they are full on the chest!For just only two years?But what the hell.Two years were long enough to make my own dad forget about me.Two years were long enough for the dad’s dog to grow old enough to make me a stranger at our own home.The damn dog ensured i would never pee at night.
Within the two years,i had gained 15kgs and no one could call me skinny anymore.Why should I be shocked with Jane’s pregnancy and birth?Why should I be that jealous to be the only one to enjoy the privilege of change?I observed the-then small girls who were embarrassed with the growing of the breasts,covering them with every piece of cloth, to hide them from the straying eyes,were now in the middle of their adolescent.They looked happy of the new shape of their chest.In fact, they fantasized about it that whenever your eyes wandered in that part they were rewarded with a quit fleshy piece of cleavage.Pity was to those i left bragging on their full chest.Change seemed harsh on them.The pair of boobs had eventually swayed off,maybe due to lots of touches that it would be evil to joke about it.Change is actually inevitable.
My granny’s grave was no more.In fact,dad had replaced the christian cross with a miraa plant.”Say a blessing to your grand mom whenever you chew from this.”He said pointing at the plant which the mild wind made it sway cheerfully as if responding to my conversation with dad.I smiled.Anyway,why keep frowning over the body when the soul was in a better place?You should have seen the healthy bean plants on this part of the farm-my grandma grave!
My friend Koome on top of a miraa plant.Looks high,right?
The next day i had focused my mind to meet with Kabuku,my cousin.Dad explains that he was put behind the bars for six months for what he termed as sharing a girl,no,a whore with bwana mkubwa-the village chief.After jail,the nigga has found it rather impossible to pick up his life.He now spends his days as a waiter in some changaa brewing den,with food and a few glasses of the nasty brew as the only payment!Looking for him and trying driving some sense in his skull would be the best way to spend my Sunday in shaggs.God would bless me for it,I thought as I remembered of Jesus.The thing which made me smile to the amusement of the old man.I never knew he was looking at me.”Menyera kithomo kii kiaumba ukurita nthuu.”He said jokingly as we both burst into a laughter.