Slowly,I lower my hand and touch it.I feel it.Its softness between my fingers.As soft as a baby’s bottom.The softness which makes it worth touching.The softness I adore.I close my eyes and pinch it with my long,sharp nails and it hurts. I nip it harder,clenching my jaws and squeezing my left hand’s fist tighter.It hurts and the pains spreads to the whole body like the wildfire. I stop.My hands,my legs,the whole body starts shaking.I shake in fear.I shake because the cold water they poured on us, to act as anesthesia was nothing but bullshit.I
shake because I am scared of the knife.Scared of the fact that the damage from the knife will be infinitely higher than anything I can imagine.Scared because I know the pain I inflict to myself with the nails is just a toddler’s pee compared to what Nchebere – the circumcisor is going to do to me.
I open my eyes and stare.They are the only organs of my body which seems to be functioning right.They never betray me.The day they will give up on me I will be a dead man.Apart from the clear skies,everything else looks pale and dull.Pale and dull and it fucking scares the hell out of me.I turn and goggle at the chap sitting behind me.Straight into his eyes with a hope of seeing something to hold onto.Some life,some  boldness,something to make me feel everything will be alright,that its just a cut like any other,a mere insignificant cut…But, his eyes are blank and i quickly turn away from him.
We wait,the ten of us if my eyes are to be trusted.We are all nude,arranged in a queue starting with the smallest.The circumcisor hasn’t yet arrived and the few hours of waiting,sitting on the wet grass from the morning dew makes it seem like decades.The anticipation is far worse than the ordeal I am about to endure. The older men who have been singing traditional songs overnight seems exhausted.They hum.Their voices weary and hoarse.I pity their effort but at the same time wonder whether they are going to use our fore-skins to make some soup to soften their damn throats.

     From nowhere,he appears in my mind.,I see him.I don’t want to see him at this moment but he appears and nothing can be done to purge him from where he is standing.He is wearing his favorite white cap,snow white.He stretches his hands to hug me but I am not comfortable with the hugs.I step back,stretch my right hand and
we shake.

“Are you afraid,son?”
“Yes dad.”
“Don’t worry son,you’re going to be okay.You’re
going to be a man.”
“Thanks dad.”
     I turn and walk away. Embarrassed.Going to be a man?Who am I?A woman?I have grown up in the family of girls,accompanying them to the canteen whenever it was dark to scare away the goons who might be tempted to snatch away their golden piece.I swear I never declined this duty.I did it because I felt that I am a man.But,just because of a small part in me, which has to be chopped off my father thinks I am not a man.That apart from the sexual organs there is no difference between my sisters and I! Even after topping in the mocks exams in the district, dad? C’mon man.What about staying by your side when you divorced mum?Was it not
manly enough?Ama you forgot?
I am interrupted by the cries and screams of the men who seems energized by something peculiar i cant see.They dance,raising their swords and thick branches of trees above our torso.Threatening to kill us if we don’t divulge our fake braggadocio and spat on circumcisor’s forehead.Yeah,we have to show the shitty pop
that we are tough.Tough enough to wrestle a buffalo.That his cut is something we could comfortably undergo while sipping a mug of maroa (some corn based local brew) from the famous Mwontune,EABL competitor hehe.At a distance, women ululate.A tremor in their voices tells you that they don’t have a cheery in this.That deep in their hearts they mourn with you.Its at this point the swahili saying ‘uchungu wa mwana aujuaye ni mama’ crawls and sticks somewhere in your brain.And you wish you had that chance to mysteriously vanish from here,to go hug your mama.Hug here quit tight against her bewilderment.Its something you have never
done.Its a taboo.But you just feel you can.
    We start moving,sliding our bare asses on the morning dew is the only movement allowed here.Sliding to the hell.I haven’t seen the circumcisor yet but I know the kind of a guy I am going to meet.Lucifer.The Que is moving quit slow and the anticipation is consuming me raw.I can hear the cries of others as they soak in the
screams of the elder men.Something they do to bluff the women standing a distance from us.Yes,your Mama must know that she raised a valor even when you’re a chickenshit.


You just have to pretend to be tough.

I face him.Its my turn.My legs wide apart like some experienced whore in those well paid coitus moments.I stare at him in his face.His rheumy,canny eyes scares me but I pretend to be fine.He keep staring at me and I cant tell what the hell is he waiting for! Oooh,I had to spat on this wrinkled forehead.I try.But my mouth is as dry as a well in kalahari desert.He then lifts his both arms and slap me on my thighs,hard.But the pains don’t recede the fear in me.I shake.The fear spread to the whole body.Even to my man,who now looks as if he has been struck by the lightening.He has shrunk to a point you cant differentiate him from a toddler’s phallus.Jane would have laughed hysterically if she ever got a chance to see him in this condition.

To vanquish any question about Jane.She is this lady with fine,straight legs and long hair I have been chasing for 3months now.All graced with a canny dry spell.She said no hole till I slide a ring in her finger!Its till yesterday evening that the truth unfolded before me when she kissed me on my cheek and said,go and be a man and win the jackpot between my legs.

He then takes a grip of my foreskin and pull.I hold the wet grass tight.Worms in my stomach rumble.My eyelids give up the stare and shut.I pass out.Darkness.


2 thoughts on “THE DAY I BECAME A MAN.

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