By Mwangi Macharia
The stench of ammonia stained the air. The sweet fragrance of the lavender scented perfume became disgust to the nasal faculty. My presence did not only introduce the stinging smell of ammonia but with it came the fragrance of cowardice. Mama saw my harassed face. It was hard for her. She could not imagine what had happened to me when she saw the tattered teddy bear. Papa where were you to comfort her? She clearly needed an assurance that all was well. I could not afford to cry. She embraced me tight and in her ears I whispered “mama, it is well.” I had to be a man. I was denied my tears by the lie that men do not cry.
Who said that men do not cry? Did God reserve tear glands for the women only? This pretense has cost many people their lives. They die of hypertension. Many wonder what causes this. The bottled emotions cause so much tension within. Tension winds the mind tight and it snaps. Well frankly speaking, I learned the meaning of hypertension today. I always thought it was a forgivable sin. It sounds like a transgression right? Well it is! I committed it. I pretended all was well when all was in shambles. I thought all would be well without you but now look! Here I was shaken, harassed, scandalized by life and its agents called bullies. Rejection had taken toll.
Mama was confused. She knew not where to go neither what to do. Thanks to God whenever it is dark the morning is always at the brim of its appearance. After the fight I had resolved to stay alone, so every time people went for a break I would seclude myself. Build my own castle, destroy it for I had no servants neither did I have a queen or just a friend to accompany me in the castle. I would do this over and over.
But this day was different. I made my castles as usual. I finished and got ready for the destruction process. Before I could throw a kick I heard a soft, smooth voice whisper in my ear. It was beautiful. It was unbelievable. It was the freshness of the atmosphere. The rekindling of a fire. I could not explain how I felt. For a moment I was lost in what to do. Do I turn or do I wait for her to come into my vicinity. I resolved to turn. There she was, smiling. Her little milk white teeth were well taken care of and she was never ashamed to flash them as an encouragement to many.
She knelt down and began building her own castle. I was mesmerized. No one had dared approach me let alone being my friend. I was an outcast. But now Muthoni was here. Her efforts to build a castle were futile. Every time she tried to build one it would collapse. Frustration was beginning to radiate from her face yet her cool she maintained. All she did was to give me glances and smile at me.
I could not stand to see her frustrated. I knelt down and slowly began to help her. As we built the castle she would tease by throwing some sand on me and giggle. This was fun papa. She was my first real friend. She cared not where you are. All she cared about was me. Yet a full man like you would not care for a product of your ‘manhood’. Before I realized it other girls had joined our fun fair. I could see the look of despise from the rest of the boys. They had tried to get the attention of these girls yet they could get none of it. Yet here I was, a helpless young boy with nothing to count on, no one to turn to, who had attracted the source of competition, which I competed not for.
Finally I had some who accepted me. I thought it was the end of my problems. But I was wrong. It was the beginning of worse problems and issues that could not be understood. My boyhood was slowly being turned to girlhood yet this was not trouble enough. They had more trouble with me Papa. Yet probably you were busy sited in a club puffing your lungs out and busy killing your liver all in the name of fun. Shame!