September 24, 2018

Horizon: A Stolen Boyhood 6

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By Mwangi Macharia

It was time for the cosmic dance. The twinkling in mama’s eyes harnessed the radiance in Mr Mukandi’s eyes. Their smiles made their faces glow as they exchanged quiet glances. Mama had already made tea and served it. I was seated quietly in my plastic chair as I sipped the tea and I knew better than to disturb the tranquillity of love in the room. Every sip of tea was done with precision and in it there seemed to be an encoded message that only mama and Mr Mukandi could understand.

Mr Mukandi gave a slight cough to break the silence. His hands were trembling slightly but he managed to contain it such that one could not easily notice. “The tea is sweet” he begun as he threw a quick glance at mama. I could understand him papa. He was trying to get words to start a conversation. It is never that easy papa. I wonder how you were the first time you met mama. Were your charms that good to get her once? Did you stammer or twitch? I am curious of what transpired then.

“Thank you” mama replied shyly. She continued to sip her tea gracefully. Mr Mukandi followed every sip and swallows that mama made. It was just in trigging to learn at how much we concentrate on something when it attracts us. “Your tea will become cold” mama teased Mr Mukandi when she realised that he had stared at her for a long time. To Mr Mukandi it was a surprise but in the eyes of mama a sense of reassurance was seen. She could tell he loved her. “Sorry” Mr Mukandi apologised quickly as he continued to take his tea. By this time mama was through.

The rain outside continued on and on. It was the secret unifier. He surveyed the room with a sense of kin detail. He was strategic. His survey was well calculated to end where mama was. A deep look into her eyes then he uttered “you are beautiful.” Mama’s face was a paradise of shock and bewilderment. Before she could digest that he quickly apologised and informed mama that all he was trying to say was that the house was beautiful. “its ok” mama replied.

I had never seen mama that calm and peaceful. This day I knew well I had the opportunity to be a child. One whose childhood was not stolen by being forced to be a man before time. My cup was empty. I had nothing to do. I took the television remote control and switched on to my favourite cartoon Scooby Doo. Focused on the TV I could feel mama glaring stare. The command was clear yet I disobeyed it. I knew she wanted to present the best of herself least she blew her moment with her suitor.

Mr Mukandi smiled. “I did not know you loved cartoons” he directed the question to me. “I do” I replied quickly. My eyes were still on the tv set when my mother’s voice set in. “This is what he does after school.” Expecting a rebuke from Mr Mukandi I was shocked to receive a complement but also a warning. He encouraged me to watch on and build creativity but this should be done with the balance of reading. This was absurd. Truly love is a heavy drug. He was the same teacher who used to sing to us how television was bad. Was this a form of corruption? Was he trying to buy my promotion skills? Who cared he had just saved me from the constant noise I received daily. He was my hero.

There was a brief moment of silence as they focused on the cartoon. I could tell that they were dry of words but as a good son I knew very well not to interfere with grownup talks. They are so complicated. I can say something innocent thinking I am starting a conversation and end up provoking mama to enact the Magna Carter of the house. This would leave Mr Mukandi to experience the forced exodus into the dropping sea.

A fart did the trick. They laughed out their weirdness as they began an interactive discussions. I am sorry papa I did not eaves drop what they were about. All I remember was after the laughter and the jokes had died off, mama opened her heart and for the first time in her life shared what happened between you two. How could you be so heartless papa? Truth be told you are a disgrace to manhood, a shame to maturity. Yet all you did you claimed to be out of love.

All I know is one thing papa it is time for the world to know the whole story. I will be silent no more. You I will defend no more for I know now that not all men are dogs as I heard them say just as it is not all Nyeri women are husband mechanics. It is time for Truth.

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