December 17, 2017

Horizon: A Stolen Boyhood

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By Mwangi Macharia

The horizon still beckons. The voice is greater than ever. The urge to search for my father comes in irresistible bouts. The same position I was in years ago is the same one I am in now. The window still gives a clear reflection of the horizon. My bags are packed. I am coming dad. What I will find I know not yet a leap of faith I take. My mother has nothing but an old photograph.

Your handsome face lit with a smile is all I have accompanied with the thought of why you ever left us. Truly I must admit my looks are yours. But has life harassed you or are you still handsome? Do you have a tummy or are you still in good shape? Are you the same cool guy I see on this photo with a Mohawk? Well before I know all that and more about you in this journey. I want you to have a feel of my life.

She told me you left us. There I was, nothing to tell my friends of my father. But I had to be strong for no one ever hit the pause button of life for you to come back. Here I was on my first day of school. Thoughts of being asked what my father does for a living scared me. So I avoided class for the first week. I feigned sickness. Mother took me to doctors, they diagnosed nothing. Church elders gathered in prayer. Congregants engaged in spiritual warfare for my life. They placed hands on me, spoke life and cast out death. But I was dead for too long. The thought of your absence had taken away the meaning of life.

Papa, I hope you will be proud of me for I was cleaver from a tender age. I love to associate that with you. As if brains are hereditary. All this is courtesy to my friend’s father who is a DDO (Daily Drinking Officer) who keeps blaming him for taking up his mother’s side thus the reason for his stupidity. Well I wonder whether doctors are stupid for that is what she is. Truth be told baba, I would rather my friend remains stupid in the eyes of his father other than taking after him for he would graduate to an idiot.

As I was saying. I was cleaver and I knew after fervent prayers, the believer’s act of denying God rest had to pay up in one way or another. The second week I rose up from bed and walked to the kitchen to greet my mum good morning. She shed tears, made calls to testify of the Lord’s doing, called my pastor and actually rededicated her life to Christ for God had done wonders. At least I have one who follows me behind on the judgement queue. For I hear that we shall be followed by our works.

Off to school I went. I hold my breath. Mum holds my tiny hand as I walk by her side. I wish it was you Baba. If only you saw how Kinjunya was bouncing next to his father. He was sure that, his father was his defender. Those muscles were not for nothing. But here I was with mum carrying me. A big man so I thought who can walk. She was busy pampering me. My only pride was to have a nail with nail polish on and the teddy bear that she left me with.

Honestly baba, was that fair. How does one raise a lion like a broiler chicken? This is jeopardising character and destiny. But I cannot blame her. It is a parenting crisis, so I understand. Parents think by pampering their children they will solve a lot. They think that this is the way to raising a young one. Many will even avoid disciplining them. They will say that they are taking alternative measures. They ground their kids. Telling your child to go and stay in her room is simply telling them to go and sleep.

Give them a spank. They will not die. If only mama knew this trick. I would not have feigned sickness and made them disturb the peace of oga at the top. I would have entered school like the rest but because I was pampered I wonder what would have happened when you were around. Would I have gone on the first day? Would I have swung on your muscles and played with your jeans. You denied me my first day. This is just the beginning.

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