My friend is a story teller. The type of storyteller that will have you finish all his sentences. One segment of an episode will be something like
‘…Jana nimepelekwa ocha, wapi?…’ He will then look at you expectantly waiting for his words to be given back to him. And so ‘Ocha…’ you will say. This type of storytelling will have contribute an equal 50-50 to the whole story.
My friend is the model storyteller. You know, the ones who our serious-faced sweat-trickling-down-their-face in-the-hot-sweltering-afternoon-weather Teacher of English taught us about.
…’a good story teller should have the ability to indulge their audience in the story…’
Remember such ? No? Then it’s time you went back for your school fee mate. 🙂
My friend is Alex. He’s a fun person to be around. The guy can whip up a story from the blues and make it seem authentic. So authentic that you’d be pardoned to believe his uncle once ran the Kenyan branch of the Triad. I mean, Alex can suck some air into his mouth, gurgle it and spit out a story for anyone to listen
That guy is a walking audiobook. Of lies.And the thing about such story tellers, the ones who make up stories, is that, their minds are over productive, mostly due to idleness.
And idle is what me and Alex were doing on this day.
6:30 P.M. The sun, wherever it stood, was rounding up its day’s activities; calling back its rays and tucking them within the folds if its coat, leaving darkness to settle upon us with a speed akin to that of a miraa truck. With the setting sun, the vegetable vendors manning their wooden and mabati kiosks were closing up: hurling their meager stock of tomatoes, cabbages, local gossip and onions into their oversized Naija bags.
At these times, me and the boys -fellow form four leavers who had embraced the professionalism in idling- hovered around our favorite spot. Favorite spot was a manhole cover located at the intersection of three murram roads. This spot had access to WiFi from Brayo’s cyber café. And it was this free WiFi that glued us to this exact spot. They say that the internet is filthy. We were the flies…
Pursuant to provisions of the Idlers’ rulebook, we did nothing. Just watched people pass by. Men and women returned back home from work. Tired. Their shoulders hunched forward, feet almost dragging, roadside dust settling on the soles of their feet. A woman, huddled in a black oversized trench coat, rushed by on her way to her night shift at Public Relations. Adulting is hard.
It may look stupid waiting by the roadside and looking at people. Don’t judge. Our parents should have been proud of us; we didn’t normalize doing drugs; or robbing people of their kidneys; or getting arrested for drunk fighting; or singing like this… Idling was our thing. Our normal. That day was never meant to be normal though, at least not for me…
Having, spent three months looking at passersby, we had memorized everyone that went through our road. We could tell the exact time the guy who ran a clothes shop in town would stagger back home , and we could also tell the people that absconded their duty to build the nation by skipping work due to their failure to make an appearance on our road.
On this day, it happened that a stranger had just arrived in the area. We knew he was new to the area by the way he walked. Slowly. Like he was being pulled back to wherever he was coming from. Looking around as if had just arrived from Kazakhstan. He was the new kid in school, lost and clueless and not really knowing whether to go back home, sit on the floor and cry his eyes off or suck it up and act like a normal student. He was lost
We had been looking at him for long. And he must have felt our eyes running across his body like latitudinal and longitudinal lines across the globe, because he looked right at where we were and stared back at us. So much as we tried to avert our eyes by looking elsewhere, and of course, whistling, we had been caught red-handed and, as if to prove this, New Kid At School started walking towards us as if he had just spotted the spaceship back to his home planet parked right beside us.
…I have always had an eye problem. It has been with me for five years, maybe more. When I first visited an optician, he conducted some eye tests that involved blinding me with a small bright torch to an extent that I began to question his intentions. He then reported whatever was being recorded behind his brain to a small notebook he had perched in his breast pocket. He must have been writing down the ingredients to some new dish he’s been working on for all I knew. After further deliberation with his notebook, it was decided that I had this condition called myopia. This meant I could not really see beyond my nose
When this guy was almost getting to us, all my friends took off. Whatever scared them was unknown to me. They must have been trying to prank me for all I knew. So I stayed. Jokes on them. This was my turf. Nothing was going to scare me in my turf. To see who this guy really was, I had to squint my eyes as if looking through a needle hole.
Then I saw it. We’re it not for myopia, I’d have run.
I had no time to run away for his steps were too large, he could cover kilometers in a single stride. I only gulped when he got to me…
I look up and all I see is the shape of a grown man head. Big. Big enough to be an oversized pumpkin. He didn’t talk to me. His actions did. Because apparently actions really do speak louder than words. His hands, broad and wide, descended rapidly towards my face and I could feel the pain from the slap even before he hit me. Next thing I saw I was the ground coming fast towards me. Accompanied by a salty taste in my mouth. That must have been my soul leaving.
Day turned into night on me in seconds. Or maybe someone turned off the lights… that I don’t know. But the daylights had just been beaten out of me. By my father.