They live in our memories

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Back in High School, The Nakuru High School, we made memories that will forever linger in our heads. High school is a great source of tales because we discovered ourselves at that particular stage before moving to varsity where life is discovered.

George Kariuki was one of my classmates, dorm mate and cube mate. For that reason we had to be close, somehow, because my life usually doesn’t lean on any close friend. George is one memory I can’t forget.

He wasn’t tall. But being of light/fair complexion and a nerd gave him an upper hand when it came to girls. But he was not that type- the girl type. George was cute, if you were to rate him in a scale of beauty.

There is no rocket science in knowing that my friend had his roots somewhere in Central. I cannot recall the specific place. All in all, a fellow mudu wa nyomba, as kiuks would call their fellow tribesmen.

George was a calm and composed dude. A smart dude, both in clothing and between the ears. He would eat books and tear knowledge. When we experienced math blackouts, his brains emitted light to save the class.

Towards the end of high school, George became conspicuous. He never missed the top 20 list where some of us never appeared the whole of those 4 years. That earned him a crown of book wormers.

If you met George the first day, his aura and smile was so enticing that you would fall for him. But George was something else too. If you gave George your calculator, and he lost it (he had uncanny habit of losing other peoples’ stuff), getting it back was akin to milking a chicken.

He never felt remorseful. Looking deeply into your eyes, he would say, ilipotea sa tufanye nini?– at that point he would include you. You become part of him losing it. And that would be the end, that there is nothing that could be done under earth.

If George gave you something, and you lose it, then it was sure that you had to pay it. His face will not grin until he got your ass on his end. Even if it meant him chewing your blanket so that you would have terrible dreams at night, or even cutting your kidney and selling it to a dude ailing from kidney failure in Koch. George could even sell your shoe to compensate for his lost property. He didn’t care under what circumstance as you lost it; it had to be paid for sooner or later.

And that was George. A man whose temperament surpassed any human patient. When it reared its ugly face, it would soar high that his eyes looked  like the burning bush Moses saw. He would lose his cool. His face would show utter boredom, he would be bored by you that he could have chewed your eyes out if he was cannibal.

A man whose intel with books was so profound, going easy on studies and found his way to top of our class effortlessly, even when we spent more time on books than he did. His resilience was beyond tame. Coupled with his incessant determination, teachers developed a good attitude towards him. Something every student would like because it might beget other favors. I don’t remember a teacher liking me other than our dorm master and class teacher. Otherwise, I was a lonely soul in that sea of students.

You may ask what happened next. Well, George’s undesirable behavior of not understanding compromising circumstances had repercussions on me. My animalistic behavior was watered profusely by his temperament.

I remember George having lost my calculator. One that my old man had to sell a cow to get me. Not only a cow, but the only cow in our homestead. You can imagine what George had to say on the same- ilipotea sa tufanye nini? with no remorse in his eyes. In fact his voice had this dexterity of arrogance, which was easily reflected in his eyes. Eyes that said, you are under my spell, and you can’t do a thing.

In a world where you needed survival, every tactic mattered because in a matter of life and death, it is either you kill or you’ll be killed. So I sort for revenge. Having mastered the art, I faired well. I really wanted George to reform, and one way to do that included subjecting him to daily doses of misery. I don’t know if you know this, George.

I am the one who used to steal your shirts. During trips, I would soak your best shirt in the water on the floor of the ablution block while you slept. You remember when you woke up to wet shoes? That was me in my former self.  I remember you jumping out of bed because it was dripping wet, the works of my hands.  I know you remember me buying you some mandazis at the canteen from Simo, that was not out of compassion- we were just eating the money I stole from you.

These memories come. They stay. Even when you came to me saying your beddings vanished, I was the first one to complain that we lived in the same house with thieves who needed  to be torched, ash thrown to the dogs and not accorded any honor or burial. Among those thieves I was one. The ‘ngome’ we drank wasn’t mine; I was just sharing your goods. I never had money to buy the stuff.

If you ever found some notes missing from your lockers, lift that blame off others, I was part of the team revenge.

Years are gone down the line, almost 6 years. George and I have never met, though we talk on Whatsapp. George is in fifth year, pursuing medicine in Maseno University. Of course those brains needed a course with a name, and honor. He will be a doctor or even something bigger, with time. Which is a good thing, because we can hook up to relish on a few banters. We will recall of the moments, talk about our busy lives and even our future plans.

Then life will have taken a different spin. Our faces will have endured years and signs of maturity will have started drawing upon them. Our hands will be a bit rougher as we have to work round the clock to make ends meet. Patients will be waiting in those rooms, and beds with nil by mouth tags waiting for George to rescue them. With a white or blue apron and a stethoscope hanging down his neck, a nurse by his side, he’ll be walking down the corridors of hospitals, smelling of medicine flavours, accustomed to depressing scenes at the hospital.

On the other end I will be drunk with my books. I will smell of inks and books. My fingers will be tired of typing and keying in words, both meaningful and meaningless. That will be my hustle. Combined with that, I will have developed an academic beard, with huge glasses hanging down my nose, reading newspapers from a distance. A slim tie will be resting on my stomach, black suspenders running down my back and sharp shoes.

I will be sipping my imported coffee slowly, thinking deeply of an angle to give my story. My editor will have to wait.

Family and kids will come along. Life will cease to be mine. A stranger will start living with me, and I’ll share the same bed, I will call her missus, the mother of my three kids- probably with Mzangila Jnr in the mix. A man to proliferate the legacy Mzangila will have curved out. A man I will look at and hope that when he grows up he likes girls and not fellow men, because if he gets thrilled by beards, I will have failed as a man. And I will hate myself to the grave.

George, I hope you changed because I as well did. A career like yours where giving a patient the wrong prescription is easy, having that same behavior will only lead you to kill all of your patients. Getting out someone’s liver just because they didn’t smile at you will be easy. Such a prestigious career that involves human life calls for a change.

I stopped revenging. I could not hold onto it anymore because causing human suffering did not come with so much reward. It ailed me. And when I found God, I had to repent. So do I ask you that you forgive and forget whatever I made you go through. And life is a matter of moving on.

Some days to come we’ll hook up for coffee. We need to catch up a little bit, and share laughter.

Let us meet next Wednesday.


-Photo credit: blognca

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About Mzangila

Mentor, media consultant, photographer, editor, poet, writer, and counselor.

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