We never really did talk much. Except when we had to. Which was never too often. Because we were boys. And boys don’t have to talk about their feelings. Any love or affection is implied through conduct.
I can vividly recall the few instances we were really serious with our talks. The first time was in 2006. Sven had just been born. And I had just received my first suspension from school. You looked at me with pity and asked me what I wanted in life. I did not have the answer then. Am actually still struggling with it even today. I looked at you. Quiet and moody and annoyed and full of immaturity. With a bad case of acne to boot. You thought I was being silly. I was just being a teenager. Just 13 years earlier you had had more or less the same problems. You told me to get serious. I did not even know how to start doing that. You asked me to make up my mind and get my life together. I found your talk dull and boring. You clicked at me. Probably wished you could smack the hell out of me. But it was not 1998 anymore. And I was long out of childhood. So you left me sitting there on Grandma’s veranda and went away. Visibly angry and thoroughly disappointed in me. I later felt so bad…
The next time I got suspended, in form three, you looked at me and shook your head. You thought I was a lost cause. Mother was already tired of me. I was shaggy and lanky and stupid. My moods swung dangerously. And my judgment was greatly messed up. I was mostly low and pissed at the world. My hair was shaggy and brown. I looked like I had anaemia. I remember Belinda asking me what was wrong with my hair. Or whether I was trying to dye it. You gave me 100 bob to go see a barber. I did not. You took me to work with you the following day. To try and keep an eye on me. Mother appreciated your gesture. I did not. I thought you were being uncool. I wanted to detest you but I could not. I sat there in your office. Bored to the core. Looking at those big ledger books and scanning through journal entries. I understood what they meant but I did not like them. You gave me a ride on your motorbike and dropped me home at 5 p.m. You may not have known it then. And I have never really told anyone, but I still recall every second we spent together. They still mean more to me than I could ever express in words.
I will have you know that I am yet to finish my CPA studies. I honestly don’t see myself ever doing. Somehow I just lost interest in crunching numbers and balancing huge sums of money. I still have many of the course books with me; including the Auditing & Assurance book you gave me. And KASNEB keeps sending me messages. Am thinking of blocking them. I just want to make money. Not account for it. My interests now lie somewhere else. Don’t be pissed. We already have too many accountants anyway; Jess, Paul, Joyce, Marya and Quin . I think I should diversify and do something else. Donge?
Do you remember April of 1998? A few months before that bomb blast? You had just bought that black “Hero” bike. You were so proud of it. It was your baby. If it were up to you nobody would ever have touched it. But somehow you let me in. Well, me and Ford. You taught us how to ride it. Ford mastered it before I did. I was jealous. You remember me throwing a twig at the front wheel when he pedaled by. He crashed so hilariously into the hedge of Baba Elly’s compound. I let out a wicked cackle. You did not appreciate the mischief. You whacked the demons out of me. Then bought us fudge. And forced me to pedal that damn bike. I was too short then. Pedaling was a tall order. I failed. You whipped me some more. Ford laughed. You slapped the humor out of his mouth. We both sat there sobbing. On that bench outside the small kiosk you owned. You were playing cards with Timothy, and Jim and Elijah. We thought you guys were the coolest set of people. I remember convincing Ford to “steal” your cards so we could play. You found out and caned us properly.
I celebrated my birthday in style this year. I was on the precipice of death. Well, suicide. But that’s for another day. Maybe I will tell you in person someday. Anyway, it was not as nice as that of 2014 ; when I was in my last semester of college. The one for which you sent me that surprisingly romantic M-Pesa package. I don’t know how you remembered my birthday. But I was elated. You told me to celebrate it and have fun. It was the first time in my 23 years of life that I ever threw me a birthday ‘party‘. And it was all thanks to you. We drank away most of that money with Ericko and Harry and Khamisi. I also bought Oliver and Leticia some beef to celebrate. I never did thank you enough for that package. Just know that I remain forever grateful.
My mind still remembers you taking me to the assistant chief’s office to sign the application forms for my ID. The one that took longer than necessary to be processed. I also remember you taking me to that football field near Hillview Estate, and laughing at me as I rode your motorbike into a thicket. Belinda almost fell down in stitches. There are days when I recall those moments and I shed tears. Do you remember the day I rode full speed into that puddle of water on that path near the Kenya Power sub-station behind Hippo Buck Hotel? I drank a mouthful of that dirty disgusting water. I had to change at your place. Belinda gave me your t-shirt. And you would not wear it again because I had returned smelling of my perfume. You hated that spray. It was Limara.
I don’t use it anymore.
Do you recall the day we went to bury Alice? We rode all the way to Kendu Bay in that motorbike. With no helmets or jackets. Like two bad boys. You never did shed a single tear for her. I found that strong and extremely masculine. I still admire that composure
I haven’t watched any Champions League game since the last one we watched with you in 2014. I still don’t know how I will watch this World Cup edition without you. Maybe I will go catch a game with Belinda and Sven and Maningning and “Stongy”. And I will reminisce on the good old days.
I still recall with pain the last time I saw you. We had gone to bury Beatie. You thought I was too bulky. You told me to reduce my food intake. And go back to the gym. I did and I’ve since shaved off 17 kilos. Am still big, but a lot less chunky. You saw me off at the bus stop right there in front of your gate. And promised to invite me over for mbuzi choma to officially launch your dala. It was supposed to happen in December of 2015.
You checked out before we could do that.
You broke my heart!!!
After twenty five months, I finally got around to deleting your phone number from my contacts. Of course I still have it off the top of my head. But I know I will never call it again. And that pains me so much. I still miss you a lot. But my grief has subsided. I no longer sob into my pillow in the dead of the night at the thought of you. Or your young family that was left fatherless. I now recall the moments we had with nostalgia and a smile on my face. Am grateful for having shared your life with you.
You did break my heart Wuod Dani.
Rest in peace Okoth Ogwe (CPA).