Shiro Part 2: One Night in the Dugout

shiro part 1

I went back home at around 6 P.M. to face the music. Up until then, I had forgotten everything, including myself. I recollected by treacherous senses when I alighted from the Kenya Bus at Kikuyu stage. “Do I really have the reason or motivation to face my uncle at this time?” I asked myself. It was indeed such a mess! I knew my uncle would neither accept nor entertain any excuse for my misdemeanor.  He is one of those people you would never wish to mess with; he slapped you on one cheek so hardly that you would suddenly fall, and before you wake up, he would follow through with a firmer smack on the second cheek. You would think twice before trying to question his actions, or at least explain yourself.

This day was that day. The day my mother had always warned about – the dooms day. In my wisdom and understanding, I knew that today was the day of reckoning. A day never to forget. The harsh reality notwithstanding, I stood outside my uncle’s house at 6:14 P.M. and knocked at the door with unimaginable confidence. I knew he was already seated on his favorite spot near the door, resting his tired body on the divan. My knock was in itself a nuisance. He never came home later than 6 P.M., not as far as I could remember. He usually leaves Harambee House at around 4:30 P.M., and before the school children arrived home, he was already taking a warm bath in his one-bedroomed apartment house in the suburbs of Nairobi. Because today was not a school day, he would obviously expect me at home by latest 5:00 P.M.

It was now nearing 6:20 P.M., and I was still knocking at the door helplessly as darkness consumed the usual blue sky. I raised my head as if to confirm the transformation of the skies and witness the emergence of the stars, but in essence I was in deep thought. Was he really in? What about his wife and his three children? From outside I could not hear anything, but the light that penetrated the doors and windows gave me a clue. There was at least one person inside, either alive and awake, alive and asleep, or dead and gone to the angels.

After a short passage of time, I decided against all odds to cause fracas. I better face the devil inside than the angel outside. I was afraid of the dark, much less in this insecure urban area. I picked a heavy log and used it to hit the door with so much ferocity and fear. My confidence was subsiding, but the fear of the dark drove me to do the thing I had never thought of doing.

The noise woke up my uncle, who was perhaps halfway through his dreamland. He came hastily to see for himself the strange creature hitting his door at dusk. When he opened the door, I suddenly rushed through his arms and straight into the kitchen. I thought Mama Kemboi was there with the kids to protect me from this beast of an uncle. Unfortunately, the gods were never going to listen to my prayers. My possible alibies were unavailable for the first time since I came to Nairobi.

I went to my uncle and asked in a soft and inquisitive tone, “Uncle, where is mum and the kids?” His answer was a big blow on my left cheek, as I would reasonably expect. I could not wait for the religious second slap, so I bundled myself out of the house with the speed of lightning. Until today, I cannot remember whether I passed through the window or the door. All I can remember is that I found myself at the highway, running towards nowhere in particular. My body was tiring, and the heart was pacing unconventionally. I picked a perfect spot at the trench, near a tall and dark tree. I surrendered to the fate of darkness, the gods of the night, and whoever controls the city at night. I looked at the bright stars for a second and slept soundly in the dugout.

When you have been hosted by someone, do not take their kindness for weakness. Abide by their rules or shape out.

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Fredrick Chepkonga

Mr. Fredrick Chepkonga is an educator and writer in Kenya with great experience in writing and research on education, economics, and finance topics. He has passion in mentoring young people to develop responsible citizens and future leaders.

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