Shiro Part 3: At My Wit’s End

At your lowest moment, you need someone or something to startle you and push you to your limits. In this episode, it was cold and the silly act of a thief that pushed ‘me’ to the edge.

I was woken by the sound of a hooting bus before dawn. The first idea that came to my mind was to jump out of “bed” and visit Shiro. I would search for her everywhere I could, including her mother’s silo in Nyandarua. That is all I could gather from my night’s dream.

Now it was approaching daylight, and I was in no bed. I was gazing at the sky by the roadside, shivering from the morning cold. Perplexed, I hastily jumped with fright like a startled kangaroo. As I ran towards nowhere in particular, I could hear my heart beating like a drum.

I had never found myself in such a precarious situation before. I remember I spent a night far from home when I was in Grade 3, but not outside in the dark. The thought of sleeping inside the trench caused more anxiety and confusion.

My feet started to ache, and that is when I realized that I was running without shoes. The rulers of the night – those who pick money from your pocket as you look at them and you can do nothing about it – had made a dime with my shoes, perhaps for lack of a better option.

You see, my shoes were not the kind of garbs that you would fancy. You just wear them out of necessity. If it was today, I could not lose a lungful over it, but at the time it felt like I was robbed from head to toe.

Anyway, forget about the bare feet and the lost shoe, dear reader. Come and sit with me under the gargantuan canopy at the fringes of Lower Kabete.

I sat for hours, thinking about how I got there. I silently recounted the previous day’s events and felt sorry for myself. All the misfortunes that ensued in a day equaled those of my entire lifetime.

My dream of befriending Shiro was blown away by the winds of the night. Then I wasted valuable money on bus fare. I also “donated” my shoes to people who don’t know how to work. As a bonus, I caught cold overnight.

All these experiences were outrageous; but nothing is as sorrowful as losing the trust of an uncle. The man who took care of me in the lowest moments of my life, gave me food and education, and taught me how to cross a busy road; and here I am, running away from him like a fugitive of the law. How despicable!

I cried with remorse and promised myself that I would be a good boy henceforth. It was a moment of retreat. I, the son of Mr. Chongwo, was becoming a payload, and the prevailing circumstances were the catapult, upon which I was pulled back and suddenly propelled to greater heights. Yes, I decided the situation was not going to hold me down. I was going home to my uncle, to receive my strokes and look forward to the coming school week.

With a gleam of hope, I stood on my feet. Nevertheless, the Satan that obscures all men found a restroom on my eyes. When I turned my face towards the road whence I would begin my healing process, I saw a girl, probably one summer younger than me. I forgot my painful bottoms and the thorny path ahead.

At this point, ALL men agree with me, there is nothing as fulfilling as the sight of a girl who reminds you of the one who causes you sleepless nights. To me, this girl was Shiro. She wasn’t, but she was, and I was convinced she should be.

I gathered the remaining ounce of energy I got and whistled like a village boy calling out his hunting buddies in the woods. Please pray with me, fellow men. “May the Grace of our Lord…” Whatever happened between then and the time I realized I was still barefoot remains a mystery.

By and large, the hyena in men is not merry. Christmas is. Someone once said that men are animals; they talk like angels, behave like monkeys, and live like beasts. The few minutes of fantasy can take a man to prison or gutter a woman’s dreams.

Ladies, do not trust what they tell you on whims. Test their patience, and get to know their limits before saying YES!

It is during the few minutes of make-believe that men become most romantic. They will sound like God-sent angels and promise you what they themselves don’t have or can’t even dream of having.

“Every time you look at me and see me smiling, just know that I am thinking of you!” The idiot is thinking about Shiro, not you! Run.

Well, I was finally able to shake off the beast in me. Perhaps because I did not have shoes, thank God! The 24 hours humbled me, so I went home to face the music, AGAIN!

There is an African proverb that says, “There are no shortcuts to the top of the palm tree.” I would surely and boldly face the consequences of my actions so that I could fight another day; otherwise I was at my wit’s end.

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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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