The Stories I won’t tell my children


I try to imagine how free my daughter will be with me to ask me that question “Dad you remember your first girlfriend?” That would send a smile on my face. I would question the guts she has to ask such private things. Halfway my smile I would end up figuring out that probably someone’s son is really trying to penetrate my little one’s heart with some made up promises of giving the world to her.

“Was it mum?”

“Was it mum what?”

“Was mum your first girlfriend?”

Now I know my daughter can keep up with that conversation. She would ignore my raised tone and insist I answer her if her mother was my first. Of course hell no! Her mother could probably be in the third group of tenths but I’ll have to moderate the reality with a favorable answer. I wouldn’t want to spoil her little ears with my quite accomplished dating curriculum vitae. To her, I would skip the story of Sarah.

My Sarah.

I don’t remember where she came from. All I know is that I had never seen such a beauty in my 14 years of life. She made my heart race. I admired everything about her; her voice, her round eyes, she had pink lips which I didn’t know what to do with and yes, they just looked good on her. I could sacrifice my chance to play in the class football team during break time just to watch her from the other end of the field as they played amiso, that game that girls throw ball at the person at the centre and she is supposed to miss being hit by the ball. Every time the ball would hit her my heart would miss a beat, she would look my way from across the field, our eyes would lock and I would send a cyclonic smile her way, she would blush but wouldn’t smile back, you know what that means, it means chase me boy, you ain’t there yet. So I would always find things that would drive me to her. If we were playing football, of course that one made of polythene paper, I would ‘accidentally’ kick the ball towards where she would be sited with the other girls and run after the ball. Some of my team mates thought I was just poor at football but I guess the girls knew my trick, she would kick the ball back to me, sometimes with all her strength while the ball would only move an inch. Oh, I loved that small effort.

No words were exchanged between us. It was love at first sight, I guess the only challenge here was that it was a ‘dumb love’; the love that says watch what I do then guess what I mean. I knew that Sarah would read between the lines and realize that Cavine really loves me. I waited though. I guess some of my inspiration for that waiting was drawn from some Philipine soap opera that used to air on KBC called The long wait - Kay Tagal Kang Hinintay. Got me thinking I should be patient.

Meanwhile, behind the scenes I had marked well my territory, I had already told the boys to stay off Sarah, she was mine. Of course, there were a few disgruntled fellas who thought that since Sarah was a new girl, anyone who felt like pursuing her could do so at will. Of course, that was possible, but I had an advantage, I was the class prefect. I knew I had to tame these boys if I was to have my Sarah. So there was this notorious list you had to forward as the prefect to the teacher on duty every evening; the noise makers and mother tongue speakers. It only takes two weeks of making good use of this list to send a message to the boys that I really meant what I said when I said you keep off Sarah.

I remember every evening when we would break from school, this girl made me follow very long routes. Because I had to escort her close to their homestead, if not physically then with my eyes, then later reroute to my original destination. Nothing excited me more than that moment when she always broke from her group of girls and joined me as we walked home. I can’t remember much that we said; all I knew was that she was mine, and everyone else was jealous. I suspected Vid was more jealous.

Vid was my best friend, and he was my only worry. In fact, when I told the boys to stay off my Sarah, he was the most reluctant. Now here was the challenge, despite the methods I had in place to keep everyone at bay, Vid was a different case. First, he was my friend, then he was as smart as me, we used to exchange the first position in class, so I couldn’t use that to bargain, I would have used that my prefect position to punish him all days of his school life anyway, but the other side of the coin is that his father owned the school, so no teacher would punish the director’s son in such a manner that I would have preferred. So I thought, maybe we just need to talk so that we agree on the boundaries. 

I didn’t like what I heard from a reliable source, another friend of mine, Ismael, that Vid had been seen around Sarah’s home one of those weekends. The three weekends that followed I used to branch at Sarah’s homestead, knock their door and ask for water for drinking. On all the three visits, Sarah’s mother was always there, but I cared less. Nothing made me happier than just seeing Sarah around and Vid nowhere within vicinity. But I think on my fourth visit the mother got a bit curious how on four consecutive weekends I had maintained going to her homestead, asking for drinking water and leaving smiling. So on the fourth week she asked me. ‘Kijana where do you come from?”

So I told her “National Housing”

“National housing iko wapi?”

“Hapo kwa D.O” but it seems like she hadn’t picked it yet. Them days, if she had Google maps back then it would have told her she is one and half hour to destination. That’s how far my love took me.

‘’You know Gor Mahia Bar?” I asked her.

“Of course, ang’eye (I know it)” she responded

“Yes, there. National housing are the White houses next to the AP post opposite Gor Mahia…”

“But nyathi wegi (son of my fellow woman), you always come all that way to come ask for drinking water here?”

“No no no, minwa,” I came politely defensive, “I usually pass here from my aunt’s place, the sister to my father. She lives just next to Ndhiwa Primary school there” I told her pointing to the direction of the school.

She didn’t look convinced at all. I stood still, hoping she wouldn’t ask me why I don’t usually drink at my aunt’s place before I leave. She didn’t, I guess she worked out the things in her head and let me be.

But then she told me Sarah told her I’m her classmate. I felt good. In my head I was like, ‘she has even introduced me to her parents? Nice’

It was my last surveillance visit. Not that I was afraid to go back and ask water for a fifth time, I wasn’t, I could do it ten times actually, but my father had his own plans. We were told we were moving school to my home village, Kobala, me and my brother. Sad story. And we were to move during the week, I was not going to have a chance to say bye to Sarah, and worst of all, I had not signed a truce with Vid yet. You can imagine what was going through my head on our 5 hours journey to Kobala. (The travelling hours has been reduced to 1 hour due to the improved road network). Hizo ni zama za kale. I was trying to pray that she waits for me. I don’t know what she was supposed to wait for, but just me was enough. I was afraid someone will just steal her away from me. I cursed the intentions of Vid for a year, I was there telling myself, I’m coming back for my girl after one year (when I’ll be done with my KCPE), and if I find Vid has done anything with her, that will be the end of our friendship.

Anxiety boiled in me as I wrote my last exam. I just needed to get back to Ndhiwa. The long wait? No, this was the longest wait. I took another 5-hour journey back to Ndhiwa. Let me clarify something here, lest you begin asking yourself how I was travelling between these two worlds like I had some means, relax; when your father has two homes, this is the liberty it comes with.

 “Did you find Sarah?” my beautiful daughter would ask me.

“Yes I did.”

“Was she happy to see you?”

“Well daughter, I don’t know, you remember I told you we had a dumb language?”

“I see, so she just hugged you and didn’t say anything?”

“No, daughter, I think our love was crippled too”

“What do you mean dad?”

“Well daughter, I found her on top of a mango tree, and she never came down to greet me for the 20 minutes I was there”

“What the fu** Dad?”

“Hey, mind your language child.”

“What the fu**!”

“It’s okay child”

“So dad, that means Mummy is not your first girlfriend?”

“No child, Mummy is my best girlfriend.”

“And your friend Vid, what did you do to him?”

“Nothing child. Bro Code.”

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  1. This is the best story I've read in a long time. Vid is still your best friend. And Vid took you to go and meet her. She didn't come down.