As we wound up our final year at Box 1, the school, as is the tradition, invited our families to came and wish us luck. And, like in every other public boys’ boarding school in the country, that luck to us meant loads of food.
So you can imagine my disappointment when Justin Fundi, stationed at the school gate to usher in and register parents (Justo, someone asked whether you and your ilk are currently IEBC karanis) came to inform me that my delegation had arrived.
Excited, I quipped, Who has visited me?
The Man Beater (The entire school had somehow come to know the old man by name)
I understood Fundi’s coldness towards me; he had already seen signs that I would bring nothing to the communal feast later that evening. But I still insist he had an obligation to cheer a brother up.
Anyway. I met the man beater, and a quick check around his grumpy station wagon confirmed my fears. No food for me.
Where is mum?
We split roles so she visited your brother and I came to see you.
I did not want to pursue further, I knew every answer to every question in the conversation we would have had: you have been home a lot so you need no food and you have worn us out with the trips here blah blah blah. If anything, we were at that period only maintaining essential contact; that I had been visited in the first place was enough show of goodwill. So I let that dog lie.
If my parents did not visit me, the school would. I had made a name sure enough to ascertain that.
Can I have a look at your newspaper?
Sure, here. You can check it out as we go, I see the prayer event is about to begin.
So we went for the event and it was boring and I did not hear anything because I was reading Mantalk and the sorry attempt of a match that was Femalespeak. (I read the latter every time out of pity)
After the event, The MB had a short lecture: You have heard all that has been said and we have spoken a lot in the past. I know you don’t look like a lot to most people anymore but to me you have not changed. You are a champion. I believe in you. Remember that as you sit your papers.
We both knew that was the end of our being together that day; that was too emotional it had to be saved for last. I began mouthing the words ‘The school is not giving us lunch today,’ but then, from heaven Aduda showed up. They exchanged a few pleasantries, the MB told him to man up to the exam too then left.
Okay bye. Remember what we have talked.
And God was present too, the MB’s wagon just responded with one stroke, so I was saved the aibu ndogo ndogos of ebu ita marafiki wako mnishikie hii gari kidogo. Bye, MB.
My mother has sent me to check whether you have been visited, I see your dad was here, Aduda mocked.
Fuck you! Let’s pass through class I pick my spoon. (F you too if a spoon in class sounds odd to you.)
Boy, had that chimp Aduda been visited!
As the dishes were being opened, I silently thanked the Creator for Aduda and Aduda’s parents and my mother, God bless her living soul, choosing to love me less and the militancy of the MB. All things happen so your name may be praised, I concluded. Still, Lord, this would have been much more fun had Aduda been visited by fewer people. I’m just saying.
So we are there tearing away chicken breasts and soup and soda, which I avoided even then. Everybody is having fun and I am trying to appear cooler than Aduda to his parents. You know those friends who laugh at your parents’ jokes and say thank you and please and praise their cooking and volunteer to do every little task until you wonder whether they are trying to get you thrown out so they can take your place? That’s me.
But then the fun and games came to an abrupt stop when Aduda’s brother Amigo stood to help himself to a third serving.
No! Amish no….wewe umeshiba sasa! Aduda shouted.
Amigo, thinking it was a joke, threw Aduda a seriously dude! look before proceeding with his food business. But in an instant Aduda was on his feet and standing chest to chest with his muscular brother, astride a dish of stew and with one hand of each brother firmly on the serving spoon.
This is my food, I will need supper you know? You have been home all along and here you are gobbling up like an underfed kid.
Kwanza usinitukane Adush. This is not your food, this is just food. And I will eat to my fill.
Their mother, awash with embarrassment, shouted, Wee, mwana Adush, all this food. Their father just sat and watched, seemingly pleased by his sons’ manly appetite. The sisters and aunties just sat looking giving me the ‘we are sorry you had to see this’ look.
Mimi my main worry was what would happen if the battle went offensive as things stood. So I moved with speed to seal as many dishes as I could and move them away from the two marauding elephants. Adush, seemingly aware of the danger at hand, also started shoving his brother away from the food.
Their mother moved in to try and quell the fight, but she didn’t seem surprised so I guessed that was nothing new. When Amigo saw that Aduda was not relenting, he let go of the spoon and delivered a square punch to Aduda’s stomach, causing him to spit a full gizzard. The poor chimp wailed and bent clutching his stomach, as Amigo placed himself to deliver an uppercut.
Grow Up! Their father barked. And just like that, the fight was over! I wondered why he had to wait for so long. As people inquired whether Adush was hurt, I wondered how he had swallowed that gizzard. The father seemed to share my sentiments, as he said, Aduda, learn to chew your food before swallowing, it is what teeth are for. I thought that was hilarious, and we both started laughing, but I stooped because of the look Aduda gave me.
Without question, the party was over. I was glad, and also appreciative of the shot Adush had taken for the team to achieve that. With Adush’s foul mood, I was tasked to find containers in which to transfer the leftovers, a task I executed with flawless expertise- with the help of their sister. Call it a case of vita vya panzi.
And we had such a feast, the last supper, that evening! Aduda delivered me a similar punch for mocking him, but I am not complaining. Food and two friends is a fair price. Two friends, their father and their sister; both I have kept to date.
After eating, I, assisted by a few form ones, cleaned all the dishes we used. I could have cleaned Aduda’s feet too, but even he never used to clean them.