Roses and lies

You could see tiny yellow lights in every home in Micheni that night. He walked from one home to another to visit and wish them well; after all he was their son. They saw him attend Micheni Primary School. They contributed to his fee when he was called to The Maseno School. He received their letters and warnings with equal measure. Their ‘work hard,’ phrases accompanied him to every prep session for four years until he finally graduated. When the K.C.S.E results were announced and he had made it among the top ten in his school, every hand that could shake his or pat him on the back in Micheni did not hesitate. He would be an Engineer. He would be the first of many Engineers that Micheni had produced; finally, Mzee Kizito’s son had done them proud. “I always knew that boy would make it, did I not tell you? Now, see, eh, he is in the newspaper. See, Allan Mwetu.”

“Now, we should tell our children to work hard, if little Allan could do it, why not them?”

“We need big people! Doctors, Nurses, Lawyers to fight for our land! Look, look at all these names in the paper, have you ever appeared in the paper?”

“You! Leave those goats alone, and go to school. Go and read and go to Maseno like Allan.”

His name rolled off the tongues of his people like the saliva they needed to utter words. He received a full scholarship to study at The University of Nairobi, only if he would take up Law. “What about Engineering? You were supposed to build a road leading to Micheni!” His Father fumed and cursed the education system, but his mother did not flinch. Every time her husband cursed the system, she would roll her eyes and say, “how would you know what’s best when you cannot even finish saying your a-ba-cha-da?”

Her husband would shout, “Woman! Have you slept hungry since you came to my house? Have you lacked clothes? Now, be quiet and let me speak!”

“My husband, I know you have always provided for us. Allan is a good boy and he will study and make us proud, do you remember what happened to your friend down the valley? What was his name?”

“Which one?”

“The one who planted pineapples the size of two heads combined.”

“Morris! Ei, alcohol does not kill a man; it is another man who does…ei! And why do you speak of him, ei! What they did to Morris, only God knows!”

“Morris did not have anyone to defend him, but if Allan works hard, he may be there for any of us in the future. Let him go to Nairobi, and ‘Boyi!’ (Allan would finally look into his Mother’s eyes and see what he knew would always guide him-her support) when you go to the city, do not get into bad things like drinking and going to the disco. Do not break girls’ hearts and forget your books. I think you are the best my Son, so go and work hard and do what is right and let God reward you as He Punishes those who go against him. Eh?”

“Yes, Mama.” His Father would only say, “Be a better man than this one talking to you.”

Excerpt from “Roses and Lies,” available as a free download on Smashwords

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