The Seed of Rebellion -Part2

The Seed of Rebellion -Part2

“Will I just die without killing anyone!” Wondered my dad, talking to himself. “Not really. Not me. Anyway, I ever killed someone. We fought and he go terribly injured. He later died.” That is the kind of person who would ask me for a panga to go fight people. I heard him with my own ears saying that very statement one evening before dinner. He was looking disappointed in himself. He had not killed a person, save for the consolation he drew from the thought that he ever fought someone who ended up dying awhile later.

My dad loved fighting. I’m told he was a boxer; punching people madly. He had learned boxing in the police quarters where he used to live with his maternal uncle who was a police officer. That there was a boxing club within the station and he was among the champions. He started to live with his uncle after the death of his father when he was still in primary 5 or 6. He grew up in towns; Nairobi and Kisumu. He ended up being someone who, even today, could be loosely classified among the ‘bad boys’ who feel good doing nasty things.

He rode boats that smuggled coffee into the country from Uganda (Jinja) to Kisumu port. I understand it was a great sport of always running away from, and trying to outsmart, the security officers who manned the lake and worked tirelessly to quell such illegalities. During those days, before he became a teacher, he was known for his boxing, drinking competitions, and love for women. His bosses would mostly motivate him by buying him crates of beer piled together to his height and he competes in finishing. He would also buy his friends such. He also smoked all that could be smoked and played in the renowned Ochieng’ Kabaselleh’s band before returning back to Kendu Bay to be part of Kendu Jazz Band where he was both singer and guitarist. He claims he was a songwriter too but I’m yet to come across any single song he did. He was truly a man of life. Swahili people would call him mpenda raha; if you know what that means.

Now you know why it would be insane to take such a person lightly when he talks of murder or when he carries a weapon and you’re within his reach. Now you understand when I say that killing would be an achievement to him; adding to his long CV of unwelcome habits. You could not tell what inspired him. I learned that people get inspired by different things and whatever may be weird for you would be a big achievement to another.

I did not disappoint my dad in school. Being a proud man, he always talked to his peers braggingly about how brilliant I was. When I first got position 1 in class 2, he was so happy that he had to go celebrate with his drink and came back very drunk. I didn’t really take that achievement of mine as seriously as he did because it was not easy to know how long any happiness would last. Besides, it would not make me immune to his quick slap and outburst. But one evening he came with a chicken and said he’s brought it to me for being number 1 in class. Needless to say, I only got one piece of it; one of the feet that step down! But I continued to excel in academics all the same. Did I take after my dad in class performance? Who can tell? Perhaps my mum could say something about this. But where is she to speak?

My mother saw my determination and enthusiasm for the school. I was very competitive in class, loved school, and even during holidays, I could not wait for schools to open. I believed it would be the key to my freedom; freedom from abject poverty. Freedom from the control of my dad. Freedom from his influence. I detested being like him. You’re yet to know anything about him yet. I sure didn’t know much too. My mum did. Therefore she asked me… “Paul,” she called, “do you think you will go finish school?”

That was a worrying question from my mum. I didn’t know why she had to ask me such. I didn’t think much about it either, but cautiously said “Yes, mam.” Then she asked a follow-up question, “Who will pay your school fees?” To which I responded, “baba.” It is the statement that followed that woke me up and kept me thinking… “Do you think this father of yours will pay for your school fees?” I didn’t know what to answer but shyly said “Yes!” The truth is, he had never bought me anything in life; not a sweet, not a pencil. At least to the best of my knowledge. But because he was a teacher, something just made me believe he would not fail to pay. Besides I was sure of passing well; well enough to qualify for admission into a good high school. But something would happen to my mum not long after this, which she probably had anticipated. That single incident, perhaps, changed everything in the course of our story as a family. {Here is part 3}

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Tunes Written by Otieno P.P.
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