A Father's Heart.
“ Are all things set? Ensure that you have packed everything that you will need for the school." he said as he tried to tuck in my trousers. He adjusted my tie to its right position smiling broadly. ''You know what son, I just want the best for you. I can only give you what I never had the chance to experience back then.During my days, schooling was the best weapon you could have for a better future and, it still is!'' My dad told me. Tears rolled down his eyes and I tried to avoid eye contact at the same time understanding his bewildering state.
My father was a single dad. He told me that my mother Left us the same day she heard the cries of the long awaited baby. They had stayed together for almost a decade without a child in their life. Life with my dad was like a two way bridge. We shared the best of moments. We had discussions like age mates and called eachother bro- a brother from another mother.This was going to be the first time the two of us were going to be away from eachother for a very long time...I understood his feelings.
“ Oh my! I almost forgot, my medicine!” I said shocked. mine eyes almost coming out of my eye sockets. I had been taking my supplements for a long time now. At times my father would explain to me that I had to ensure the medicine was taken at the right time. I even got fatigued by the daily doses.
At times, I just wanted to stop taking my supplements but dad, he told me not to ever stop taking the medication. It was meant to boost my immune system until I was 18years old. I couldn't wait to be an older person. He said that ever since mum left, I had been relying on the same drugs for my life. “I understand bro, hakuna shida.” ( no problem) I replied.
Life In Boarding School
Life in boarding school was going to be different. But again, I had to be tough and stand alone. I was a social person, and I believed having and making new friends was not going to be a trip to Mars. As we drove into the school compound , my heart skipped a beat. I couldn't understand why I had a premonition. It's like dad had the same feeling. What enthralled me most was the fact that this time round he managed to hide his fears from me. As much as they were written in his eyeballs, nothing hides like a true feeling of a blood thicker than water.
All the administration went on well. I was taken to the school of my dreams. I was happy. What more could I ask for? A melancholic feeling popped in me. Dad beckoned . We sat under a big eucalyptus tree. Its branches swept through my heavy self. The cool breeze from the ocean, a distant miles away could be felt-touching and caressing me. Like it knew what was bound to happen, it whispered and sang to me. A Song of hope and determination.
A white dove flew past me. It’s flattering feathers paved its wings. It cooed a rhythmic tone. As if it knew what I was feeling and it wanted me to be ok.
“ Bro, even the dove is happy for you, you know?” said dad, smiling as he watched the dove . He wiped the dried leaves on the bench using his handkerchief and he sat next to me.The dove moved it’s restless tail so fast. For the last time, it cooed and flew away.
"At least you have a friend over here.He will be coming to visit.” I remembered when I was ten years old. Dad had taken me to the children's camping for the first time. A dove cooed on a tree and it’s droppings fell on me. I didn't like the first experience. I refused to continue with the camping. We went back home with dad. I swore never to go back there again. Having thoughts about doves, made me have goose bumps.
It was now getting late. Father couldn't wait any longer. His presence once again for the first time made me feel afraid. Afraid, that I was going to be alone and afraid that he was going to miss us. He gave me a tight hug. I didn't want to let go. He held me in his arms and tightly squeezed me. “ I love you so. Always remember that you are in my heart." He quickly drove off past the school gate. As he left, I could see him wipe his tears on the left side of the car's side mirror.
I stood there watching him go away. It was going to be a long stay in school. But again, I knew that should he miss me, he was going to come to visit in school. The teacher doing the admission was so kind. He helped me with my bags and directed the headboy to take me to the dormitory where I was to stay throughout my schooling. The environmental looked so welcoming and pleasant. Within no time I already had a few friends that I had made. One particular friend of mine who I liked so much was Jeremy. He became my close friend from the first day that I stepped into that school compound. He had helped me serve, showed me where to fetch water and did a little orientation to show me the school's environment. Jeremy was in form two, a class ahead of me.
One evening as I was preparing to go for supper, Jeremy my cube mate came in from games. Jeremy was a noisy student. Any time he walked into the dormitory, everybody knew he was home. We called our cubes home. He was holding the basket ball in his hands as he tried to dribble. “With my basketball skills, very soon I’ll be the best player in this school! I am Bryant the Second, or even Michael Jordan.” He said bouncing the ball and threw it at me. I pounced in the air like a leopard pouncing on its prey to catch it. I realised I had some super cool basketball skills too!
“ Sasa mtoi wa sos! "He greeted me in swahili (sheng). “gota bana.wewe ni mtu wangu" ( Hi rich kid. You my guy.) He greeted me in our usual fist greetings.
I was always happy to see him.
“ Today it’s rice and beef. Our favourite. You better do faster and go serve early. You don't want to miss food like you did the last time.” Said Jeremy as he took his serving plates. I removed my drugs from my box and placed them on my bed. I scooped water from my backet and swallowed the pill. The taste was always irritating. The only good thing was that I had gotten used to it.
“ Na wewe, hizi dawa zako utameza kila day kama ARVs?”
“ And you, will you be taking these drugs daily like ARVS?” Asked Jeremy as he laughed. Everybody busted into laughter as I tried to explain to them that they were my supplements. That I had been taking them since I was little. They made fun of me as they walked out of the dormitory to go for supper. I told Jeremy to go ahead and that I would join him soon.
That moment, I thought of so many things when I was all alone in that quite dormitory. I could only hear voices of roudy boys going for supper and a mixture of laughter. I felt dejected and disrespected at the same time. I didn't have the courage to speak. I had never felt like I did that day. I took the medicine bottle from where I had kept them. The writings had been removed. I couldn't read the name of the drug. I wanted to throw them away.
“ should I throw them away? Should I call on dad and tell him what is happening? Should I take them to my class teacher to carry them for me? All these crossed my mind and I didn't bother. I didn't want to know what they thought of my medication. That evening, I could not eat. I took my sweater and went to class.
© 2021 Millicent Okello
John Hansen from Gondwana Land on August 17, 2021:
Yes, I haven't seen much written by you recently. Or didn't catch it in my feed in time. Good to hear part 2 is coming soon.
Millicent Okello (author) from Nairobi, Kenya on August 16, 2021:
Hello John Hansen. Long time. Thanks for the complement. Part 2 of The story will be out soon.
John Hansen from Gondwana Land on August 16, 2021:
This is a nice story, Millicent. I enjoyed it, and hope there will be a part two.