I still remember High school with all of its quaint subjects and overbearing teachers all over the place. When I was in my final year in High School, my life became more of what I did not recognize. I used to go through the days consciously, startlingly aware of every decision I make; and the day after recollect the previous day as if I was gazing through a veiled screen.
In our dormitories we’d sleep in an open cube of four people. In mine was a junior, two other form fours and myself.
Muli, a close bud of mine, would keep me awake after those doggone night classes (that ended at 10:30 with half the class fighting to stay awake)till midnight rambling on about his rugby training and painful shoulder. He’d narrate their game against Ofafa Jericho as though it was World War II and Hitler’s’ goons had just broken into the British flanks; and after a while, a sport which I totally held no regard for; or most probably thought was meant for headless barbarians, became an avid fan.
So at the beginning of the term he’d psyche himself up for the rugby season and pray earnestly that they qualify for nationals. Every games time when I’d probably be on my bed wolfing down a Chimamanda novel he’d be out in the pitch. Bearing tosses and turns, bruises and broken bones just to get to nationals.
He’d return in his Nike Pro Combat Gear, dusty and gleaming with sweat. His Adidas spikes a glistening red from the dust. A strange fire playing in his eyes. I could easily tell that this was his passion. What made him feel alive.
“Mazee Imanda leo nmefinya try tatu msee…” he’d proudly declare, that he’d scored three tries in a row.
Picking his towel and a bar of soap he’d head for the showers (I wonder though how he scrubbed himself, with a gunia, maybe?). I would turn back to Purple Hibiscus, trying to figure out which page I was on. (I used to fold the bottom right corner of the page-a practice my English Primary school teacher would severely disapprove of)
We’d go to class for night preps together and head to different classes. He was in 4A and me in 4B. Sometimes I would doze off in the middle of cramming those unbearably difficult calculus concepts.
I’d finally give in and place my head on the desk and stay half asleep and half awake; because an overzealous teacher on duty(Who usually happened to be a teacher on practice) might be prowling about; and I’d spend the entire of the following day at the farm, tending to clueless chickens.
The 9:30 P.M bell would ring, and I’d gladly drag myself back to the house to finish my novel.
Muli at that time would head over to the gym to lift 60kg weights (Ahem). To tone himself for their next game against O.J. And he’d pose a dramatic entrance into our cube, yammering about how every muscle on his dehydrated Kamba body ached. Well, he’s a decent human being, quite respectable in any sense and has a sense of humor that isn’t quite right. Grotesque, that’s the word (He’ll strangle me for this, you know)
I’ll never quite know how he manages to play a testosterone-charged sport and still afford to shine with a quiet polish.
He’d give an account of his day. I’d give an account of my day. He’d tell me which bird over the fence he was writing to and I’d tell him my ALA interview was coming up the next week. And then we’d pray. We took turns praying every day. Although we were four of us in the cube, only the two of us prayed. One was a self-declared atheist and the other was vaguely uninterested in religion.
When it was Muli’s turn he would fervently pray that God covers the entire rugby team with the blood of his son Christ(If the team was anything but slippery if covered by His blood) and that they’d suffer no injuries in the next game. He’d invoke the name of the Holy Spirit that it rains brimstone and fire on all of their opponents (He’d slip into Kikamba sometimes, and lose me also).He’d pray that they(The team) proceed to nationals. He’d pray that my interview would go through (Hallelujah). He’d pray for all of us. Amen.
And the fall asleep. That’s Baba Musyoka for you.(Oh, and I forgot to mention that he has a son called Musyoka, he’s yet to be weaned)