MY UNCLE’S CASTLE

I hit my nose on the door, and I cussed terribly why I had to pick that pen. I like banging stuff, throwing and breaking things when everything goes sideways. I can make a real mess , when annoyed that is. Critics will say its madness, I call it substitution antics in moments of distress.I clenched my teeth and prepared my fist. I wasn’t going to let go, you see I like revenge and its the door that hit me or at least that was how I thought. I felt it , i really did. I had to pass a message that I hate being treated badly. One would rightly put Mohandas “an eye for an eye will only make the world blind,” but justice for a wrong didn’t equate Gandhi’s quote. What I intended was to draw parity. But a question soon came to the fore, who will get hurt anyway? I immediately hated where it came from, I was just being denied justice.  

Then I heard my uncle calling. He wasn’t calling me though. I love it when they address each other by their names, its just amazing. You would love it too, but only when they are in good shape. When they are not , its more or less like an old dirge song ; nothing impressive. Listening to him calling and I had my nose to feel and rub ,just to confirm its existence and spread the uncomfortable feeling , I knew what the week would be like.

The car came unto a slow stop, I alighted and went for the bell. As I stood waiting , I watched with a heavy heart as the driver made a three point turn, waved and zoomed off. I opted for a taxi that day my uncle had gone. I knew my aunt too must have reached home and I was too tired for the push and tug at the bus station, worse, a line that never moved. More frightening were the young guys who saw an opportunity to prey on those waiting for the bus.

I could hear footsteps that stopped shortly then,confirmation of who was at the gate. I was the son they never had, she oppened the gate held it out for me. Gave me a warm evening hug , left me the gate keys and I could see her going to the back an indication she had taken the back door and into the kichen .

My uncle’s home had the very characteristics of a combat zone. The moment you stepped into the compound you could feel the tensions. I took my time closing the gate as I adjusted myself to fit the environment. I wasn’t going to follow my aunt so I gracefully walked towards the front door. I pulled the first grill and into the small veranda . Made a few uncalculated steps, the front door was open, so I lightly held  it outwards then gently pulled it shut. The lights were on and my uncle had his eyes glued to the television. I said hello, and a  little smile and decided to engage him not further. I knew what current affairs meant to him. 

I proceeded to corridor and to the door that led to the stairs, a little peep into the kitchen ,my aunt was busy. I switched the side lights and in a moment I was upstairs. The first door on my left was the study. To my right was my uncle’s bedroom. A little forward to my left was a bathroom and further forward was their daughter’s bedroom; its door shut. She was still young but was ready to take on school life away from home ; something I’m still utterly against. My room was a little inside . I took another small corridor and was at my door. I pressed the handle as it gave way. 

I switched on the lights, took off my jacket ,hang it on a coat rack and placed my bag on the plastic table I had mounted in my room. I crossed the floor to the window, pulled the curtain just to have a clear view of the outside. It had started raining when I got in. The rain was sputtering on the roof and falling on my window somehow. I couldn’t help but wonder how it feels to be in a battlefield. Syria, Iraq, closer home the youngest nation ; South Sudan. Places where you never know when there will be ceremonial spray of bullets, blasts and aerial bombardment.

At least here, there were no ping …ping and boom …boom … there were no dust bellowing, no casualties. I smiled at my little reassurance. But there were blast of rhetorics followed by long silent moments ,days or even weeks. 

It was after a while that I felt my legs numb, standing at my window had been longer than I thought. My head was pounding too from thinking. As I was leaving for my bed for a little rest, i could see the misty fog my breath had already formed on the window sparkle in the orange glare of the courtlamp.

My phone rung and thats when I realised sleep is a very strong ally. The caller was my aunty. Dinner was ready. Although I didn’t feel much with an appetite to eat. Adding insult to injury ; salt was not an option at my end on the negotiating table. Refusing to eat simply would mean ,giving a long testimony on why fasting is accepted in the Bible. 

There was something with my aunt though. She made me love cooking. It was an art she had learnt and mastered. I could feel the sweet smelling delicacies immediately I walked out of my door. The smell had taken hostage the whole house. 

On the table , was a beautiful shiny stainless deep bowl of brown chicken stew. In the middle, a rather dull bowl of well prepared pearl pishori rice. Not forgeting, small clear plastic bowls of carefully chopped pawpaw and pineapple. It looked a spooky sophisticated dinner in an elegant evening home. 

She called me son, a pat on the back purging me to serve myself. Sitting there, our eyes on our plates you could feel something in the air. Something that could not explicitly be defined. It was that silent dinner that reminded me the days my sister , mom and I dined together. We could laugh at simple and silly things. I remember asking my sister about her escapades. She would smile, a quick glance at my mom who then would be pretending to be a little serious with what’s in her plate. Then shoot me a look that said it all,” you know I will kill you.” But then she never meant it. My sister was a little older than me ,but she had a way of filling me in on her life. I missed her.

We cleared the table ten minutes to 9:00 p.m. and I passed the remaining bowl through the kitchen window. ‘Bottom line Africa’ was almost so i took a seat at a corner. At least I needed to know one or two happening in Africa and Kenya. The part I waited the most was Business Africa. As soon as that was done, I said my goodnight and I was gone. 

I had revised my sleeping timetable. Sleeping late had become a priority. It extended my time for planning and thinking. My social circle is a little  limited,that means little less time chatting on Whatsapp. Facebook, twitter and instagram is a little tricky. Being on social media is somewhat like having a monkey on my back that won’t shut up but like deep fried butter ; not good for health but you won’t resist .So I made a decision to institute a higher co-operation with myself ; a little moderation.

My best moments are when I talk to my sister and especially with our web cams on. We talk about everything and anything. I remember when she asked about my friend. I bluntly put the question back to her, “what friend?” She gave me a name and i just laughed, she surely doesnt forget anything.

During my normal days I attend classes ,sometimes as a formality. And at times with intent. There are couple of days I see someone who thinks he can always dissect what’s in my mind. And come out with solutions to what I think and don’t say. I think it’s stupid but I always wish him well all the time,though he’s never been anywhere near the truth.

At least a weekend in a month I visit the lake side city. I always wonder why I have to ,then 1963 Kenya’s independence comes to mind . I think I like the idea. In the end I always find myself in my uncle’s castle. 

A mystery I’m yet to understand is why, two incredibly brilliant people be so awkward at relating with each other in varying circumstances. Anyway, sad as it may I will never alter my epistemic selective landscape in my evolutionary direction of understanding, to look for possible answers that might perhaps illuminate the whole mystery.My Uncle’s Castle 

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