Peace Means War!

Is it not just outrightly annoying when a guy you don’t like hits on you? Like it is even an insult. I tend to wonder why guys would describe a lady they do not like as desperate when she makes passes at him while those same actions towards a lady that doesn’t like them is interpreted as chivalry… Hehe this is a man world. Anyway, am not on the keyboard to talk about hits. I just wanted to get it out of my head so that I can talk about more annoying things. Sooorry

When I was little, I was a very peaceful child. Peaceful does not quite fit to explain the kind of a child I was but you get the idea. I was the kind that had no problem with anyone, never used to make my clothes dirty because I didn’t play with kids such games. I never knew how to climb a tree like my cousin Mommy and it did not bother me since she always got me covered. Mommy was the kind of cousin that would share with you every spoil she gets in her escapades. Mommy was bold, she fought with boys and never feared anyone. My aunt has had a fair share of buying mwikos which always broke as she beat up Mommy. Mommy had dents every week, there was a time the slope that one has on the nose was flattened because some boy hit her nose. Well, the boy got more injuries I promise you.

I was not as bold as Mommy, in fact, I don’t even have the “scars of honor” that most people show when they are all grown trying to narrate how they got a particular scar. I do not have a burn, never broke my hand or foot to a point of getting a cast or even a band-aid. Let’s just say am flawless (apart from pricked pimples here and there). I feared everything, even puppies. The only thing that I have is a birthmark on my left cheek and my leg brought about by my mum’s love for pepper when she was pregnant with me. I also have a “kamama” (a beautyspot) on my right foot and some form of growth on my right hand that actually requires minor surgery. I think after the surgery, I would also be proud to seat at the seat of the people with “scars of honor.”

When I was little, I never used to hold an argument to the end. I would tear in the middle of it and the kids would call me a kamnyonge (a weakling). Well, that sounds harmless now but in those days being called a weakling was so bad, it is like telling a lady today that her eyebrows are not well-shaped. That’s a path you don’t want to tread guys, right ladies?

The thing is I wasn’t a kamnyonge, it is just that I used to take lots of water and thus they looked for any channel of outlet, even the eyes; especially the eyes. I wasn’t a kamnyonge, I just didn’t work well with someone blasting me or shouting at me, why would someone so little be so wicked? I still cannot hold an argument to the end.

So Sonn and Neri knew my weakness, they would come at me and blast me; Shout at me in the middle of an argument causing me to tear (please mark that I never used to cry, there’s a difference). They would mock me for being a weakling and I would run away to my mother. Mother did not offer so much help, she actually used to chase me outside the house because there was a code_ The code that no parents should interfere with kids’ fights if the kids were agemates. The only time that a parent was allowed to interfere was when an older child was involved. Apparently, my mum had taken this code way more seriously than the others because some mums would forget about the stupid code when they heard their children screaming from outside. You would see mothers come running to the playground to see who dared to beat up their child.

On the other hand, my screams or my running to the house when my adversaries came at me landed me into more trouble because my mother would actually beat me. She used to ask me if I have been beaten while farming for her ( this statement will make you laugh if you heard it in my vernacular). With time I realized that I had to choose my struggles, be beaten by my mother for reporting that I have been beaten by other kids or just letting it slide. I decided to choose the latter.

After some time, I realized that these girls were not going to one day stop making my life hell; they were not planning to stop anytime soon. Imagine a five-year-old closing her eyes and reminding herself that this time around she wasn’t going to cry, that she wasn’t a weakling, that she doesn’t have to run when the two girls came at her: That is how I went to the field.

I remember the day so well; I had braids or what we used to call pis or rasta. I particularly told my mum that I didn’t want the braids to be held in a bun, I wanted them free. I found my “girls” playing and immediately they saw me, they approached me with teases and the usual mockery. I could feel my eyes watering and I feared to even blink. My voice was also becoming hoarse and I knew that the moment I would try to speak, I would still tear. I wanted to run, again but I brushed the thought. The only thing that I could not control was the veins on my face that were popping out, these veins were the only things that were selling me out. Veins popping out meant you wanted to cry, talk of our village kids being genius.

One of the girls pushed me but I was firm, a tear fell (what the…). She called me a kamnyonge and pushed me again. In my quest to stable myself so that I don’t fall, I pushed the girl and she fell. It was a mistake, I promise you but when other kids saw that Neri had fallen, they formed a circle, they started cheering. “Fight, fight, fight.” I honestly did not know what had transpired, as things had just escalated. I wanted to run but the kids wouldn’t let me.

Tears were now flowing profusely and I wasn’t ashamed; I couldn’t help it anyway. I knew Neri would kill me and my mum would not even come for me. My defender Mommy wasn’t around. I couldn’t simply say I was sorry because, well, because that bridge had been burnt.

Now, kids’ fights in our village used to be very organized. I call it a village not because I lived in ushago (upcountry) but because I can’t call the place I grew up in an estate either as Nairobians call their places of residence. Now back to the fights. First, if someone challenged you to a fight, they had to take a small pebble and place it at the back of their palm. They would then challenge the person they want to fight with to hit the stone. The pebble symbolized a mother’s watch and even in those times insulting someone’s mother was the farthest you could go. The insult here happened when one hit the “mother’s watch”. If the kid being challenged hit the pebble, then the “referee” would progress to round two.

Round two acted as a confirmation that the kid truly wanted to settle whatever it was with a fight. So the referee would draw a line between the two kids and would ask the person being challenged to cross the line if they wanted to continue. If the kid crossed the line then that was it. I did neither but a fight ensued.

TBC…

 


You may also like

5 Comments

  1. Wonderful Charity, I love the compilation of ideas, i now have a glimpse of your childhood. Some of us tulikua your cousin Mummy, hehe…

    Waiting for the next episode, like this is what!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *