BLUE COLLARED CHANE
While everyone looked forward to school breaks and holidays, Chane wasn’t particularly excited to go home for the December holiday. And the reason was simple, intense manual labor. There was once a time when he had gotten a brief holiday to celebrate public holiday. As he trotted closer to his home, he could make out the image of his father in the shadow of the mango tree that was behind their home. By then, Chane was merely 10 years, still carrying the excitement of a good grade on his homework. Hardly had he made it within a 10 ft. range from where his father stood than his father said, “My boy, you’re back in time. Put that bag down and go fetch for us some water from the Umoja tap.” In that moment, Chane felt all the weariness he had from school dissipate and quickly replaced with a murderous rage. With his siblings already at home, couldn’t papa be more considerate and send someone else! Couldn’t he even bother to ask how his day was! Was he the only child good for hectic house chores?
Chane now being much older, had already made peace with the fact that certain special chores that hadn’t been done for the while that he was away were waiting for him. In his bag, Chane hadn’t forgotten to pack his worn out socks, they would come in handy when he has to slash the front compound that had harder grass. He hoped that his very long staff used to pick mangoes from the tree hadn’t been misplaced or tampered with. If it was, he would have to climb up to pick the mangoes manually. He hated how the spider webs would cling to his skin or hinder his vision.
While he sat in the bus, he simply thought of his plan on how he was going to get home without running into the old neighbor with rat chewed cables, or the big shop owner lady who couldn’t carry boxes of soap from the lorry to the back store. He’s best alternative was to use the back route passing right in front of old man moon’s compound. Chane immediately felt a headache from merely imagining how the encounter may play out. Don’t misunderstand the scenario. Chane and the old mzee were actually good friends. But the old man spews way too many words when he has had his vowel drink. And evening time is when most fellows retire for a sip of beer to wash off the day. He sighed dejectedly, and hoped that by some miracle, the old man wouldn’t be home that evening.
See, all Chane wanted was a little time to recover from the very gruesome and tiring journey. The university he went too was ample miles away from home and by the time he stepped off the bus, he could barely feel his legs. Chane didn’t mind helping people out. On the contrary, he always considered his built structure capable of helping. But he too had a limit of how much he could do before he could rest, he clearly wasn’t made of engine oil and robot spare parts. He was a human too.
The journey had finally come to a desperately awaited end. It was time for mission “Mr. Invisible” to commence. He pulled his hoodie over his head then headed off briskly to take then path behind the shops. Chane had planned that if the shop lady was to spot him, he would say he burnt his hand and can’t lift anything. He had even wrapped a bandage over his perfectly normal right hand to prove the accident. There wasn’t a single person going to stop his successful journey to his bed. His little hand trick would also work incase his dad would require water. This fool proof plan had two flaws; one, escaping an encounter with a drunk old man moon and two; a proper explanation on how quick his burnt hand healed overnight leaving no scar what so ever. The latter problem would be taken care of after a good night rest. The former, was about to unfold before him faster than he could think of a solution.
Old man moon was spewing incomprehensible nonsense to no one in particular, perhaps the evening breeze had ears and could understand whichever war the drunk fellow was referring to. As soon as their eyes met, the old drunk fellow was visibly excited but quickly noticed the tired and bored, almost irritated expression that settled on Chane’s face. The old drunk slobber smiled then uttered in a slurry tone, “My friend, you don’t have to run from me. If you don’t want to talk now, politely decline and excuse yourself properly and go attend to your other business. You can’t be enslaved to everyone’s whims, when will you ever have enough energy to do your own business, eh? Say what you mean and mean what you say, eventually, people will respect you for that.” the slurry monologue was followed with a thunderous laughter which Chane feared that old man might vomit his intestines out.
Chane sighed with relief and continued on his way. He dismissed the old man’s words thinking of the impossibility that someone could understand him from his perspective.
To be continued…
Written by: Melissa L. Takuwa