Dear Growing Up,
I always wanted to get there, short tiny and almost always dusty, I ran to meet dad every evening as he came back from work. I greeted mum with joy as she unwrapped the 10 cents, brown, wheel like biscuits. This really got me wanting to meet you, so I could go to work like daddy did, so I could have money to buy all the biscuits like mama had. Even better I wouldn’t have to share my sweets with my brother and mama wouldn’t control how many I put in my mouth. I wanted to be tall enough to sit in the drivers seat and drive around, I loved cars and I loved driving, well, I still do. I couldn’t wait.
Growing up, you told me that all the canning I got in school would come to an end once we met. That I wouldn’t have to sit in a classroom all day listening to what the teacher had to say. That I wouldn’t have to do math calculations if I didn’t feel like. That I would play out in the field and bask as much as I wanted, just like the teachers did when they were not in class. You told me that I wouldn’t have to queue for weevil infested ‘githeri’ anymore. I would eat kebab every lunch hour. I couldn’t wait.
Growing up, as I walked towards you, I met adolescence. You asked me not to stay there long, you promised me all the girls in the world, you told me I would have all the alcohol I wanted without having worry that mama and daddy would know, without having to think of what the neighborhood would brand me as. Mama even retorted a few times “You are now a grown up, stop acting like a child” but you told me there was more to growing up than what I had. I couldn’t wait.
Growing up, I traveled to Yala every beginning of term, first in 18 seater matatus, then thanks to Michuki, they threw out four people and there was 14 of us left in there. I never loved this ride, you promised me a car, and speeds that would get me home in record time. I wouldn’t have to sit for hours waiting to get home every end of semester. Molo would be a few hours away. I couldn’t wait. Remember when I had to wake up at 5 every morning to go for prep? You told me that would be no more. You whispered to me that there would be no teacher or prefect to creatively think of a punishment like sleeping in the hot sun at the assembly ground whenever my head became too heavy for me to hold it up.
Growing up, you held my hand into uni. You gave me a bit of money to upgrade to 10 seater shuttles, once in a while hire a cab. I moved from a dormitory to a shared hostel and I would at least sip on liquids that would get me inebriated. Still you reflected better things ahead, you still promised me a car, this time you told me within six months of employment, I remember you told me my first salary would get me a 3 bedroom apartment, then I wouldn’t have to share bathrooms like I did in ‘H’. I wouldn’t have to cook every evening like my roommate and I did, there would be enough for takeaway, then my skinny frame would have some flesh on it. I liked class here but the exams would scare me and you told me all that would pass.
Growing up, there is something you didn’t tell me. You never told me that money would be this slippery, that I would have a thousand bob notes in my wallet but not afford a sweet. Forget takeaway, that I would cringe on seeing the total cost at the payment till whenever I bought food to go cook. Coz the month has 30 days. That despite not having to sit in a classroom, I would have to sit in the office all day. That reports would replace the math I didn’t want to do back then and developing strategy would be tougher than the exam I dreaded in uni. You never told me that the teachers and prefects who sought the slightest mistake to get me punished, would be replaced by bosses and clients who wouldn’t take nothing short of perfect. Growing up, why are there bars all around me yet I can’t drink without worrying about what my wallet will look like tomorrow? This wasn’t the deal! And that car you promised, you didn’t tell me not even the salary I would earn in two years wouldn’t be enough to get me one. And what about the police who are always waiting for me at the roadblock whenever I speed every time I hustle to make some little money to hire a self-drive? They weren’t in the picture back then. Is this the apartment we talked about? Where are the sofas you pointed my way that time, the music system I heard sound cool music in my head. And what about the joy you promised to give me with the ladies during adolescence, you never said that would cost money!
Growing up, I am disappointed in you, you did not just fail to mentions that mama would be miles away but also that I wouldn’t have the courage to let her know that I am disappointed in you.
Growing up, you lied to me…