Creative Nonfiction High School Happy

“LEMME NOT HEAR THAT AGAIN…. FOCUS… COME ON!” Those were the words she truly meant to say. They came from the depths of her heart. The others, “Go safely, May God protect you, and may you be successful”, were just forced out of her mouth by parental conscience. I looked hopefully at my dad, but he quickly turned his face away when his brain signals sensed the motion of my face towards his. Did I expect him to defend me?

My siblings came and we squeezed in the constructed small accidentally living room. Prayer. No matter what, a mother’s prayer was important. It was believed that if you were to embark on a journey or begin working on a project, you had to have a mother’s prayer, and for them, a wife’s prayer. If she did not pray for you, you would not succeed, and if you did merely by sheer luck, it wouldn’t be for long. Also, you wouldn’t feel the innate pride of success.

Dad had received tons of those; at least it looked like it. He had bought the house and a four-seater two-wheel drive car for his family of six. I arranged my things in the car. My sister, a recent driving school graduate – recent as in 1 day recent, was going to drive me to school. I wasn’t scared of her driving; dad had taught her well. I shuddered at the thought of what we would have to say when stopped by the traffic askari. If it is to be it has to be, no matter what.

I signed goodbye to rest of my kin and we drove off. This time, I couldn’t hug her and feel her motherly affection one last time for a long while. Her words made her cold and repulsive. It was about a 2-hour journey with no traffic. I would often be talkative and jovial, saying all that I had in my heart, but this time I felt it was better to conceal it in my heart – hopefully it won’t make me sick.

Overwhelmed in thought, I stared at a couple of my sausage fingers that had not yet healed even after a week at home (mid-term). I grinned then blandly, as her words rang in my head. My mind had translated the piece of instruction to the three different languages I know, hoping that one would mean the opposite of what she uttered, until it finally accepted. She said “DON’T!”. Okay.

Deep in my own wonderland, I did not realize the vehicle had come to a halt. All I remember hearing last was, “Leo hakuna traffic (Today there’s no traffic)” and I nodded face down, assuming she saw it. She must have thought me a snob. Raising my head, I was met with a no emotion stare. She was communicating through her eyes. I got it. It was time to take my staff and alight from the car.

Then before she left, she said, “Ucijali (Don’t worry)”. Yeah right! I was the one in a quandary and not she. She wouldn’t understand. Nobody did. They just expected me to do as I was told. What a mundane existence. I faced the school gate and joined the queue of getting in. I always had a good laugh at the searching point. Mishy was always there. She was my bff.

She always came with junk food held in her hand, which was definitely not allowed, and report herself to the teacher so that she would be allowed to it before going into the school. This was a better option than that of having them considered as dross and dashed into the ever-full litter bin.

Not to mean that she didn’t sneak in some smocha (chapati with smokie inside) and some Kfc Wingman Combo. Apparently, after she had reported herself, the TODs won’t bother searching her bags. I guess it was a smart move. I wasn’t good at lying—a skill she had perfected over time.

I went to the dorm room and of course she was the first to come and say hi. We talked for quite some time until she finally asked why I seemed dejected. I didn’t want to talk about it.

“What’s wrong?”

“Nothing. I’m okay.” – Isn’t that what everyone says? So I echoed it.

“You’re lying. Have you started lying and hiding stuff from me?”

“NO… It’s nothing… Really”


“Pot calling kettle black”, I shrugged.

She understood. I would tell her when I was ready.

Fast-forward to the next day, I didn’t set my eyes on the cement that made the court – at least I thought I wouldn’t.

“Tee coach is calling…”

Oh boy, I had to explain to the coach why I was quitting and to the team also.

“Are sick or anything?” “No” “Have some urgently needed schoolwork?” “No” “Do you have a lesson right now?” “Nope”.

“Okay; get changed… I’ll give you 10 minutes to warm up”

“I quit”

“We have only a game to go and that’s it”

“I know… but...”

“Is it your mum again?”

“Y-e-s” I said with a wobbly voice.

He convinced me that my mum didn’t have to know, or rather my mind was already decided on playing no matter what. It was my last year/ game playing for my school. I didn’t want to miss it for anything – not even her, though I loved and respected her.

{… if I die in the Bball court; if I die in the Bball court; tell my mama I was a player; tell my mama was a player…} soprano

{…if I die in the Bball court; if I die in the Bball court; tell my mama I was a shooter; tell my mama was a shooter…} bass

I loved the game. I felt the most alive when I had the ball in my hand. Initially I had joined the team to make my high school experience more fun – there were a lot of trips outside the school with the team. But I fell in love. It was a match made in heaven. I can’t say I was the best but I can definitely brag about giving it my all.

Just to mention, I had won the MVP title numerously, at times they even refused to crown me MVP even when it was clear that… Not that it meant anything to my motherly figure, but she was the one who kept my trophies and certificates.

“Tomorrow will be the last day; and then FOCUS on books.” I wasn’t bad at books. If it means anything, I LOVE MATH, and would have often been among the top performers in school, if and only if, MATH was the only subject.

Avoiding going deep into the game, for the non-fans, the game of the year was not so successful. We had received the silver and this hurt me gravely. However, I had received news that would make me not sleep that night.

I had been awarded a fully funded scholarship to the nation’s most prestigious private university. I would be allowed to allowed to do any course that I preferred – they had an excellent law program going on and I, would be joining their elite most desired basketball team.

Aaaaaaaaaaa! I could just but scream. It was a dream becoming true.

Before I knew it, I was studying late, rising early and felt a bit in control over my life. We did our exams and home we went. The examination council doesn’t waste time in marking our papers. Our results were out; and if you care to know, I got an A in Math? My overall grade was well above the set average.

My mum came into my room shared with my younger sister. I could tell she was happy. There was joy on her face and especially in her eyes.


“Thanks mum”

(Awkward silence)

In this happy mood, I showed her the scholarship letter and…

“I will support you!” she said succinctly and affirmingly.

My eyes lit up and I hugged her tightly, too tightly. Feelings were just overflowing.

Now my family supports me. I will make you proud in both areas: sports and school.


June 12, 2021 01:06

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