My life, my world. Perfect with no care for anyone. I am totally selfish, yes, because I put me first before anyone. Maybe because I have come to love myself and the man I have become. At the age of 24 I have almost everything I had always wished for. Girls at my beck and call, a loving mother, a nice paying job and no male friends at all.
You see, as a child, I was ridiculed, shamed and called upon severally to serve as an example and a deterrence to a lot of kids. My principal always picked on me including Mr. Simon our literature master. From being dirty to owing fees to falling on the wrong side of the law. You see, I did not tuck in my dirty uniform most of the time because my trousers was torn and patched in several places. The type called monkey nyash.
My classmates, the boys used me as the bane of their jokes, the ladies pitied me. Some shared their foods with me while others secretly gave me money. You might be thinking of my father and asking questions. Truth is, I never knew him. I had grown up with my aunt and drunken uncle. My uncle punished me for no reasonable reason, kicking and punching me when he feels like. The cold hard floor of the verandah was where I slept. My aunt, if truly the same blood runs through our veins, did little or nothing to ease the pain. The only thing she did was pay my fees and change my uniforms when they are too tattered to be managed.
I hated my father because he wasn’t there to protect me from the cruel realities of this harsh world. My mother, I felt indifferent towards, maybe because every Christmas, the only time I get new clothes, my aunt would tell me my mum sent them. I wasn’t allowed to go to church so God to me was the old man that always gave me money to take to school.
One thing gave me an edge, I was the brightest boy in my class. Very intelligent yet not allowed to represent the school because I was never presentable. Did I feel bad? No. I loved being left alone. I only enjoyed talking to Rukaiya, maybe because she went through the same ordeal as me.
Note my surprise when during registration for my senior certificate exams, I was told that someone had paid the fees. Someone who wouldn’t want me to know. I wrote my exams, burning candle during cold nights on colder floor. Each paper written with a strained neck and teary eyes.
Rukaiya died two days to our last paper. I nearly ran mad. She was raped and then beaten to death by unidentified assailants/assailant who trailed her when she was sent around 11:30pm to get Lipton for her uncle. I hated the man immediately. To me, he was responsible for her death but what could I do? I only wept.
Final exams, jubilating classmates, quiet me, walking towards the gate to get away and far from their hypocritical noises, yes, hypocrites because they were helped by the staff after the principal bribed the supervisor. I wanted going back to the home I so abhorred but I never got home.
To be continued