My Dear Mama

I tasted my very first sip of liquor from her. No I didn’t open the liquor cabinet(not that there was one) and poured myself a drink. I admit I had lit some of her cigarette butts and tried smoking them. My experiment was better than yours of using chalk dust rolled on a piece of paper. The result was, I got real smoke. And real effects. That night, she came home and made her brother and I sit down. She told us she was tired of drinking alone. We also needed to have a taste. She wasn’t asking. It was forced down our throats.
I grimaced. It was bitter. I wanted to spit it. The look on her face told me she knew what I was thinking and I shouldn’t dare. Why would anyone torture themselves this way and enjoy it? Day in day out. As that was the order of her day. I was too young for alcohol. Maybe her brother was already of age. He was in highschool.
Another day, I came from school as usual. There was nothing to eat. She wasn’t home. Her brother and I sat and waited. We waited some more. The next day was still a school day. It wouldn’t be the first night we slept hungry but it is a day I would forever remember. At around 4am, she staggered into the house. I think she had totally lost track of time. She had food. Rice and beans. Uncooked. She woke us up and she cooked right there in the living room. It is her house anyway. She said she wouldn’t let us sleep hungry while she lived. I wanted to laugh. We had already slept hungry. What is she talking about?
I was begging her to stop drinking. I cried in front of everyone who was there. Her response? It was as if I’m nothing to her.
Kama mama yangu, Njeri alishindwa kunizuia kukunywa. Wewe nimekuzaa huwezi niambia kitu. Enda home.
Her word was final. Later when she came, she laid down on the green couch. I still wonder to date why she chose such a colour. It was sort of silky and so green you felt like you lived in it. I’m thankful because one way or the other it gave me creativity, without my knowledge or asking. I tried waking her up. I couldn’t. Her head was extremely heavy. She must have had too strong a drink. I cried. Why couldn’t she be like all the other women with kids? Why was she making me go through this intense pain of need, love too? She said she loved me a lot but I will never accept it till the day she decides to leave the bottle. Only then can I accept it as genuine.
I was coming from school another day, walking with my friends. She walked by. I was surprised. She wasn’t sober but she told me she was going to buy us chicken. My friends told me I must bring them the delicacy the next day at school. She had said it loud enough for all to hear. That night, she got busy making the chicken which was served with rice. It was yummy. The breadcrumbs made it crunchy. She outdid herself. I was sure to carry some pieces for my friends the next day. She packed it herself for me.
I can’t accuse her of smoking weed. I only saw her once. She revelled in it. She even asked me if I would like to try some. I was barely 12. We were moving to a different house and the truck driver lit the blunt, passed it to her. They smoked together. Right there in front of me. I choked. My lungs must be so dark with all the smoke she has made me inhale over the years. Clouded with the hatred carefully coated in there too. For her.
She showed me my first condom. I will give her that. Not many parents can do that. It’s great she taught me how to use a condom(or make a man use one as she said), lubricants as well(don’t let yourself go dry). I was 10 years(this is like a song now 😂😂). I had come home and told her that I was in the AIDS Club. Our patron had asked us to discuss it with our parents. She saw sex as the way to go. She demonstrated it with a pen, she opened it the packet. It’s funny how she taught me how to use a condom but she never showed me how to wear a sanitary towel. She never showed me how it looked like. Sex I learn from her but my periods by myself. Classy, real smooth woman!
My relatives always comment on how beautiful she is. They say I took it all from her. I hate it when they do this. Except her skin colour. But they haven’t seen me inside. My very thighs have her colour, my arms too. My chest holding my boobs. She once told me I have her ears. It’s very clear I have her eyes. I don’t think anyone realizes that it’s beyond the beauty. Everytime they liken me to her I feel like some of her evil doing gets to me. It’s overwhelming at times.
I have been to many dingy bars. Courtesy of her. She had other female friends who drank along with her. Some had kids, some didn’t. I was interested in those who did. They were responsible to some extent. They knew when to stop and go home to tend for their children. Most days, after school, she would take me to the bars with her. I was still in my uniform. She used to come pick me up. Kuja ununuliwe soda kabla uende home. I’ve had too much soda. Now you understand why I don’t need some more in my system.
One of the holidays after I joined high school, I was visiting her. Another dingy bar. As usual kunywa soda was tradition. She never bought them. Her friends did. This day, it was a male who did. He looked particularly young to be hanging around there and with such people but I sipped quietly. As he was leaving he asked for my number. I looked at my mother. She said it was okay. I was disgusted. He gave me 50 shillings and left. I felt like a prostitute. He was 26 at that time. I was 11 years younger. His name was Johnny. Typical?
Every month we were usually locked out. Ngunjiri, the landlord, must have had his share of experiences with her. After paying off the rent, she would borrow a nyundo and destroy the padlock locking her out of her house. It was embarrassing to watch. She was drunk all the time this happened. Everyone knew she had settled the rent. Why was she being loud about it yet they had done it in silence? And on time. What was so hard in settling it on time? Ah, drunkards!
One day, she didn’t come home. Her brother wasn’t there. I was scared. I was only 10. I went to a neighbour’s house and asked her to accompany me to her friend’s place to stay the night. She agreed without question. She knew how my mother was. Wait, they all did. I left a note in the house informing her of my whereabouts. When I knocked at her friend’s, she couldn’t believe I was alone. It was almost 10pm. She was sure my mother was hiding in the shadows. I assured her I was alone and she let me in. Luckily my mother brought my school clothes over the next day.
My Electra complex is in play at this time of my life. It has been building up from when I was very little. I watched as she changed men. Some stole from her. Others were discarded. I remember Mwangi, he was light-skinned, real sexy. He lived with us a while. Then another one came. I wanted Mwangi. Yes wanted him in that sense. I wasn’t even a teenager yet but I can recognize my needs. I liked Kepha. He was a father figure. He taught me how to cook veggies. But she didn’t want him. She said he was restricting her life and she didn’t like that. That was the man for her but she didn’t see it. I don’t know why they didn’t all have homes. They kept coming to ours. It was a lot to register.
Growing up, I decided I could have anyone I wanted. She did. It’s a competition and I know I’m better than her. I’m still counting my conquests. Electra complex.
You are thinking maybe I shouldn’t do this. You will tell me that I don’t need to prove myself. I am already better than her. I need counseling. But I don’t. I’m learning Psychology so that things can take care of themselves. I just need to understand then I’ll be done. But meanwhile, the race is still on. I can smell victory..


22 thoughts on “My Dear Mama

  1. I’m already a fan, reality is our everyday life, people hide theirs but that’s cowardice, cos if everyone was to speak about themselves… your courage has baffled me, and until I can open up like you, I’ll give you a trophy, but watch me catch up

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s