You happen to be a tenor 2 in the 42-member Sigalame School choir. You actually didn’t know you could sing when you joined form one. After your two weeks stay in school, the tiny you decide to join the Christian Union. In second term, your CU choir leader approaches you after the usual Saturday meeting. It’s then that he informs you that you sing well, so you should join his force. You don’t know if that sounds true or if he’s just desperately in search of people to join his choir. Anyway, you join him. You are still a mere mono. There’s this common slogan in school that “form ones are only here to be seen, not to be heard.” But that doesn’t affect you in any way cause you are a cool harmless chap.
Something queer happens one particular Wednesday in form two first term. You’ve just graduated from a young, energetic, confused form one to a more confused form two. Puberty has started knocking. The other day you went to shower and realized strands of black hair emerging from above where you urinate from. You didn’t want to leave the shower that evening, you just wanted to continue bathing and touching and fondling and feeling that special type of shock that had emerged in your groin. That week, you actually frequented the loo to check whether the hair had grown one more inch from the last time you checked it (possibly 15 minutes ago). You also occasionally woke up in the night and took out your torch to confirm if the hair would look at you sexually. What was I saying? Oh, something to do with a Wednesday! Sawa.
Just after the Wednesday devotion, as it is a tradition, one music or choir student leads the whole school to sing the school anthem. So this particular Wednesday, after teachers’ and prefects’ announcements, the chaplain realizes there’s nobody taking the stage to conduct the school anthem. The entertainment secretary mikes him (the chaplain) up since nobody is willing to take the mike. The chaplain then inquires why choir members don’t seem ready to conduct us through the remaining session. The principal signals him and reminds him that the school choir is out of school for a performance. You see, our chaplain sometimes easily forgets such minor minor details.
“Oh! You know sometimes when the Holy Ghost comes down, it sweeps your mind away that you tend to forget things. Now, is there anybody that can conduct the anthem?” The chaplain roars through the microphone.
“Achookaaaaa,” half the population choruses.
“Ati who? Ooh! Let him come forward.”
Damn! You want to burry yourself under the benches. Guys sitting next to you thrust and force you in front. Seconds later, you are on stage. Ok, you recall the bass 1, bass 2, tenor 1, and tenor 2 notes. That’s not a problem. The problem is, you didn’t psychologically prepare for this occasion, neither did you prepare physically. Nonetheless, you gain courage and conduct the anthem successfully. It’s after that occasion that people compel you to join the school choir.
So when the choir crew comes back, you start attending their training sessions. Auditions are later held, you merit.
It’s now second term, you are taking part in the Kenya National Music Festivals in Nakuru. Your trainer, who doubles as the music patron releases you minutes into 5 o’clock, he feels you’ve done enough practice to deserve a 30-minutes break. You disperse in groups – those who love books run to the hostels to grasp concepts in Chemistry and Biology and Maths and Physics, those who have a good rapport with water take up that chance, Lunjes (foodies) among you storm food joints for ugali ya 10 bob and burgers, you are not in any of the above categories. You are in the group that fancy listening to sweet melody.
So your group strolls around scouting for choirs with the best blended voices. The path leads you into some corner where this particular school steals your attention – one whose students are in green skirts and white tops. You and your group decide to chill out here and enjoy these young girls croon. One of you steps forward and picks a windbreaker that belongs to one of these girls. He then makes a stride back with it. You all gather around him to check which school it is. The badge reads ‘Precious Blood Riruta Secondary School.’ Eh! That’s a big name. Come on! These are academic giants bwana. They are music queens too. You can’t just walk away. Your egos command you to wait and exchange talks with these fine ladies.
Hungry hyenas among you make eye selections and wink at potential preys, while the timid chaps among you just pretend to enjoy the singing and swallow large chunks of saliva. You are not sure whether you lie in the hungry hyenas or in the timid chaps’ category. You you are just there. But you are falling in love with the way these girls are shaking their asses in the name of dancing. You are burning with the urge to hold or tap one of those jiggling asses. But you can’t just do that. I mean, there must be some procedure to doing it, ama?
One girl grabs your attention and runs away with it. Your eyes tail her lips move up and down. It is that short but not very short girl, the one in front of that other dark girl, no! The one with pointed boobs, yes, that one with small white eyes. Her body mass is well distributed. You realize she’s also staring at you. You’ve been seeing these other dudes wink at other girls, so your left brain instructs you to do the same. Looks like today your right and left brains are at loggerheads. So just before you wink, the right brain commands you to hold on. It’s strongly against the winking idea cause everybody uses it. Come on! You have to stand out, you have to be different. You wait until your eyes meet again, you smile, she blushes then looks away.
National Music Festivals |KBCTV
Their training ends soon. “Mko fine, mko poa,” you chorus. Some of you even decide to go personal and say, “kwanza wewe uko poa sana,” exchanging gazes, (now those are the real Team-Mafisi). You start intermingling, twosomes are formed. You reach out for that girl and lead her away. She later takes your blazer before parting. You meet again the next day and discuss serious matters – matters love and stuff. You move around with her and introduce her to your buddies. She comes to watch you sing when they aren’t having a training session. You reciprocate. That time to exchange numbers comes. You actually don’t have a phone, you only have a Safaricom sim card. So you read her your number, she gives you hers. You promise to link up over the holidays.
Schools close, the first thing you remember to do after you’ve reached home is to call that girl you met in the music festivals. You rush to your drawer to grab your sim card, it is not there. You empty the drawer and search for your simcard properly. Still, you don’t get it. You quarrel everybody home. But will quarreling give you that sim card you are looking for? You get back to your bag for your diary book. The diary is there, her number is there too. But four digits aren’t clear, they were tampered with the day that book dropped in a bucket of water in your room in school.
You meet again in town four years later. Your eyes fall on this beautiful creature soon after alighting Orokise from Rongai at railways. She is pacing past the Haile Selassie Roundabout towards Moi Avenue. You see her stop by the bakery over there. You rush and find her packing a cake in her handbag. “Rita?” you call out. She turns and her face brightens. You embrace and spot tears forming in her eyes.
She raises her wrist to show you the bracelet on her arm. She asks if you remember seeing it anywhere. Sincerely you can’t forget it, that’s the very love anklet you bought her during the National Music Festivals in Nakuru.