The key and the door

In standard eight, I worked my head off around algebras, the human body, Congo and South Africa, idioms and metaphors, ‘vitohozi’ and ‘viunganishi’- my language Kiswahili- and the burning bush as well. How vividly I remember that story. It might be the only one I got out of the CRE taught.

Four years later the inevitable test centered on vectors and logarithms, the human brain and the human ear, Set books from both Swahili and English had themes such as Death, pain and loss- at least there was the everyday reality of life in that.

Erosion took its toll on the world especially during the drifting of the continents, chemical reactions were all too familiar and I welcomed the many experiments that came with it. Refraction never did stay in my brain though, and balancing check books mostly would help with the management of finances once I got to build a company.

Another four years later I graduate with a degree from one famous university whose name eludes my mind.

I should find work, my mind graciously tells me.

I should get a better job, anyway that is indeed what we went to school to have. A certification bearing a name and a GPA loudly demanding a great, brighter future.

I should live luxuriously. I worked for its people.

I should eat three sumptuous meals a day please do not forget I worked. Those who should not eat are the ones who do not work and my friends, I have worked.

I should live in Runda, own a mansion in Lavington, acquire a bungalow in Karen, run some multi-million companies, have some dark children bearing my name on their birth certificates, keep a beautiful trophy wife somewhere in the coastal region whose expenditure on my credit cards seems hell-bent on reducing my bank statements to bankruptcy.

I should drive a limo, dream about taking the parked jeep at the back of my house out for a tour to the Caribbean during the weekend, spend half my savings- of which should be millions by now- during holidays on gifts that will not be opened.

I should redecorate after a month. Acquire an air of sanctity when donating my worn out furnishing- they are not that worn, but to my standards they should be outdated- to different children homes around town. See, generosity at its peak.

I should help with the church’s building structure. Give my tithe, take into account all the sacrificial nouns that appear in a reverend’s jargon and maybe give my first fruits at the beginning of each year. Which I should, I don’t just trust in this whole miracle business. Do they call it trust and obey? I rely on hard facts people, please forgive me.

I should retire at 28, latest at 30 for the simple fact that life is more than spending so many hours in so many years, cooked up in a steamy office somewhere in Nairobi town, to have 100% guarantee that a better retirement awaits at 50 or 60.

I should enjoy my youth, don’t you agree ‘peeps’? Reciprocate for the years I had turned myself into an all-work-with-no-play-Jack.

I should enjoy in memory of the months I denied myself the simple luxury of sleeping in on a weekend. Take really good care of myself.

I should lie down at night, a man with a contented heart, full of happy thoughts and an eagerness for the new day waiting at the end of dusk.

I should be hopeful of the new sunrise berating my face. Happy for having another blessed day to add to my diary of life.

I should walk with my head held high above my shoulders, wait for the whistles and nods of approval from both young and old alike.

I should beat my chest because yes, I made it. I am the man who followed the rules, died to be an obedient child, vowed to follow protocol and killed to see the rainbow’s end.

I should be tired from carrying that pot of gold, don’t you agree? But happy at the same time because my life has changed…

It is a lie people…

My life did change but I don’t know where I got to take the wrong road. I don’t remember taking another route. Fate has dealt me an unfair hand.

I don’t remember when I got the ingredients all mixed up to the point I cooked and served poison on my bowl. Only that it didn’t kill me.

It killed my future I guess.

I really don’t know friends…

I work 8 hours a day. I get little pay. It is manual labor. I get new scars almost every day.

The scorching sun has no mercy too. What a hypocritical round ball of fire! When I worked harder to become a better person, its menacing stare was hooked on me. Now that I work the hardest it’s almost as if his glare has increased with tenacity.

Don’t even ask about the man who gets the credit for my back aches. He is indeed one in a billion hoods of employers who knows how well to use the resources he’s got.

I really salute his mindset of coming up with more job opportunities for youths like me- and never fails to mention that little fact. But to what cause?

‘More hands little pay’, why? Does it add anything to anyone’s tomorrow? Why pay something that will only cater for one’s lunch and transport for the following day’s work?

That scheming raccoon. So don’t even think about complaining of no transport to work.

You don’t have any supper? You’ll have to deal with it friends. No one brought your skinny self to Nairobi.

You got to work if you got to earn.


Cheerful smiles from school going children greet me every day as I head home. They skip and hop. Their songs taught by. They chase each other not caring whether the world is a cold or warm place. What matters to them is that moment of peace and bliss.

Their happy smiles and laughter seems to infiltrate my tired bones and I find myself smiling too. Will they have the same future as mine or will they become luckier? Will they find themselves in this melee we call a life or will they be misled?

Maybe I had the wrong kind of luck. Maybe I did something through the years that caught the critical eye of karma. Maybe I didn’t work hard enough. Maybe I didn’t have the right mindset, beliefs and goals. Or maybe I was just never good enough.

I just hope that I had enough courage to actually live out the life I wanted, became the person I saw in my dreams.

I just hope I had natured my talents. I hope I had just the right amount of courage to really live. Apply what we leant in school and not lose a whole year tarmacking looking for a job whose experience exceeded my own.

I wish we become strong enough to teach our children the hidden secrets behind life’s school of thought that education is indeed the key that gets you to the door of a brighter future, but confidence, self-worth and self-awareness gets you through it.

Remy Scot