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Written by: Man ManKambugua E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Facebook: Man Man Kambugua
With time, my work colleague Jakes and I became so close, so close that we were always going for lunch together and even on Friday evenings, we could have a drink together. We even shared a lot of secrets, some that were very personal. At one time I realised that Jakes had never told me about his father, so I jokingly asked him whether he was born or hatched.
“Please do me a favour, refrain from asking me about my father!” he said.
“Why should I? Is he a brother to Cain?” I asked. He avoided the subject by introducing other weird topics so the best I could do was just to respect his wish.
It did not take long for our boss to realise that Jakes was spending a lot of time with girls and women in our place of work. They all wanted to have his attention, something that seriously made him to miss his work deadlines. He was served with numerous warnings until he was finally sacked. As he left the corridor leading to the exit door, the once flamboyant man was a totally beaten man.
Being my closest friend, I suggested that we meet that evening in one restaurant next to our company’s building. I found him in deep thought, but I told him that the fact that his job had been terminated did not mean that his life was over. For the first time he opened to me about his family. “If somebody asked you to describe me, you would probably tell that person that I am the most confident person. That is not so. My dad abandoned us many years ago leaving us with nothing. One of his friends noticed what we were going through and decided to take me as his child when I was in high school. I went to live with him in the posh estate that I tell you about. Meanwhile, my mum and my two siblings were still in the village. Since I got employed, I have been the bread winner in the family. Now I am an adult, I cannot go back to my guardian. I only have rent for the next two months so from there, not unless a miracle happens, I don’t know what I will do,” he said in sadness.
By good luck, I found Jakes a job through one of my relatives. The job was not as well paying as the one with our company, but it was better than nothing. I told him that the job had given him a lifeline and if he messed it, he would henceforth be on his own.
After getting the job, Jakes became his normal self and was happy again until one day when he called me at work. He informed me that his dad who was living in the city with another woman had been thrown out and was then homeless. He arrived in his house one day and found his dad outside his door. To make matters worse, the dad was extremely sick and needed urgent medical attention. I told him that the best he would do was to take him to the hospital for treatment. The dad could not walk by himself, so Jakes had to hire a cab to Kenyatta National Hospital. Knowing that Jakes was struggling financially, I told him that I did not mind using my car to take his dad to hospital whenever he needed me.
In the coming days, on my way home, I decided to visit Jakes and his dad. I knocked the door and when Jakes saw me, he was delighted. With him was his mother who had come to visit him. On the far end of the sitting room was a bed where his father was sleeping. I asked Jakes whether he could wake his father for me to greet him and offer him a word of encouragement.
“Unfortunately, he has no sense of speech or hearing. He needs to be in dialysis machine three times in a week. I think he has every kind of disease you would think,” said Jakes. Upon looking at his father, I could clearly see that his mouth was open with saliva coming out of his mouth. As Jakes’ mum prepared supper for us, she thanked me being a real friend to Jakes.
“Unfortunately, this father of his abandoned him when he needed him most. Its just by good luck that his friend took Jakes through college and found him a job otherwise he would just be in the village doing menial jobs. Now here he is in his death bed. Its regrettable that he came to this world and has not managed to achieve anything. When people of his age were planning to go to the moon, he was just in Nairobi jumping from this girl to another, possibly smelling them the same style he-goat smells its mating partner’s urine. Look at where his libido has ended him,” she said. As she told me about her husband, I felt uncomfortable considering that her husband was sleeping in a bed at the corner. Jakes noticed my discomfort and assured me that his dad’s sense of hearing was long dead.
The following day was a Saturday. I saw a message in my pager (Mobile phones were not common those days) that Jakes’ dad was not well and that we should take him back to hospital. I quickly left what I was doing and headed to Jakes house. I was shocked to find that he could hardly move and could not even stand by himself. We carefully put him at the back seat of my car and bid Jake’s mum goodbye. She was to go with us but the sister to the husband was on the way, so she had to wait for her then come to hospital later.
At the hospital, Jakes’ dad was put in the dialysis machine where he was to take four hours. After the four hours were over, we were ready to take him back home. He looked a bit better in that he was awake, but he could not hear or speak.
On our way out of the hospital, Jakes requested that he drive the car which I agreed. I realised that instead of taking the normal route to the East, we headed to the West. I told him that he had lost his way and he told me that he was going to see somebody somewhere in Lavington. We reached to a nice house with well kept lawns and a swimming pool. He parked the car by the roadside before pressing the bell by the gate. He told me that he would not be gone for long, that he had just gone to greet his long-time friends who he came to know when he was living in those high-class estate.
After he was long gone, I looked at the rear mirror and saw that Jake’s dad’s eyes were clear and was surprisingly moving his head. Considering that he could neither hear nor talk, I just looked ahead hoping that Jakes would come back immediately. Suddenly, I heard a voice say; “Young man, the word thank you is not enough. God bless you.” I looked around and was surprised to see that it was Jakes’ dad talking to me!
“What, I thought you are not able to speak!” I told him.
“I only have kidneys problem and that does not lose my hearing or speaking. It is only that I want to hear all what Jake’s and his mum are talking about me,” he said. For once, I felt as if I was in dreamland. If Jake’s dad could hear all what Jakes and mum were telling me about him, then that must have been very devastating for him. He told me that him and Jakes’ mum parted ways when he realised that Jakes’ mum had all along been in a relationship with the Headteacher of the village local school.
“When I confronted her, she told me that indeed the Head teacher was coming to visit them but was actually coming for an afternoon nap after working so hard in the week. I confronted the Headteacher, and he sent goons who beat the hell out of me. In fact, of all the three children, only Jakes is my biological kid. The other two have heads that are shaped like the peak of Mount Kenya, the same way the Headteacher’s is. I had to go to avoid shame. It takes two to make a quarrel,” he said. I did not know whether to support him or not, in the first place, I was shocked that he heard what was said about him by his people.
One hour was gone and Jakes had not come back so decided to press the bell by the gate to signal to Jakes that I wanted to go. Before leaving the car, his father pleaded with me not to let Jakes know that his sense of speech and hearing were perfect but if he died, I should disclose it to him.
After about five minutes, we saw Jakes come out of the house. With him was a girl of around twenty years who was holding her hand. Before letting him go, she kissed him passionately. It was at this moment that his dad went back to his ‘Mute’ mode as we Jakes started the engine and we drove off.
“Man, Man you will never see Heaven! How can you remove me from such a beauty? She is my girlfriend, and she is the only person who makes me lose my senses!” he said.
“Please don’t go there. Let us just drive home!” I told him with seriousness in case he uttered obscene words little that his father was listening.
To avoid any ‘coloured’ language from Jakes, I told him that I wished his father quick recovery.
“No, he won’t recover. But he has had his life in this world! Imagine coming to this world and you die with nothing like a dog?!” he said. Immediately I heard his remarks, I felt like jumping out of my skin. I told him to respect his dad by minding his choice of words.
“Don’t worry! My father cannot hear or speak! He cannot tell a right from left” he said. After twenty minutes, we reached his house. I could not wait to see his father leave my car for me to avoid the guilt of listening to him being described in bad adjectives. When Jakes went to open the gate, his dad whispered to me that I should tell him that even him (Jakes), he will also die like a dog.
I had every reason to tell Jakes that I was late and that I should leave immediately, which I did. On my way home, I told myself that if I had to say anything about anybody, I should just say positive things for me to be on the safe side. Why? Because walls have ears.
May I confirm that some months later, Jakes’ dad died out of kidney failure. Some years later, when I went home and dinner with Jakes, I told him exactly what his father had told me to tell him, and he could not believe it! Unfortunately, when one says something, it is not possible to take it back. May I also confirm that some years later, Jakes also passed on too. By the time he died, he neither had a job nor a family. Did he die like a dog as his father said? Your guess is as good as mine.
It is upon you to audit your life and see where you missed the mark. If your life revolves around a circle from January to December, go back to the drawing board and in the privacy of your bedroom, ask yourself what happened to you. Did you con somebody some money? No wonder you are conned all the time. Did you betray someone’s trust? That is why you are betrayed left, right and centre by friends and relatives. For that person to be poor, were you by any chance the architect of his/her problems? You will be poor for the rest of your life! Do you think well of others or you are the jealous type? Good Luck will never knock your door. What comes too natural to us will be an uphill struggle to you. Are you a destiny helper or destiny killer? You are reaping what you sowed and if your life is hard, you have not seen anything yet and the reverse is true.