Childhood Pains: Jaws of Life.

As much as I love my sleep, when it leaves, I do not force it back. I just sit and pick a book to read & in some other cases to write. I never intended to rekindle any childhood memories of mine, until I needed a break. As I was leaving, my toe caught a corner of a dividing wall, and you know how that goes. I even wonder how this toe does not bleed!!! By our 99th generation, you must agree with me our small toes should have an eye. Or we will have four toes. The number of times they are caught up at places they shouldn’t be, is just too much. They need an eye… like an ogre. One eye, just under the nail or that stub people call a small toenail, and for those who don’t have one, somewhere there at the front. Evolution is real right? If our ears aren’t pointed anymore, we need an eye for the small toe. Yeah, four toes on each leg sound easier for evolution. The pain was crazy! The pain took me over the edge & I just landed years down memory lane back to lower primary school – class one, to be specific. The three worst pains in my early childhood. This is the first one. Allow me to vent with the first one. The others will come later. I don’t know how that pain decided to relate to my childhood. I am guessing it’s the ‘stupid’ & mushy feeling brought about the stress or whatever that was bringing me down.
Children Playing sign
We were playing as usual, after lunch break and then I took off to the urinal where I met my friend & neighbor (name withheld for obvious reasons). We were notorious for urinal art. Probably most of the guys know what that means. But for the purposes of this article, I will enlighten the floaters. This is where we used to walk while peeing creating patterns on the urinal’s wall. At the time, Kerol disinfectant used to smell so good, there was no problem with hanging out in the urinal longer than necessary. So this day I chose a forest (It was the easiest) and my friend had chosen a forest as well. Since we had all chosen the same thing, we decided the one whose forest had the tallest trees would take the day. Picture one man Alpha Team flanking from the left and one man Bravo Team from the right. We met at the middle & somehow, my ‘spray paint’ canister missed its mark and happened to spill some of the ‘paint’ on my competitor’s hand. Waa! Talk of a small boy gone mad!!! I didn’t even see how he returned his ding ding in his short and started throwing tantrums and threatening to go to the teacher to tell that I peed on him & that he would get rashes all over his arm. He was also threatening that above all that he would do, he would revenge in a manner that I wouldn’t even imagine. He would also tell his mom and his mom would beat me!
For now, I was safe, since his fine art, was on the wall behind us. In fear, I retracted mine and as I was yanking my zip up, it got a major chunk of my skin, underwear included! My world had come to an end! I swear as a child, that was my first real comprehension of PAIN!!! My friend even stopped his silliness & came to my rescue. I didn’t want to be touched! Moreover, I didn’t even want to move. I got courage and walked slowly outside and to a tree nearby. The more I shook, the more the pain grew. I even thought my ding ding was gone! By then I didn’t know one could wish the world to end, but if I knew it! I would have definitely wanted an earlier promotion to wherever people don’t feel pain! The victim of my splash was not even mad any more and here he was soothing me. I started crying, softly, I didn’t want the girls playing nearby to notice me.
“Niite teacher?”
I couldn’t even answer,
“Chris unataka nifanye?”
I did not want to be left there alone, certainly a curious one would come and start pestering me. Back in the day, I thought crying was the solution of pain (Physical pain) nowadays it’s a bit complicated than that. The bell to the afternoon session rang and since it was class one. That meant the afternoon nap where we would sleep until around 3 then go home. And if it was one of those lucky days, we would wake up to “Maziwa ya Nyayo”. I asked my friend to go tell the teacher – Mrs. Mundia that I wanted to sleep under that tree that day, amid tears. Remember back in the day at that age, only my mother had the freedom to inspect any part of my body. Therefore, it was not an option for Mrs. Mundia to come perform any emergency room procedures on me under the tree in the name of helping. By now, the heat was so much that I had even removed my shirt and was down to my vest. Images of the smartest boy (I had scooped the prize of the smartest boy in the school the previous term) having his ding ding trapped in between a zipper & its rails being laughed at by the entire school flashed through my mind & leaving that tree was not an option. As the last few students streamed into their respective classes, red dust settling on the spots they had been playing, I picked up courage and tried pulling the zipper down. The pain was just too much. My friend was just there all this time. Saying “Jaribu tena aki”, he was almost crying with me.
By now, my crying had died down and just some salty flakes left at their trail. I tried again and magically, the zip came loose with a little pain than the one before. Probably the numbness & my mind’s anticipation for greater pain. You should have seen the joy in our faces. I took my friends arm to check whether the rash he had said would develop had developed. It wasn’t there. I hurriedly put my blue checked shirt on, and buttoned it up. Didn’t even care to tuck it into my grey shorts. We ran back to class holding each other’s hands like brothers. Back then, I did not know anything about hugs, but that right there was a moment that deserved one.
Since we were late, Mrs Mundia was fuming:
“Mlikuwa wapi Nyinyi!!! Leteni hio maskio yenu hapa!!! Ama nichukue kiboko!! Cartooni* Nyinyi!!!” She dragged the words out in a manner likely to suggest disaster. (Pulling our ears as if we were missing a calculus lesson & it was just a nap afternoon)
I didn’t care if she took the earlobes home with her or not, it was the least of my worries, as far as I was concerned, I had gotten to the top of the world’s physical pain and conquered it. She escorted us to our seats like a woman with shopping bags on both arms, as the other kids giggled in their sleeping positions on the miniature desks in the classroom. That marked the end of urine art and my last day with zipper shorts (Forced my mum to take them to the tailor and get them changed into buttons).As I grew older, I learnt from the senior boys a short cut to it, which I later stopped as I grew older after learning it was crude, untamed, & so ungentlemanly.


Childhood Pains: Jaws of Life.

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