There is a grey three-part braided rope hanging from the timber supporting the iron sheets of the ramshackle or house if you want. It is already knotted and ready to claim its victim.

I bought it at Kes. 70; three coins of twenty shillings and a ten-shilling coin. They were my last coins. I had to go to a far shop where no one knows me. I chose the manila rope, to speed up the process. As a backup plan, I also got a bottle of ‘No-Smell’ rat poison known to kill even the most ravenous and adamant street rats.

I will go straight to the point.

I was raised by a single mother. The conman who sired me, ran away almost immediately I was born. He must have realized, much later, that it wasn’t prudent enough to have two families perhaps for ‘financial reasons’…even though he owned 3 companies that were in business partnerships with various parastatals.

My mum begged him to take responsibility. She wanted a better life for me and it was only fair for the man to contribute to my health and upkeep expenses. When he didn’t listen at all, she sought the help of the courts and made only two requests; he takes a health insurance cover and initiate an education plan for me. He refused. He had his own ways of convincing the judges and so, the case was postponed for years. My mother gave up and resorted to concentrating on her vegetable stall. And I helped whenever I could. I would leave school and run all the way home through her Kiosk.

I would pick some vegetables from the Kiosk, go home, cook, and bring the food to the stand. We would eat as she served her customers. And then, I would rush home again…wash the utensils, clean the house and wash some clothes if there were any to be washed. I needed to be extremely helpful because she was often tired.

Through it all, I scored 398 marks in my KCPE exams out of the possible 500. But, I never bothered to ask what would happen next. The vegetable stand would barely support us. Imagining of going to Maseno High School was just too much of a dare especially after loitering in vain from one office to another looking for either bursaries or help from county officials.

So, as a last resort, we planned and went to see the criminal unintentionally referred to as my father. Our aim was to restlessly beg him to just pay my school fees. We were simply asking for a ‘donation’ as from a poor person to a rich one. And he was rich by then. His other children were in Makini School and they lived in Dennis Pritt, a rich suburb in Nairobi’s Kilimani area.

After trying severally for days to locate him, we found him at Junction Mall along Ngong road. He was comfortably seated in a group of other four clean-shaven but heavily bearded men. He had a huge black phone that wouldn’t fit in his hand, fully. There was a long white cable stretching down to the table which I guess was a charging port. He had another phone on the table. A grey phone that had a bitten apple on the back. It looked more expensive than the one he was holding.

But equally the kind of bottles that were on the table proudly revealed affluence. They had gold layers on them. One was written John Walker and it had a guy who was captured in motion, walking with a long sword or stick. The glasses were tall with thin waists; a complete opposite of the colored plastic cups we had at home with huge insignia- CK.

The guys he was with at that table seemed completely relaxed. The type of composure that lots of money give you. A sweet feeling. Serene. We who had been chased daily by the landlord could never know such kind of peace. Never…specially after we had walked all the way from Kawangware 56 under the torture of Nairobi’s February sun.

Even our dressing showed desperation. I had won my ‘plastic shoes’ [Sandak] that I had used daily for about 9 months. My pair of shorts, the same one that I used on rare occasions had been washed severally such that it had now automatically turned brown, even though it had been black originally. The t-shirt I had chosen for this occasion was my favorite. It had some writings on the back; Will Smith, 2-Pac is back. I kept adjusting it to the collar because it was slightly oversize.

Looking at the strikingly great difference between us and the man I should have been calling DAD made me wonder why he chose a woman from the “low class”!

But, when I turned to look at my mother…objectively, I noticed for the first time that she was truly beautiful. And she had the figure that most people refer to as size 8. I can’t describe her behinds because she is my mother, but let me just say that she was among the heavily blessed. Don’t ask more questions! I admired her African lazed black tall hair that when released, would reach half her back.

This donkey of a father must have been attracted by her beauty. And he did what most crude men do. He lied to her. He must have promised to marry her. And she couldn’t see through his lies! Damn it!

As all this was playing in my mind, my mum’s gaze was fixed on the man that had changed her life for the worst. He had made her drop out of college because of the pregnancy. And those days, parents were stricter. They just couldn’t pay school fees for a pregnant daughter. They were even willing to forget that they had a daughter. And they intentionally forgot her. Actually, the exact words my grandfather used were, ” I don’t know you anymore. Please don’t come back here when I am still alive because I will kill you”!

He would have killed her if she tried going back. The entire village knew his wrath.

Anyway, we finally got the courage to walk towards the man we were in search of. He didn’t immediately see us even though the restaurant had huge open spaces for optimum air circulation.

The security guy stopped us and asked us what we wanted because clearly, we couldn’t afford the cost of even coffee which I came to know much later that it was going for Ksh. 230, a cup of Cappuccino, single shot.

He really never wanted to let us in. But, we insisted. We had to!

So, he roughly shoved my mother aside. And he overestimated his strength on her feeble self because she lost balance and fell on her side. In murderous rage and in defense of the only family member I had and loved dearly, I had to urgently react. I picked up a flower vase that was next to the entrance and drove it to the forehead of the security man. He fell like a log. I was so sure that I had committed murder. The guy did not move an inch even after his colleagues tried to shake him into life. When his legs, started moving, I sighed with relief.

Njoroge, my supposed father, must have noticed and came running. I saw him holding my mother by the shoulder and slightly pulling her aside. They had actually moved some distance away.

The security guy was regaining his consciousness, and I’m sure his revenge would have been lethal. I took the opportunity and ran away…towards my “parents”, just in time to catch up with the start of their discussion.

Njoroge: Why are you following me?

Mum: I am not following you. I want you to pay his fees. [she pointed at me]

Njoroge: This man doesn’t look like me, at all. At all!

Listen, young lady. I want to be clear. I am not paying any school fees for men. How many times have I warned you?

You are pushing me. You are pushing me.

I was still thinking why he had called me a ‘man’!

Mum: Njoroge, please.

Njoroge: Nonsense. Just shut up.

Mum: I…

Njoroge: Shut the f… shut up. Don’t speak.

If you ever come close to me again…I… I swear, I will…just go. Go.

My mum cried. I didn’t show any emotion. It was decided. It was clear. I had no father. And, I wasn’t going to high school. I wasn’t bothered by any of that. My focus was on my mum’s sorrow.

Our journey back was extremely bitter for my mother. She blamed herself for making a “mistake”. She cried openly about her separation from her parents. She wept loudly. Even the passers-by, turned to look at us. Some even stopped to console her. But, most kept a huge distance.

“Oooh, my son! What will I do? Who will help us? My son”

I also found myself shedding tears. My passive unbothered emotions had finally been broken. Even though no wail came out of me, I kept pulling my t-shirt up to my face to dry the torrents that had impaired the vision of my eyes. In no time, the front side of the t-shirt was wet with mucus and tears.

Sometimes, we walked in silence. We consoled ourselves. And sometimes, just when we were too tired…we sat and watched as different vehicles sped back and forth.

By the time we got home, we were too exhausted to go to the vegetable stand. So, for the first time, in a long time…we cooked together and ate as she narrated her childhood stories. She talked fondly about her younger brothers and sisters who couldn’t have helped her anyway. When we finally retired to bed at around 11 pm, my mind was awash with several feelings.

And being young, I thought that my mother’s troubles would have ended if she had one less mouth to feed and if she had no child’s school fees to think about. I imagined that her family would have taken her back if she didn’t have me.

The deep sadistic emotions engulfed my mind and totally blinded me.

And so, the next morning, as she went to the market for supplies, I retrieved my Ksh.70 and went to the shop for a rope and rat poison.

My farewell note read,


My beloved mum.

Oooh, how I love you.

Please don’t forget me.

Your Son,



  1. And so, the next morning, as she went to the market for supplies, I retrieved my Ksh.70 and went to the shop for a rope and rat poison…..what a story!


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