Brianelvis+ Cerebral

Brianelvis+ Cerebral

Brianelvis+ Cerebral

Monday, 27 July 2015


I swear I will kill you and give birth to another! How can I lose my mind over a child?

Hear that come out of your mother’s mouth and you immediately realize that she has zero tolerance for insolence and absolutely no chills.  

The scene plays out way back in 1995. I was out playing past my 4:30 pm curfew because time is a bitch when you are having fun. The crazy thing though is that my mother expected me to some how be able to tell when its time to go back home. As a kid, there are only two ways to tell time. Either your stomach reminds you, or darkness starts to blanket the playground. 4:30 is smack in the middle of these two alarms and there was no way of ever getting it right. To be safe, I would always go back to the house at two in the afternoon and waste two and a half hours of my life everyday (Afternoon classes were unheard of ) as other kids played outside. 

One fateful day,  I convinced myself that I could tell the difference between 3:30, 4:00 and 4:30.
I got it horribly wrong, only realizing that I had to go back home when other kids with way cooler mothers, (read dettol mums) started being called home. It was around 6:40 -7:00 pm. The sun had long hidden behind the escarpments and to find a hiding place was the only thing I wanted too.
I trudged back home promising God all manner of things if only mama would be late from work this one time. The distance to the house inexplicably shrank and every forward step seemed to take me closer than I anticipated.

Please God, I swear. . . no I don’t swear because you don’t like it when people swear. I can’t directly promise you either, but I know I will be a good boy forever if you give me a pass this one time. Just this one time. I will never ever steal or lick sugar again.  Are you angry with me because I forgot to pray last night? Is that why you set me up for my mother’s wrath? 

God I know you are a god of mercy, I know you are not vindictive. Please please God, let it pass and I will always pray every another night until I grow up.  I swear . . . no I don’t swear, but I will listen to the Sunday school teacher, I will carry a pencil and book next Sunday. I won’t leave early and from now on I will never watch Conan and Sinbad. I know you hate them because they make me skip Sunday school and that is why you are punishing me now. Dear lord, spare me this cup, (I thought I could soften His heart if I went all Jesus on Him) and I will change my ways.

I think roping in Jesus was the last straw for God. The negotiation ended that very second. My mother appeared from behind the front door of the house. Call it telepathy, sixth sense or whatever, she saw me before I could duck. Her eyes settled on me the second she opened that door, and I knew God’s answer was a firm no. To this day it still holds the record as the fastest answer from God. Not only did He say no, but He was actively against me.  First, ‘GPSing’ to my mum my whereabouts; second, timing exactly when I was walking in too large a space to disappear anywhere.

Mama’s countenance immediately changed from one of deep worry to that of fervent rage. 

-Come here!The ol' lady barked out.

She is now seething, and I imagine froth coming out of the edges of her mouth. Id rather be anywhere else but where she is commanding, but I figure some belated obedience would at least reduce the looming punishment. I approach her cautiously.

-Reti! (Hurry up!) 

I oblige, and she grabs me by my scrawny arms. Her grip is so firm; I think she wants to crash my humerus.

-What time is it? Ah ne in Kanye? (Where were you?)

It is funny how African and Asian parents ask their miscreant kids obvious (often rhetorical) questions at such moments. It raises a slight hope that maybe they have no idea what the hell is going on. That maybe, just maybe, you could get away with a misdemeanor. It is utterly dangerous though; it opens a window for lies, which only infuriates them the more.

I was tempted to lie. I wanted to say that I had just hoped out of the house to return a borrowed pencil. However, I wisely decided against it. I had no idea how long she had been home and I was as dirty as a mole anyway. Silence is the best fence to sit on.

-Dwoka wah! (Answer me then/won’t you?) Where were you? 

This time even more sternly. She grabs a huge chunk of my cheek with her other arm and pinches me so hard I lose all sensitivity in that area.

Now in our house it was especially confusing when a parent interrogated you in two languages. There was this rule: you only answer or speak in the language you are spoken to in. I am in the frying pan, I most definitely don’t wanna jump into the fire now! So what do I do? I start crying.
Crying is always the last ammo. If it doesn’t elicit pity, at least it reduces or numbs the stress in the situation.

-Wek yuak! (Stop crying!)

 It seems to piss her off even the more. I realize to my horror that it is having the exact opposite effect. I can’t stop now and tears start to drench my chicks. She starts pulling me into the house and I know that there are truck loads of problems in Houston. I start wailing, and she pulls me in even faster, legs kicking the other arm flailing.
I am dragged  past the house help standing at the kitchen door, into the living room. I am slightly embarrassed to be crying out so loud in front of her. I notice a grin on her face and realize how much power she has in the house. She is the one who set me up.

“That witch set me up.” I wise up to the fact, but I can’t mull over it because I am being pulled fast into mama's bedroom. That is the one room you do not want to be in when she is cross. I am desperate, I can’t go in there. I have circa five or six seconds before we make it through the corridor to the door. My last respite, I confess and start begging to be spared the rod.

That is when she says it.

-I swear I will kill you and give birth to another! How can I lose my mind over a child?

Aware of my impending demise, I get into self preservation mode.

Please don’t kill me, I promise promise . . . aki don’t even consider me as your child, I will slave for you, I will not even call you mum, please just don’t kill me! Ill do anything you want madam.

It worked. She stopped pulling me and turned back to look at her load. Her eyes fiery, but with a slight hint of disbelief at what she had just heard. For a very brief while she stood there still, my upper arm still firmly in her clutch. She was contemplating something.

Wailing subsided into sobs. Sobs trigger mucus; mucus mixed with tears doesn’t feel okay on the face. So I used my free arm to try and wipe it out. Her peripheral caught the moving arm and she must have thought I was trying to wriggle myself free. 

She grabbed even tighter and said . . .

-Hapana, sitakuchapa.  Hii shetani ndio lazima tujaribu kutoa ndani yako.

I finally made it to the bedroom, where she kept a small rubber whip. With her left arm she held me and with her right lashed me repeatedly until I couldn’t cry anymore. 

Then she let go.

-Nenda ukaoge. Tena na maji baridi, auntie alikuchemshia maji hukutaka. Then go straight to bed, no supper for you today.

I was only too happy to leave her presence. I did not care about the cold bath (cause the shower was for adults only) or supper.

I just remembered that night because a friend of mine called crying on the phone because her nine y. o is ‘stressing’ her out.

-Kiboko kidogo haitakaua.

That was the only thing (and frankly cheapest and most effective way) I could think of.

-Woiye, na akiturn out disturbed akiwa mkubwa?

I just laughed.