From my mother’s kitchen – the missing books
Waweru sat pretty gazing at his classmates who were busy trying to finish their homework. Thank God for his mother’s strictness, he could be in the same position as the rest of the class.
May be he could just borrow a copy of “Neighbours” and read one more story before class begins since there was nobody to chat with. The thought turned into a tap on his desk-mate, Kariuki, who hurriedly shoved the book at him making it clear that he was a nag.
“I just wish my parent could buy me this book,” Waweru thought to himself.
Waweru had grown up to be content that he was born in humble background and he could not get as much as his friends would. But the more he closely looked at his family, he kept telling himself that things would be better.
If dad came home early, Waweru thanked heavens for it and prayed that it would last at least another day. Only for things to go back to normal the next day and his father would be back to his drinking habits in a town where everyone new everyone.
Shopkeepers along the neighbourhood had become hostile to his family as they owed each and every one of them. Dad would get things on credit from one shop and mum would get from a different one. They avoided owing any of the shopkeepers a lot of money but it made no difference when it came to the total debt.
His parents were always an embarrassment since neighbours three houses away could clearly hear them argue. Slaps on his mother’s face were no secret as the only thing that separated his bed and that of his parents was an old bed sheet.
As he read the book, his mind suddenly wandered as he daydreamed of a future that he would have. He imagined himself as an important member of the society – a rich man who was the envy of the entire town.
He had a beautiful family, a nice house and a nice car. Everyone loved him and he was always out to help those who did not have.
“Good morning class,” Waweru’s daydreaming was cut short by Mrs Kamau’s screechy voice.
The whole class rose to the greeting as Mrs Kamau asked them to place their homework on the desks. Mrs Kamau was a teacher who was dreaded by all students and even some of her colleagues who had passed through her hands years before. She had been a teacher for the last 40 years and everyone in the town talked about her.
Mrs Kamau started walking around the class cane in hand, as she checked her students’ work. On the other end of the class, Waweru was shaking hard his desk-mate could notice.
“What is it?” Kariuki asked him.
“I can’t find my book. I think I left it in my mother’s kitchen,” he whispered.
Waweru had to think fast or Mrs Kamau’s cane would be landing on his behind mercilessly. He immediately shot is arm up and with tears in his eyes shouted “excuse me teacher, my stomach is really aching”.
Mrs Kamau instructed Kariuki to help Waweru out of class so that he could get some medicine from the first aid box in the deputy headmaster’s office. The two boys rushed out as Waweru squashed his stomach in ‘pain’.
The two boys had played Mrs Kamau but they were the best students in her class anyway. She continued inspecting the other student’s homework and assumed that Waweru and Kariuki had done the work.
During break-time, Waweru sat under a tree in pretense, as he was still ‘sick’. He wished he were playing soccer with the other boys but the teachers would see him from the staffroom and know he was faking it.
But things were just about to get worse when Mrs Kamau sent a class two boy that he had only seen like once and summoned him to the staffroom.