Dad used to claim he developed late. Now he mutters about endocrinology, my mother’s unusual blood, the effects of vegetarianism. He recalls my fondness for eating kidneys and thanks god I have not developed breasts. Yet.
Mom shrugs, prays, and consumes yet another bottle of vodka. Bought by the bottle, consumed by the crateful. She’s not an alcoholic. She’s an adult. Thankfully, she spares me the “my breast fed you and my back carried you” speech. I suspect she misses the convenience of my absence, nine months of boarding school.
You’d think I’d worry that AIDS is killing my generation, about our crippling national debt, about the depletion of forests and destruction of big game, about the recurrent cycle of drought and floods, the increase in violent crime.
To those things I say “Shauri ya Mungu!” His will and His fault.
Who am I to complain?
Swept up in the tide of fashionable afrocentricism, my parents bestowed a proper name: three syllables and no meaning. I guess it embodies the cryptic African, he of the shifty eyes and treacherous laugh.
* * *
My best friend in primary school always got higher marks in composition. The above narrative explains why.