#4

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.

4 thoughts on “#4

  1. The fact that I find this compositionally ideal means I should be worried? I find that I need at least a little fracturing to get through the day.

    And, at the risk of engaging in the kind of binaries that annoy me, I ask: is this a work of fiction?

  2. I was actually thinking of you when I published this from a notebook I was keeping last spring. It feels so thin compared to Julius and his rich life.

    It lives in that strange world occupied by all my writing, semi-fictional. Increasingly, I am convinced I need a first-person narrator to tell certain stories. He’s always been there–he just seems more insistent now.

  3. If it’s any comfort, even my life these days feels thin compared to the evocative melancholia Julius seems to inhabit so easily. That mofo’s trying to outreal me.

    In any case, this is not thin at all. So much evoked in those few paragraphs. What I can’t bear is these 700-page chatterboxes who, fundamentally, have nothing to say.

  4. I love a certain kind of sprawling novel with, seemingly, no real direction. At least once a year. If you’ve read Thiong’o’s Wizard of the Crow, I’d love to know what you think about it.

    But, as my own writing might indicate, I relish conciseness. Short novels thrill me. I adore aphorisms.

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