When It Hits Home

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CHAPTER 3: YOU CLEAN UP NICE

After Boza and Bampe had cleaned their living room and kitchen, Bampe immediately started making breakfast. He made a smoothie for Boza as he knew he was still very hangover. He called Boza to the kitchen table. Boza came and asked why Bampe called him and Bampe handed him a big glass of a smoothie. Boza never liked smoothies, but Bampe had made it a habit to always make for him smoothies after a night of drinking. He had advised him to always make it and drink it as it helped cure a hangover. He had tried to teach him how to do it and Boza had refused. So Bampe had taken it upon himself to always make it for him first in the morning before he did anything, even when he had to go early to work. He had made sure that before leaving the house, he had taken to his bedroom, forced him to drink it and dragged him downstairs to make sure he didn’’t leave him in bed. Every time Boza had taken it, he had felt better, strong and had always got on with his business. He had always hated the smell though.

Bampe’s smoothie was as usual; smelling of garlic, a remedy that he had got from his grandmother who had always made it for his father when he had drunk. Bampe hated drinking. When he was young, his father drank so much and beat everyone at home, even his own mother, Bampe’s grandmother. Sometimes he would strip naked while he walked home and the whole village would clearly see him in his Adam’s suit. This had bothered Bampe at school as children would make fan of him using his father’s body features. At one point one kid had told Bampe that he looked like his father’s unshaven groin. This had made Bampe break the kid’s tooth, leading to an expulsion from the school.

Boza first hesitated to pick the glass from Bampe’s hands. Bampe insisted,

“Take it!” he commanded. Boza looked at him and picked the glass. He looked down in the glass to see the smoothie mixture. He didn’t like the colour. His face showed disgust in what he was about to put in his mouth and down into his stomach.

“Don’t mind about how it smells or how ugly it looks, you...“Bampe was saying

“I will thank you when I am not hangover anymore yeah yeah yeah...” added Boza who also still added,

“We have had this talk so many times.”

“Then by now you would know to immediately just gulp it all in one take if you don’t want to be reminded.” Said Bampe. Boza then put the glass on his mouth, held his nose with his other hand and gulped the contents of the glass down his throat. When he was done, he landed the glass hard on the kitchen table while he put out his tongue and groaned, looking disgusted of what he had just taken. He picked a paper towel on the table and cleaned his lips. He then bent forward and looked hard at Bampe as said,

“Are you happy now?” He immediately started off as if he was going back to his bedroom when Bampe called him back.

“Where do you think you are going? Come back here!”

Boza turned, looked hard at Bampe and came back to the table. Bampe was getting a teapot ready. He handed it to Boza to take it outside to his mother who was sitting in her car. Boza then asked Bampe,

“Why do you hate me this much?” Bampe laughed and then said,

“It’s your mother. If she burns you with it, it’s up to her. But she is a sweet mother.”

“Yes, she is sweet, but never cross her when she is angry.” Boza reminded Bampe. But Bampe was very quick to add that all parents were like that.

“All parents are sweet to their children, but also when they are angry, they are like wild animals. You never cross their paths, they pounce at you at once with drawn claws. And trust me no child ever wants that. They always see parents as monsters and forget the good things they had sacrificed for them”

“You say it like we are kids.” Said Boza.

“But yes, no matter how old you are, you are still a kid in the eyes of your parents. I got a chance to see my great grandmother and she treated my grandfather like a baby. When my grandfather got sick before he died, my great grandmother was even about to breast feed him. I mean if she only could. She cared for him like he was a baby, and yet she is the one that looked even way to ill. She was the one that needed that much care.“” Said Bampe. Boza had looked on as Bampe told him that story. When Bampe finished, Boza said,

“Let me take her the tea before it gets cold, which would be another war.” He walked to the door holding a tray with a tea pot, a small tea cup, a sugar tin and a teaspoon, a banana and some biscuits. He opened the unlocked door with a finger and walked out to his mother’s car.

Bampe was still in the kitchen, but he could see Mrs. Baru in her car through the living room window. He saw Boza walk to the car. She moved out of the car and signaled him to put the tray on top of the car. Boza knew exactly where to put it because she had always taken her tea from that same spot a few times. Boza started to walk back into the house but his mother called him back. This made Bampe want to find out exactly what she was going to say. He moved from the kitchen and sat close to the open window in the sitting room.

“What’s with your friend?” asked Mrs. Baru while pointing at the house. This signaled to Boza that his mother was talking about Bampe.

“What about him?” Boza asked. He then looked back at the house and then back at his mother.

“Well, you men have reached a stage where each of you is supposed to be with your own families.” Mrs. Baru said, this time without any anger in her voice. Meanwhile she was pouring the hot milk tea from the teapot into her cup. She added sugar and tea and stirred slowly.

“Mom, you just told us inside the house.” Boza reminded his mother and his mother looked at him.

“You may not like to hear it but trust me, this is just the beginning. When children start to get in their twenties, their families are expecting them to get their own families and they start reminding you to get one. If you think it’s going to be only me asking, you are very wrong. Wait until you meet your aunties, uncles and grandparents.” Mrs. Baru lectured.

“Why does it matter anyway? Don’t I have the right to choose when I want to marry?” Boza asked.

“Yes you do, but this is the time you should consider my son. Your prime is now. This is a time you should marry and have your own family, when you are still strong. It will teach you responsibility. Right now you are here spending money on expensive drinks and parties. If you had a wife or and children, you would be spending sparingly, saving more money than you save now, preparing for your future and theirs. But if you wait to marry when you are forty, by the time your children are in high school you may never be strong enough to take care of them well.” Mrs. Baru finished. She looked at her watch while holding her cup in one hand. She then added,

“You should think about telling him to move out and you marry. He has been freeloading for long now to have saved enough money to live on his own.”

“Wait, you said he could stop paying rent and now you are calling him a freeloader?” Boza asked, almost irritated. He added, He never missed paying rent for a full year.

Bampe had heard everything. It was faint as they had tried to whisper but they didn’t do a good job whispering. They had thought being alone on the drive would mean no one had heard them. They had been wrong. Bampe had always known this time would come and he had stacked away some money to help him start on his own. He had been listening while he took his breakfast. He got up, walked to the kitchen sink and put his cup and tray there, washed them and went to his bedroom to get ready for the party.

Meanwhile Mrs. Baru had also finished taking her tea. Boza picked the tray and brought it back inside. He took it to the kitchen sink. He poured himself a cup and had his own breakfast watching his mother from the living room window. She had now sat back in her car but with the door open. She seemed to be busy swiping on her phone. Boza finished taking tea and went to his bedroom to get ready for the party too.

The two young men came out of their house looking dashing in their suits. Mrs. Baru thought they were going to steal the attention of the bride at the introduction. She got out of the car, walked towards them and said,

“Do you people even know your tradition? It’s an introduction and you are supposed to be dressed in traditional wear. Where are your kanzus? Yes, you are dashing but please dress for the occasion.” Advised Mrs. Baru.

“Come on mom, we know it’s an introduction party. The kanzus are with the gifts in my car. We will put on the kanzus when the party starts.” Boza explained to his mother. Mrs. Baru was happy that her children, yes her children cleaned up nice. She started envisioning them meeting beautiful girls at that party later that day. Soon afterwards, Mr Baru arrived on a boda boda. He got off the boda boda, paid the rider and walked up the compound. From Bampe’s view on the verandah, Mr. Baru’s bald head seemed to reflect away the sunlight that was hitting so hard on him. He too wasn’t wearing a kanzu but a suit. Bampe looked at him and saw he looked like Boza except Boza was a little taller and smaller. He had known him for many years but that day looked more like his son. Bampe then walked to Mr. Baru who had now reached at his wife’s car. He extended his arm and waited for him to start the greeting. Bampe had been raised by his great grandmother and then his grandmother and had been taught that while greeting an old person, he would extend his hand and wait for that person to greet and then he would reply. According to his grandmother, it was very rude for a child or anyone to greet a person older than them especially with the traditional greeting when shaking hands.

“Keije Keije Keije, Buhooro? Buhooro? Buhooro gye?” greeted Mr. Baru. Bampe was replying to every word with simple “mmh” This sounded a little funny to Bampe because it was Mr. Baru who had just come to them, but he is the one that was greeting with a “Keije” which means “Welcome” or literary “Thanks for coming.” When he finished the greeting. Mr. Baru looked around the compound as if scanning it for his future remembrance.

Mrs. Baru got out of the car, went around, opened the passenger door and sat, leaving her door still open. Boza who had gone back inside the house reappeared with his car keys in his hands. He closed the door to the house and locked it. He then walked down to his father, greeted him shortly with a simple handshake and a Good afternoon dad. Mr. Baru then asked,

“Which route should we use?” and Boza said,

“We will see when get into the city.” He didn’t seem like himself and Bampe knew. Bampe walked to him and grabbed the car key from him. He went behind the house and came back driving a white Toyota Harrier car. He pulled up in front of Mrs. Baru’s car. Mr. Baru got into the driver’s seat of his wife’s car and reversed to the road. Boza entered and rode off with Bampe.

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