Written by Okumu Kenneth
We were young and…dumb! We’d attend parties and party like our lives depended on it. We smoked bhang because almost everyone was doing it. Our lungs can bear witness. We even smoked shisha before everyone had started doing it. Why? Because we thought that inhaling and exhaling smoke through our mouths and nostrils was cool. At the time, it felt good-it felt absolutely heavenly. We drank alcohol and spewed vitriol. We’d pick up petty fights because when you’re drunk, you’re always capable of doing…anything!
You’d find us in D6 looking for the next prey to cohabit with, or somewhere on the pavement looking at girls’ bums. We were looking for the girl with the biggest behind and then we’d talk about it for the better part of the day. Our stories revolved around girls. Not even once did we talk about starting a business or something close to that. We were lost (for lack of a better word). Not even a single word about Church. Unfortunately, we’d thrown God to the periphery. Why? Because You Only Live Once (YOLO). Or so it seemed.
Even the ‘holy’ ones didn’t do much really. They weren’t any better but at least they were doing fine. At least they spared their livers and lungs. We didn’t and as a result, we’ll pay for our sins sooner or later. There’s no denying it. They weren’t any better because their lifestyles revolved around the library and church. Not a bad thing but hey! There’s more to life. Because we’d unfortunately thrown God to the periphery and books even further, we did not have any one to look up to. Not as far as success in a business venture or something related to that was concerned. And so we wandered around with no sense of direction. Nothing.
We’d miss classes. A few classes but to do what necessarily? Wait for it…nothing! At times we’d miss those classes only to discuss how over the weekend zetu zilikua zimeshika. I think about that nowadays and cry. Of course from the inside. Well, you can’t just cry out of nowhere, people will think that you’re going bonkers. We’d even go ahead and talk about how girl X and Y are blessed, and how they’d slept with boy X and Y or perhaps equivalent nonsense, because we thought we had all the time in the world. Man, jokes on us because, the clock was still ticking. Time folks, waits for no man.
We would walk in our crews. Almost everyone had a crew. A crew based on sharing the same likes or because you guys happened to have been allocated the same room. Or perhaps you were in the same high school. We were comfortable in our cocoons thinking that probably it was going to be rosy all through. We did not harbor the thought that one day, we’d disintegrate and everyone would be forced to map their own roadmap.
Three years now and a year before my classmates and I graduate from college and reality is starting to show its ugly face. It’s even clearer for the finalists. We don’t drink and smoke like we used to. Those who still do, I guess, are cut from a different cloth. Maybe they have other problems. You can’t be losing bets on a daily basis and don’t do drugs, can you? What’s your heart made of? Stone? We’ll soon be out of school. Some will get lucky to land a few jobs, some won’t. Whatever will happen to those who won’t is mystery. Let’s wait and see.
We had fun. Lots of it. But we probably forgot that we weren’t getting any younger. That we were supposed to try something out, anything that would shape our future. The time that we were supposed to be shaping each other out, we drunk booze and smoked whatever we came across, unfortunately. All is not lost though. A turnaround is possible. There are some people to look up to now.
I come across guys who used to be everywhere during our freshmen years and they always seem to tell me the same thing, “Boss, a time comes when ni lazima ucheze chini.” Looks like there’s more to life. They surely can’t be wrong, can they?
okumu is a Kenya Blog Awards nominee (Creative Writing Category). To vote for him, click here