I never thought going back home would be so scary. In the eyes of many I was invincible, unshakeable and I felt so too but now I felt insecure. Afraid of the future, reality and of how events will conform after knowing the truth about my family.
I inserted the key in the ignition space and roared the engine to life. I sped along the streets of the city under the sun teeming with skyscrapers, into the outskirts with slums on one side and mansions on the other and then into the large fields of green sprouting with all sorts of crops and some animals grazing on the lush grass. The fresh atmosphere tickled my lungs and for a moment I thought I was in a spa.
As I approached my hometown, I was astonished by the positive change and I nearly got lost if it were not for my former school’s small billboard which was a perfect landmark. I veered off the tarmac into the rough road that led home. My 4-wheel drive gave me the comfort I needed but was I going to enjoy it for long really?
From a far I could see our home. I blocked my mind from having any thoughts, I just wanted to face the truth as it was. Finally, I was at the gate. What I saw made my heart sink a bit. I got out of my car ignoring all the young children who were amazed by the sight of this lavish car. I was entangled in bewilderment and indecisiveness. Our main house and massive storehouse were no longer there. All that was left was my small hut on my right. The home was so dirty, it looked like a dumpsite.
A voice from behind brought me back to my senses. It was Karis, my long-time friend. I looked at him expecting some answers and not greetings.
‘Your father has been a beggar since you left. He used to…’ ‘What do you mean he used to?’ ‘Your father is dead!’ this message dislocated my heart and I felt a pit in my stomach. ‘When?’ ‘He died last week’. I could not believe what I heard. I was a week late.
Karis took me to his grave behind my hut and he watched me sob uncontrollably. For a while he left me, and I was there wailing. I lay on the ground in disbelief and despair. I felt as if my success was nothing. My joy was to see my dad proud of me and himself for believing in me.
‘Njoro!’. Someone had called me, and the voice was that of a woman. I looked up and saw my mum and brothers. I stood up and embraced them all amidst sobs. My mum gave me a letter which my dad had written before his demise. I put it in my pockets and decided to seek for solace in my family’s shoulders. I spent the whole week at home narrating to them everything. My mum apologized heartily for disbelieving in me, but I had already forgiven her. However, they could not help but commend me for my wisdom. After conducting a decent memorial for my dad and a clean up of the home, I decided to take them to where I lived and worked.
We arrived at the company when the morning meeting had just begun. I asked for some time and decided to read what my dad had written in the letter. ‘I have lived a life with challenges, and I have faced a lot and sometimes I felt like cursing life. I have lost a lot in my whole life but one thing I’ll always thank life for is my sons, more so my first born Njoroge who is always so determined to make me proud. You have been my joy from the time you were born, and I thank God for my beautiful wife who brought them to this world without any fear. I have given up everything I have to you and I have been left desolate. However, I cannot regret anything because even if I die, I know I brought up warriors. You are my only hope and I kindly ask you to work as hard as you’ve always done. I am so sorry I could not afford to take you to campus…I just couldn’t make it. I was incapacitated but I know the warrior in you will not stop you from reaching out to your goals. Let me repeat what I told you before- I want you to be men and use your brains to get what you want in life. May God bless you!’.
When I looked up, nearly everyone was in tears. I introduced my brothers and mum who did the icing on the cake. After that everyone burst into a thunderous applause and I could see the many streams of tears in people’s faces. Patel approached me and give me a warm embrace. All I wished for was for my dad to witness this. All in all, in life we must gain and must lose, purpose is to gain more and lose less.