When hormones hit skyrocket any thinking is appreciated. Hard did they hit and bad did I become. Here I was thinking of so many what Ifs. Am I adopted? But then the loudest aunties would have already bad mouthed it. Like they do in the movies when you get all the attention or stir trouble then one would say “you evil child, you keep bringing bad omen in this family. Why did they even adopt you?” Or when exchanging banter in the midst of silly giggling a loving cousin who overheard the family been sworn to secrecy would spill the beans ‘did you know I heard them say you are adopted.’ Or better still, were they waiting for the right time to tell me? Then I would rejoice hallelujah with the ‘I knew it. I knew I wasn’t from here. The way you guys have been treating me, the adrenaline in me doesn’t match either of you. Now can you take me to my people!’ Or I would cry my heart out, feel like a sharp object had pierced it, go for days without eating, sleeping and fuss ‘noooo, this can’t be true. You are my real parents. I love you. You have treated me equally with everyone. Please tell me you lying. I don’t want to hear about the past.’
Neither of the above happened. Instead, I approached the man himself and demanded for an explanation which he did very well. The second name was his father’s, the third name his elder brother’s. Confused as you are, I was taken aback to the Gikuyu traditional naming system. The one where I was taught the first son takes names from the father’s side, the second from his mother and the same goes for naming daughters. But then when you have many sons or daughters the naming starts taking names from aunties and uncles. Even that still baffles me. The charade that got you into trouble for bending the rules and naming children after a black American super star, Man United player or a character in that soap opera. Ena Magaspark! He was the third son. The last born. I say last because since time in memorial I have come to realize they are the ones who get away with everything, the ones who make us first born’s look stupid, the ones whose parents will go over the moon and beyond to give them everything then they be singing 7 rings to us. They want. They find everything sailing smoothly for them. We already created a path for them, theirs is to have. You broke call the first, you need a phone call the second and we never get tired of chopping our money for them. The lucky. And I think this type of lucky is what brought my father to naming himself after his elder brother and father. Why he dropped his uncle’s name is a puzzle. Yet the law is the law. Once written you can’t undo.
Flash forward to university, I made a second album. That time I badly wanted to jet out of the country. I even envisioned universities overseas. I was already tired of been injected with subjects that made me look like I was of no use to society. The kind that even after burning the midnight oil, I still flopped badly. They got in through one ear and escaped through the window via the other. I think I wanted to experience another culture, another life, another me. African parents been African decided east or west home is best. I lost interest in choosing a career when walls started saying some are crowded, others have a market while others were new. It seemed like life was already made out for you. You had no say whatsoever. Deep inside me I wanted to help the vulnerable by fighting for their rights, highlighting their plight or been in the ground facing shit together and providing solutions. My indecisiveness made me take longer in enrolling my ass and to test the waters I kicked it off with a Diploma, not Degree but later advanced. You can tell which career path I took of the 3.
Taking matters into my hands, I said enough was enough and headed to the famous Bishop Gardens to start my birth certificate application. Nairobi because I was born, partly raised there (many never know this). Armed with all my parent’s documents it was time. Time to face the old I had heard worked there and prayed it would be a smooth sail. The long queues didn’t startle me, I was accustomed to but they never alerted me when lunch hour came you would all be kicked out of the premises and wait for another hour to be served. Then the lines would get longer since the clever ones would stream in during that hour. Another thing I wasn’t told was the rude vibe. The kind that made you wonder what was serving if the ones employed to assist you could not do it appropriately. Having dully filled in my information I was given a two weeks’ notice to come counter check if the data I had provided was correct. They passed on really quickly and as expected mine had a problem. Not even the lawyer’s affidavit I had solved anything. In fact it made matters worse. ‘We are already used to this things. You pay a lawyer to give you this document to tell us lies.’ Ooh really now! I could have sworn under my grandfather’s grave that I wasn’t lying but who was he to believe me. I was referred to the oldest of the oldest. He walked as if he had pee that needed some releasing. His back was hunched like that of the Hunchback of Notre Dame. Brown discolored teeth accompanied by a white mustache matched his grey hair and a wrinkled tired face had RETIREMENT written all over. Moreover, the big brown glasses made him look more of Goat Matata.
Papers folded in his decaying notebook were always clutched under his arm wherever he walked you would have thought that was where he was hiding his pension. Adding salt to injury they had decided to baptize my father’s maiden name from *Hezron to *Harrison. Here I was with another name, plus the two my father had given upon himself and the real surname I knew of. To prove that records never lied, he went to those archive shelves where data from the 90s resided. There he came with a big book that would have qualified for a Harry Porter sequel. Upon perusing he came to my concern page and there was *Harrison together with the two self-naming names. His response to my problems, “This is not your father (the original documents I had). Go ask your mother who your father is.”
To be continued…