Every family has something they are known for. Good or bad. It’s the thing that distinguishes one from another. For some it’s the ability to thrive in business while for other it’s in wrecking their spouses. For some it’s the ability to educate their kids while for others it’s their first nature to drop out of school.
For this particular family they are known for their hair. It’s dark, long, thick and shiny. It’s evident in all the sisters and wavy on the two brothers. Their color complexion is dark and smooth. No wonder I had a crush on the elder sister. Actually I don’t know what happened. I’ll just say we grew up. If I had a chance I would exchange my hair for theirs. Not that I don’t like my hair, but in my family we are not known for our hair.
Hair is not everything. You need a head, a smart one for that matter. Being fortunate is having a smart haired head. This is what attracted me to this boy. Young, playful and collected was Macharia. I have known him from his childhood. And all his life I always meet him at the roadside looking after the sheep. He would wave at me and sometimes smile. That was all we shared.
I have had a deep liking for this boy. First as I said his hair was wavy. Second it’s because he seemed responsible, bright and joyful. And as much as I didn’t have a personal relationship with this boy, I feel like I have known him all along. I have seen him grow up into a handsome young man, and one thing he was known for is tending his mother’s sheep on the roadside.
But Macharia had to leave us too soon. Only fourteen years old. And for some reasons I can’t get him out of my mind. I think he is the first person who even without having a personal relationship whatsoever I have mourned this hard. I wish I made friends with him. I wish he knew me personally. I wish I had personal memories or even memorabilia out of him. But now he is gone.
I couldn’t even attend his burial. It would have been awkward traveling from far to bury a kid. Someone am not even related to, someone who is not family. And for your information, one thing am known for is for not going for burials.
On an afternoon two weeks ago, Macharia and his small brother were riding a bike down hill towards the only dam in the village. That was to be his last ride. I don’t know the details of the ride but they fell and he never spoke since. Just to die five days after the incident.
On my teenage life I had rode on the same downhill severally enjoying the scenery and the feeling. Most a time against my mother’s instructions, however, she always had a way of getting to know how I was riding my bicycle. And I always got my beatings. If there is one thing my mum is known for, it’s how she raised us.
But now I don’t understand this pain. Why is my heart tormented? Why can’t I stop thinking about Macharia’s death? I know in my heart that when young people die I hurt, but I think when a smart haired boy dies, it hurts too much.
Macharia, now that you are dead, life will go on. But it will not be as usual for me. Because I know I have lost a friend in the making. I will miss you so much. I wish I knew you well.