The officers took my belt, shoes and phone, basically everything, leaving me with the trouser and shirt only. They took my statement and at this point, I didn’t have to bite my tongue. I told them everything and by everything I mean EVERYTHING. My uncle had been working with the bank for over 10 years, and he never believed in legit and honest earning.
He made sure I was the head of the marketing department. Whenever we needed the promotional stuff like banners, stands, t-shirts etc he would make sure the printing company we were dealing with would quote more than the actual amount. The funny part is the owner of the printing and branding company was his best friend. He was a man of few words but he was smart, I would give him that. This went on for so many years and it was all peaches and cream till that day.
My mind was racing, in one second I had summed up my whole life since I was born to that moment. How did I get here? I’m smart, well behaved; I could have been way different and better person on my own. It is so easy to blame someone when things go wrong and at that particular moment, I had all the reasons to blame my uncle for everything, or the lust, maybe peer pressure? I wanted to make it big in the city of Nairobi as everyone expects. But deep down I knew I had no one to blame but myself.
I was taken to the cell and in there, reality hit. I’m going to do time, I thought, what, 10 to 20 years? Maybe longer. I can’t even explain the feeling. My mind was darting, and I wanted to cry so I could feel better but I am a man surrounded by like 10 other men. I couldn’t show my weakness, not there at least. I found a corner; I faced the wall and let the tears flow. My father’s words kept playing in my mind on repeat “lower your gaze, cope and stay out of trouble.” The more I thought about my parents, the more I cried. Under all these expensive clothes, I’m just a village boy.
Hours passed on and it’s safe to say that my whole body died in there, I couldn’t feel anything. “It’s over” that’s what I was telling myself, my life is over. “Ragga,” the officer shouted and my heart skipped a beat. “This is it, am being taken to the real prison” I whispered, mostly to myself. I walked slowly to the door and the officer led me to the way I used to get in. It was dark outside so I figured I had been there for like 7-8 hours. What I saw out there broke my heart in pieces. I was speechless and out of breath like I’d just hopped from a treadmill.
I was embarrassed, to say the least. My parents accompanied by my uncle were standing outside. I was not embarrassed by what they were wearing but what I was wearing. For the first time since I came to the city I literally lowered my gaze. How could I look like this and my parents like that? I’m sure that was what everyone out there was asking themselves. My father’s expression froze me; I saw nothing short of disgust on his face, almost hatred, as his face raged with anger. I couldn’t help myself, so I cried and I knew no matter what, my mother will always give me a shoulder to cry on. So I ran to her. I was shocked when she opened her arms to hug me. I haven’t seen them in years or called or sent them any money. How could she be so generous and forgiving?
While I was in the cell, my uncle called his lawyer and made arrangements for my release. He assured me that he will take all the blame and I shouldn’t worry about a thing. I wasn’t sure if he finally came to his senses or he was just scared of my father.
After the whole incident, I thought it was best for me to go back home and just process everything. It’s been a year now and I couldn’t be any happier. I got a job at the post office, where my father used to work.
On that day, I lost everything that I thought I wanted, but in return, I got everything that I know for sure that I need and that is my family. I’m happy here and I can’t have it any other way.
Lunch break is over, I have to go.