Black Blue


I never really enjoyed school. Well, maybe I enjoyed the varsity experience but who says that is school? University was a time to experience life. You attend class when you needed to. You could otherwise be busy doing nothing, not attending class and still go through four year, get your second-class upper division and graduate like everyone else who attended all the classes religiously. I know a friend who in my estimation, which is near accurate, could not have attended more than 10% of all her classes. She however managed a second-class division and sat next to me on graduation. She had a way of knowing when the impromptu CATs would be administered and on the days that she’d miss them, she had someone write the test for her.

So no, university can’t be termed as school.

Primary School was a rather torturous experience for me. What with the waking up early, running to school so that you don’t find the teacher on duty at the gate. We lived across the school. Between our school and home was a sort of a valley. I could see school from home and vice versa. I could also hear the school bell from my bed on the days that my internal alarm clock decided to fail me-these days were far and in between. I needed to wake up just twenty minutes to the bell ringing and I would be in class before the nosy bell ringer performed his sacred duties.

There were days, however, that my time math wouldn’t agree with reality. On these days, I would get late. Getting late meant that I would have to try to run to school and if you know me, I can’t run to save my own life. That wouldn’t help because two minutes late and one hour late was considered lateness on the same scale. There was this teacher; he wasn’t nice back then, I don’t know whether he is now, but again come to think of it, I am not sure that there were any nice teachers. This one was mean though; he was noticeable mean. It is like he deliberately chose meanness over kindness. Almost like he would wake up in the morning and decide that ‘I am going to be mean as hell today’ kind of mean. He had an obsession with children’s noses. He would line you up like a guard of honor and dig inside your noses pinching you till you shed tears from one eye like a donkey. Needless to say, that gave him immense satisfaction.

Well, this particular day, when I was in class six, is unforgettable even after I invoked the power of selective amnesia. I have started to believe that the mind forgets what it wishes. You can try to make it forget but you’ll still remember things you wish you’d have forgotten years ago. If you think I am kidding, try forgetting your ex’s number-see how that goes. So we had a mathematics double lesson. Which is tragic if you ask me. Why for Pete’s sake would anyone want kids to sit for that long in a math class. Why pray tell? This is even worse when you think that the only mathematics principles most of us use are multiplication, addition and subtraction. We don’t even use division because, well, division is of the devil.

But we sat in this class because we were in school and school wasn’t family property. You couldn’t decide whether you wanted to be there or not. In a case where you felt the need to skip school, both the teachers and your parents would have a field day beating the living daylights out of you. So double math lesson it was, whether you understood anything or not. The teacher had taught and decided to test our understanding by giving us an exercise. There was pin drop silence as everyone embarked on the assignment.

I must have gotten nothing out of the lesson because I started doodling.

It’s a thing I do when my mind wonders. I occasionally zone out if I have stayed in one place for too long. My attention span is limited, very limited. I doodled a bit before an even brighter idea occurred to me. Why not exercise my musical prowess? I started humming, in my head, of course. I doodled, hummed, doodled and hummed some more. The trick was that before the teacher can get to mark everyone’s work, the bell indicating the end of the very boring math lesson would ring. So I hummed on.

There’s something about humming though, you don’t really hear how loud you are especially if you are absent minded. My volume kept going up at every hum. I was now humming loudly and forgetting that everyone was silently trying to write the assignment. Please trust your pastor when he tells you that the devil is a bad devil because that’s no lie. It must have been his work and no one else.

“Nani huyo mjinga anaimba?” The voice of the irate math teacher rang out.

That voice coupled with my desk mate’s futile attempts to get me to stop humming brought be back to my senses albeit a little too late. Math teacher was not amused and neither would I now that I think of it. Why would a pupil be humming in a math class when they were supposed to be concentrating on finishing an assignment given to them? Had someone confused a math class with a music class? Miss Math teacher read mischief and disrespect.

“This boy must think that I am his grandmother or something!” She must have thought.

My desk mate was a good Christian-a catholic to be precise. He had also been raised well and didn’t believe in lying so of course he ratted me out effortlessly. He must have been very proud of himself at that point because at the back of his mind he must have thought that the teacher wanted to gift me with sweets or something-he was very mistaken.

“Ebu kuja hapa.” Miss Math said in a cocky shrill voice.

I led myself to the front of the class like a sheep to the slaughterhouse. Our Math teacher was a stocky young woman. She was a non-nonsense teacher who didn’t believe in child folly or mischief. She had been known to be high-handed a couple of times. Whenever she was the teacher on duty a pupil would more often or not end up being hurt out of her beating. So you can imagine, me walking up to this teacher innocently believing that she was just going to give me a pep talk on concentration and the importance of math in my future life. That to say the least was very hopeful.

I stood before her dumfounded. She keenly looked at me as though to try and figure out whether I was of sound mind. She stood from her seat, pushed it back to the walk and took a step towards me. She sized me up, looking at me from my head down to my feet, all this time uttering not a single word. She then extended her hand to my neck. At this point, I was ready to be strangled to death but no, she adjusted my tie and sweater then brushed her hand over my hair. She then slowly sat back on her seat and continued marking the book before her.

I was now confused, totally. I didn’t exactly understand what she was trying to do. Was she done? Should I go back and take my seat? I was still baffled at her actions when she spoke again, this time in a very calm and collected voice.

“What is wrong with you kijana?” She inquired. I was just about to open my mouth and say something when she sharply interjected.

“Are you mentally ill or just plain stupid?” She yelled.

Of course I wasn’t mentally ill and neither was I stupid. But I highly doubt that those questions were meant to be answered because before I could gather my thoughts together, the teacher who was seated the last time I checked had jumped out of her seat and grabbed me by the neck. The incidence happened in such a menacingly high speed that it caught me by utter surprise. For the next thirty or so minutes, the math teacher took time to visit crimes against humanity upon me. She beat me with anything she could find. All this while she took time to remind me how big of a cow I was, that God had replaced my brain with cow dung. Because? I am a cow.

I cried till I didn’t have tears in my tear ducts but she continued to unleash wanton violence on me. She must have gotten tired of my screams or her hands had gone sore because at some point, she just left me alone and walked out of the classroom.

Brethren, for the next minutes, I couldn’t stand or sit-I was in excruciating pain. There wasn’t any part of me that wasn’t hurting. I couldn’t sit well I couldn’t also walk upright. I was sure something in me had been broken I just didn’t know what it was. I came to discover later that the only thing that she’d managed to break was my 11-year-old ego. My classmates looked at me helpless-they couldn’t do anything for me.

The day ended, thankfully and I went home. I was walking funny and my eyes were a bit sore. My mother took one look at me as I walked into the house and knew that there was something wrong with me. She asked me what was wrong, I stuttered and said nothing because I knew if I said that the teacher had beaten me mum would ask me why. Did I really want to tell mother that I was humming in class when everyone was busy writing their assignments? I didn’t think so.

“I am fine mum. I am just a little tired from playing with my friends.” I answered her as I walked straight to my bedroom.

  1. Wueeeh😂😂
    Try forgetting your ex’s number..
    It’s funny how we can look back on a ‘near death’ experience and lauuuugh…😂😂
    This should be acted out…🤭🤭😂😂

  2. If you could hum during a Mathematics assignment then you must have a gifting in singing and music.

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