Had a real conversation with a child.

I have wanted to tell this story for a while but didn’t want to give away too much about me, but it’s what storytelling is about to open up a bit.

Sometime after University, I was doing pick and drop in Kampala, by then we had only one child to pick from School and take him back home since the parent was busy and leaving work late, I wonder why because he seemed to be doing his own work. Let me not judge the man.

So we had a small car we were using, it could at most take on two kids, with me in the codriver seat the driver and the back that could hold two passengers, school children in this case. Small but enough to make some ka money for beer and movies once in a while and airtime.

Where was I!! So we would set off at around 3 pm or 15:00hours from Seeta to Kampala to go do our job. The traffic jam on that road if you have used it before has become a constant over the past few years so we would try to beat it playing time on our side.

We hated and liked parts of our work, and really hated Fridays in particular when the children would be released a bit late because of non-academic activities, which are every child’s favorite.

So this one Friday we reached early, earlier than any other parent and all others who were doing the same work as us. We waited for about 2 hours as we had been accustomed to. Then in a distance our package, it’s how we referred to him so long as he was not in the car. As usual, I went to help him with his bag which he didn’t seem to like but I would tell him sometimes life is about relaxing.

This time he had two bags and

I asked him if he had

“a school project ?”

but and he replied by saying

” no!”

and asked me

“if I didn’t know!”

I surprised, I asked

“Know what dear?”

And then he hit me with it,

“Today am not going home.”

And I asked him then

“where are you, sir?”

I was going to joke about him taking a trip for the weekend but for some reason, I didn’t.

So he told me

“You are taking me to Najera instead of Mukono.”

So I asked

“what is in Najera?”

“Mum”

………he answered.

And with that answer, I somehow started to work it out like it was a mathematics function of some sort. Still confused I tried to say something which I didn’t say out loud but as if he was reading my mind he said.

“She is not my mother”

He told me as he wheeled away one of his bags.

I asked him

“for how long has it been this way?”

Before I could even explain my question he answered

“I have no memory of seeing my parents together”

Then I told him

“Sorry”

For some reason, it was like some catlike reflex.

He stopped and then he said to me

“Am tired of people feeling sorry for me whenever I tell them”

Acting complex on him I told him

“it’s actually empathy in my case”

Then he asked.

“What do you mean”

Then I told him

“Have been there”

I had him get confused for a fee second and he was asking me all over a sudden

“Been where?”

“Your situation”

And then joked about having two homes and how cool it is because in most cases you have two things of everything.

“Two rooms, Two television, two computers”

The joke didn’t turn out well because he replied by saying

“I don’t like moving, it’s not nice”

I almost asked him which home he preferred but sensitivity had come over me for the first time, I think in my life. I told him instead.

“I actually had to attend two schools at the same time at one point, then homeschooled for a while”

That’s when he started to……. I think or assume, to realize I was not just feeling sorry for him only. I then asked him if we needed to call the Dad, who was my boss in this case or a client, all in all, he paid me for a service. Then he pulled one a note with his left hand from his pocket. Which had the instructions on how we were to handle the whole evening?

We had talked for about five minutes or less but I felt so weak afterward as if I was in a sprint race, that conversation had taken me back to my childhood, the whole chat was like traveling through a wormhole back in time.

We wheeled the bags and placed them in the trunk, I helped him open the door and the driver was complaining about time as if he has ever been a good timekeeper.

I told him we were heading to Najera instead of Mukono and when he tried to inquire, I showed him the note and he hates reading for some reason he didn’t bother.

Our passenger didn’t talk throughout the trip which was usual, I personally imagined he was tired. When we got to Ntinda I asked him

“Do you know where we were going?”

he said

“Yes”

And then added.

“But you have to call auntie, to come to get”

The instructions in the note where clear about us not going anywhere close to where the mother was staying. And up today I don’t know where his auntie took him, the next time we saw him it was our usual route this time to Mukono.

When the auntie showed up, I got out of the car talked to her and helped my little friend get his bags. I told him…

“You know, it’s all going to be fine”

He waved goodbye to me am he told me

“Sorry”.

He has two more years to complete his primary education, and have not to pick and drop in a while. I know he will get along with life well.

I don’t what you will make out of my sharing this conversation you out there, for those of you who pass around BenjaminWatch.

The reasons why I decided to share it are many but one of them is that of late have faced the discussion of having to bring a life into this world under arrangements of a marriage but the many ifs and buts make it seem like I could maybe start a world war.

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