Two Years Down the Line After Graduating… And F*cked Up

By: Wambui Ochieng
Two Years Down the Line After Graduating…

Two years ago, a Moi university class of more than 15,000 students adorned their graduation regalia, threw their caps in their air, and said goodbye to a seven-year course to join the rest of Kenya in the school of life.

I happen to be one of them. I hated the ceremony. I think graduations are a waste of money and time. There is really no purpose to the entire event. Perhaps it is a chance for grandparents, the village, and parents to share in a gathering. Perhaps it marks the transition from one life to another. Maybe it's just tradition.

My folks did not make it to the graduation. Though my girlfriend and two of my close friends did happen to come smoke me a blunt after the tedious and boring ceremony was over. That part was nice.

Now its been two years after that palaver and I am writing this story at 4.17 am as a bid to beat insomnia, trauma, confusion, and suicidal thoughts. Yes, you read that right.

When I was in school, when we all were in school, we just wanted to leave those prisons and join the free world which was supposed to offer us independence and freedom, my two favorite English words.

I hated school with everything that I got. Especially high school and primary school. Take me back there and just give me a knife to off myself.

I remember a high school teacher who gave us a sermon right before we completed forth form and she said to us specifically that there is nothing like absolute freedom. At that time, I thought she was just being as high school teachers are, vindictive.

I also recall my English teacher saying that when you are done with the school of education, you join in the school of life which is difficult than studying twelve subjects in every way.

As much as I didn’t want to believe them. As much as I wished their lips sealed for daring to utter such obscenities, two years after campus I now get it. Life is f*cked up! And apparently, I am just a two-year old toddler learning to crawl. And that f*cks me up even more.

People who completed campus before me talked about going into a deep depression the first years after campus as they were trying to adjust to the harsh and new realities that life offered. A spoon of failure for breakfast, a fork of hope for lunch and a plate of disappointment for supper.

Now I look at my parents, who now I have learned to see as human beings, and wonder how exactly it is that they have survived these years and tears of Nairobi as they sold their blood and sweat for peanuts that were ready to be devoured by vultures we call landlords, the Kenya Revenue Authority, the police and fed the pockets of shrewd businessmen.

It’s easy to realize the wrinkles on dad’s forehead as an accumulation of the paths he has had to trek in order to survive his family. Its clear to see why mom holds on tight to her Bible and prays every morning at 4.00am. She must be praying for her children currently. The statement, “life is not easy” is starting to cement a place in my fingers and feet.

Its easy to admire from far. Its easy to think of freedom as an escape from reality. Its been easy to dream rather than experience. Its easy to accept a gift box wrapped in a gold box and red ribbon only to find feces inside. Its easy for prince charming to turn into a frog.

I love to swim. I constantly have dreams of going to swim in the ocean. Seeing the blue from a far and adoring it, only for me to get there and the clear waters turn into a sewage filled with gugumaji and dangerous monsters.

Finally, I understand these dreams because I have been sinking in this sewage for a while now, and I can’t swim. I am drowning in this quicksand of existence. Wondering if I will clutch at a straw or get submerged into the deep abyss.

This life is not what it seemed.

Two years down the line, I look at my friends and there aren’t many. There were times my phone would blow up with calls and texts for hangouts and now I wait for the weekly call from mom, my sister, and the constant job of “I’m going to fire you.”

Friends have turned foe. Maybe they were always like that. Maybe they too are slowly realizing that in this bitch eat bitch society, every bitch must put themselves first. Betrayal is a recipe for this cold dish of jealousy, ownership, power control, and self-interest.

The naivety washed off from my face, now I can see clearly that there are monsters in this world. Monsters that will cast a shadow on your soul. Monsters that wear human faces and who are ready to pounce when you least expect it.

People are not good.

I don’t know how to explain this to my younger sister and brother. That whoever is smiling at you right now has a knife pointed to your back when you turn around. That the only person you can trust in this world is you and you alone.

We are f*cked up. This entire world is f*cked up. Everyone walking in these streets is a caged animal, suppressing their monstrous tendencies with smiles, suits, and style. And none of that is real.

We are all just psychopaths who would be ready to offer our mothers for sacrifice just to have 30 pieces of silver.

We say one thing and do another. We contradict ourselves in our behavior, in our words, in our pretense.

If only the chest were open and we could see human souls from outside, we would no longer want to be in this world. For no creature can continue to exist sanely when exposed to conditions of absolute reality.

Two years down the line, I am old enough to realize that I cannot say of what any human being is capable of doing or not doing.

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