Back & Forth 10 Seconds


Yesterday, Mumo doesn’t clearly remember exactly what he did. He did something, but for him, yesterday has become just another piece of his continual living that he can just brush away like dust. His mind is not tuned to live in the yesterday but to actually preside in the moment of now. Here. An now. Yesterday is part of a memory that has faded. Faded into his deep valleys and shadows of his mind. Mumo has no need to remember what he did yesterday. Why?

Yesterday, Mumo sat on his chair, in class, just after lunch. That is the time when the mind is still fully awake in the moment and neurons come rushing forward into his mind with new ideas on the latest prank or trick. They gush out in his mind like a stream of consciousness that give him goose bumps. Mumo looks on to Nduati’s desk. Nduati. Oh Nduati. Such an innocent guy. Nduati was a huge plump guy, who, to many, was never hated. However, his tiny shoulders made him look awkward compared to his size. He was always talkative but never tempered. The perfect victim.

1:46. Mumo is staring at Nduati’s desk. It is so tempting. So unoccupied. Because Nduati has not yet arrived to class after lunch. Perhaps he is somewhere else. Not in the dining hall because its too late for that. Maybe in the toilet or in another class somewhere else arguing about Messi and how he is the greatest player of all time. You know, such people existed. Such people who would stand before each other and discuss European football like it was their lifetime job. Discussing it with such verve and vitality that they would find hard to install into their books or into their sports. They had mastered all the tactics and dissected the game until they had all the info at the back of teir heads. Those people, most of them, were big mouthed. You couldn’t end such arguments because most of them were really stubborn. And besides, who would ever give in to another. Concession is weakness. So Nduati was somewhere, but not in class.

1:53. Mumo walks over to Nduati’s desk, which is at the front of the class. Yes. He was one of those guys. First, he peers to his classmates who are very mush uninterested in what he is doing. But as always, they soon will be.

1:55. He stretches out his hands to grab the bottom of Nduati’s desk. It is quite heavy and the veins on his head seem to give away his effortful ambition. Mumo is quickly followed by Mario, who grabs Nduati’s chair, as if he had read Mumo’s mind. Together, they quickly move wiith precision out of the class, taking the furniture somewhere else. By this time, the entire class has stopped pretending that nothing is going on, and they are looking at the unfolding events.

1:58. Nduati strolls in. Even in this heat, he still has his sweater on. With his huge legs that drag him along as he walks, he suddenly stops midway. He stares at the class.He looks back again at where his desk was supposed to be. Looks at the littered floor, with determination, above which was his seating position.

1:59.”Wasse, wacheni ufala!! Desk yangu imeenda wapi?”Guys, stop the madness. Where has my desk gone.As if the thing has legs and ran away. The whole class bursts into myriads of laughter. Like an explosion that hits Nduati’s face with a bang. He now holds his waist, all serious. The expressions on his face turn to desperation as he walks all over the class trying to identify his desk but notices that the teacher is almost coming in.

2:00. “Nyinyi watu mna utoto!!”You guys are acting like kids. Nduati mutters to himself as he realize that no one would give away what happened to them. Meanwhile, Mumo has adopted an indifferent look on his face. So classic.

2:01. Kiswahili. The teacher is now seconds away from the class and everyone is settling. Nduati looks into thin air. He is angry. Angry at himself. But he jolts into himself when everyone is laughing in the background and the teacher is gazing at him. That teacher. So old but cool. Looks to him until he notices and looks around for what to do. Confused.

2:04.”Nduati, kaa chini!” Nduati, sit down. More giggles. Nduati now looks on what to do, but all the seats in the class are occupied and he has no explanation on what or where his things are. The teacher is silent. Looking at him. Waiting for him. All eyes on him.

2:05. “Wapi dawati lako?” Where is your desk?

**Yoh, Nigga, I don’t know!! Some mother fucker stole it from where it was**

Nduati would say that if he knew that he wouldn’t receive some lashing, and possible suspension. Clearly, he had no explanation for all this, and so, he has to make up one, pronto. They were all good at this, making up stuff. It was essential to survival these days. “Mwalimu nilipeleka itengenezwe.”Sir, I took it to be fixed.

”Basi kaa na huyu.” Then sit with this student. Mumo smiles, then scratches his head because of how well this has played out. As the hushes die down, Nduati squeezes himself with Mike to the tiny seat. He hides his face in a book, saving himself the embarrassment.

Later, after the double lesson, Nduati will find his chair, and desk, after much struggle, in the toilet. Neatly put in the corner. He will click and frown, and kick and sputter at the perpetrator of this prank.


Today, really, is the fallout. Mumo feels the crushing weight of yesterday’s events wield his mind and condemn him into self-absorption. He cannot seem to weave himself out of his sense of statelessness. He does not feel his self, able to suck him out of the vortex that is  his mind-jungle. And he has not found a way into limbo. But he will

Melly has found a way of noticing things. And always craved the process that Mumo would go through. He would see him, looking, staring blankly at anything, at everything. Was it a conscious process? And even though the world revolving around Melly and Mumo and high school was a cluttered piece of haywire, Mumo seemed to have this ability to empty his mind. Simply, to trash out all the contents and sub-contents of the world and simply look at something for minutes, hours and even the whole day. And Melly would see him do that, with ease.

Yet, to Mumo, he has these moments. These moments of ‘revelation’. Moments that come to him unexpectedly. Today, they begin while he has taken his plate of lunch. Today, it is a plate of rice and beans. He takes a spoon ful of food, but before he gobbles it all down, he notices, the subtleness of them all. How they transform into one-eyed talking beasts. They laugh at him. They mock him. But Mumo looks at them, knowing he would crush them in seconds if he has to. So, he takes a closer look at them. How they feel so full of themselves. How they dance on his spoon as if the world is coming to an end. These pesky little creatures.

“Niaje msee,” Hey man. A friend taps him on his shoulder. He nods

As Mumo looks at the teacher in class, a certain Mr. Onyango, who teaches Chemistry, he sees how the rest of the students are so engulfed in his class. He looks at him to see what is so intriguing. Suddenly, the teacher has turned on him, he is pointing at Mumo and is now approaching him. Mumo shudders as the teacher grabs his neck, and pushes him to the wall. Mumo is now chocking under the sheer brutality of the teacher’s grasp. Mumo coughs. He struggles for air.

A fly lands on his cheek and he slaps himself. He slaps himself out of whatever he was seeing, and rubs his eyes again to see the teacher, teaching at the front, drawing some configuration. His mouth is wide open with bafflement. Of himself.

He bows down at his open Chemistry book. Perhaps he will find some peace and drift away. But he looks at the page and the words on the page are suddenly so bold. So huge and conspicuous. They were turning, into figures. Turning, into things. Turning, into his deepest and darkest desires. He stared at them. Then, angrily, he thumped his book to close.

He tries not to get himself sucked back into these whispers that trickle themselves into his conscience. He tries not to get warped into normalcy. And that is why he tries to free himself by the emptiness that he attains. His mind has become this plainness that he has mastered. Mumo tries not to think too far behind or too far ahead, because after that, they are of no consequence to him. His ideas are raw because his brain is not a devilishly entangled collection of cables, but a neat alignment of free flowing thoughts. They were clear, and concise, and precise.

Tomorrow. Well, tomorrow he doesn’t know what he will do. But he will do something

4 thoughts on “Back & Forth 10 Seconds

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