There is no year I had anticipated for my entire life other than this one. It was my final year in high school, or so I thought. Ironically, each day has me wishing that I was no longer a senior. The past three weeks have been engulfed with uncertainty, but today is different. I feel optimistic. However, spots of doubt can be traced in me because I know better not to be 100% optimistic- I know what it is to be raised up high just to be flung to the dust. I jump out of bed and make a beeline to living room.
I obliviously stand in front of the screen, staring blankly at it, scared that if I press the ON button, I would wake a sleeping giant and ruin my day. I telepathically beseech the 14 inch display to grant my wish. It is my only source of hope. After what feels like an assurance, I turn the knob next to some missing buttons. I wait. The clock plastered on the wall signals 2 minutes to the midday news. As a raunchy advertisement runs, my imagination drifts and I am in class listening attentively to the beefy Chemistry teacher as he balances equations.
The velvety voice of the anchor trips me back to reality. She starts off with the obvious political who did what and who said what hullabaloo. I am too agog that I forget to dislike the red smear on her thick lips which suggests that she was from a blood sucking spree. “Teachers remain adamant and will not resume to school as government say it will not hike their salary…” she trails off. For a moment I detest how she casually reports this, unaffected. The disappointment pushes my heart to the floor and my body to the sofa which sinks to the force of my fall. How dare you trust that box! Anger, hopelessness and disappointment converge all at once to create an abhorrent concoction that leaves an acrid taste in my mouth.
Why am I caught up in the middle of this crossfire? I am a good student who just wants to complete my education. What is so wrong about that? I gather what seems to be left of me and walk up the door. “Where are you going?” My mom asks from the kitchen as I turn the knob. “Just to get some air,” I retort. I am all too aware of my mother’s apprehension, not only because I am not in school but her worry that the devil may just open a new workshop in my idle mind, thanks to the narrative our neighbor gave her of how her son smells like a chimney ever since he was sent home. As I sit on the porch reflecting on my future, a gush of wind blows over that instantly calms me. Reassurance surges and a sort of mystical hope is restored. My fate is not sealed after all!
–Following the five-week long teacher’s strike last year, twelve million students in Kenyan public schools were forced to remain home as schools were closed. This fiction narrative intended to highlight the plight of students during that time.