You see, James was an average student and like Collin Powell’s confession in his memoirs. James was a ‘C’ student. He was OK at Basketball, he was an OK kisser, he was an OK student, he was an OK child, an ‘in-betweener’, he wasn’t last in class and wasn’t first, he wasn’t quite right in the middle but he was close. He did his best, but he was well, a ‘C’, in everything he did.
If this was a superhero story, maybe he would have discovered a super power or maybe would have been from a wealthy family and bought gadgets to save the world. Or if he was smart, maybe James would have been bit by the arachnids he was studying. But not James. His parents accepted him as he was. They did not exert unnecessary over achieving tendencies common to Asian and African kids. And in return James took life in stride.
He never even bothered to aspire to anything. He had a ‘clothes in a store’ philosophy in life. No one will punish you for trying on different clothes you like, in a store, to see if they fit. So why the pressure, try it on. And if you like it; take it, if not leave it. Date that girl who smiles at you and see where it goes. Try playing rugby and see if you enjoy it and like it after breaking your limbs. Try smoking weed, is it really worth all the hype?
However much James was average in life he was perfect. Because he; as in childhood, was a man of moderation. He tried anything that fed his curiosity. And if it worked for him; great! If not, he moved on. It was amazing because by the age of 30 years. James had motorcycled from Nairobi to Capetown; he had tried out engineering as a degree, got bored and shifted to nursing. Then he opted to try an IT career after graduating from nursing. He had followed one of his sweethearts to the US for further studies and waited tables to get through the two semesters he schooled in the States.
He had bungee jumped, wrote a manuscript that was published. It was a ‘cute’ yet idiotic comic book. It didn’t do well; he only sold 50 copies, all relatives. It did not faze him. He just moved on to something else. Rapping. He worked on his first album, it did relatively well, he worked on a second and it flopped horribly. James moved on to try something else.
He gave teaching a shot and that is when he moved to Afghanistan. He dated a hot Military babe. You should see the pictures on Facebook. He lived and enjoyed it. James came back last year with her, and made the official introductions. He thought it was time to give marriage a try. He met her family in the states. They loved him. Then a day before they returned to Afghanistan, her ex showed up. He was a wrestler with WWE, needless to say, James’ trip to Afghanistan was cancelled and two weeks later he was headed back home with a sling and new dentures. He was beaten off as competition.
James wished his fiancé well. And like everything in his life. He moved on. But when he got home, something had changed. Mum wasn’t home, Dad was drinking daily and for the first time in his life, James felt, overwhelmingly, that he wasn’t good enough.