Unpleasant Return

“We will come back right? Someday? Yeah? We can’t leave Eddy all by herself can we?” Aluoch thought to herself. Eddy was her elder sister and she wasn’t going to be on the plane with them. Aluoch wasn’t quite clear why she had to stay. Aluoch didn’t really understand what was really going on around her. For the past two weeks there were people from Renmer, some moving company. They were packing up everything in boxes. Aluoch had initially thought they were moving house.

Mum kept rambling on that it was, “time to go home.” When Aluoch asked what she meant, Mum would respond, “another home”. It didn’t make any sense, information was given in bite sizes, whenever Aluoch asked questions her response was always, “You are too young to understand.” Aluoch was really upset with that. She ignored her mother and went about her business.

A few weeks before they left Mum had allowed Aluoch to stay out later than six. It was unbelievable. She didn’t suspect that her mum had organized a surprise party for her. Why? It wasn’t her birthday it was October. It was a farewell party, she got pretty dolls, photo albums and memorabilia from all the years she had been friends with all those girls. Aluoch had so much fun, she didn’t realise what farewell meant. She didn’t even say a proper goodbye.

She just waved at her best friends from the car as they drove to the airport. Now she was in a plane waiting to have dinner and wishing she could have stayed home to watch an episode of the Cosby Show. It was Friday, she would have gone grocery shopping with her parents and got home in time to play a game of scrabble with Eddy before dinner and watch the Cosby show after dinner. Aluoch missed Eddy, but she was really excited. Her other brother Odhiambo was already in Kenya and she hadn’t seen him in a long time, she couldn’t wait to see him.

Mum and Dad had transferred Odhiambo to a Kenyan school that he loathed. The food was bad, the teachers were evil and most of all he missed bullying Aluoch. Aluoch hated him when he was around, but missed him so dearly when he was away. Last Christmas when Odhiambo was home for the holidays, they bought Christmas treats called ‘fart gum’ really delicious sweets that smelled like fart. Odhiambo always had a weird and gross sense of humour. No matter what he did to Aluoch like chasing her down the street in the neighbourhood with a stick filled with dog poo or scaring her. She still loved him and wanted to spend time with him.

“Excuse me sir and Madam here we are, would you like anything else to drink?” the flight attendant offered Mum and Dad wine and ice cold beer respectively.

“Juice for her please…Mango!” Mum quickly added. I missed Kiora for some reason, or maybe some CapriSun that would be great. Aluoch couldn’t get those brands in the plane. About fifteen minutes later, it was dinner time.

“What is this?” Mum asked in disgust.

“Crab. Ma’am.” The attendant politely responded.

“Where we come from we do not eat this.” Answered like a typical African. And just like that my opportunity to try Crab walked away. I was so irritated. Mum always seem to let the good stuff go. I didn’t want ugali if that’s what she was hoping for. I knew if I had told mum that I wanted to try it. Her response probably would have been, “it’s not healthy for you…you are too young to understand.”

Aluoch’s substitute rice based meal was served with some fish. She wolfed it down, she was sleepy and wanted to rest. It had been an exciting few days and  the next few days would be filled with tears when she realised Eddy was going to stay in London. Heathrow Airport was now thousands of miles away and tens of thousands miles below them.

Aluoch listened to some music which soon drowned out and she was out like a light. What woke her up the next morning was the heat. It was unbearable. She peeled off her cardigan and asked her mum if she could remove her socks. It was so hot. Her puffy, long hair was shrinking from the moisture.

“Mum? Can we go back? I don’t want to stay here.”  The smells and the heat at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport were uninviting. Aluoch remembered this place. She had been here before.

“Not to worry, we will get out of here as soon as possible. Let’s sit here and wait for dad.” Mum ushered Aluoch in with her little rucksack and teddy bear sticking out from the top. They sat on cushy leather chairs waiting for dad to return.

“Mum, Kech kaya.” Aluoch pouted, it was 8 am she was hot, still sleepy and in desperate need for food. Mum fished through her bag and found some sweets. “Here!” she handed them over.

“Mama!” Mum was also tired and she sighed, she was pretty agitated, it had been an hour.


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