“This is the courage you were asking for.” He said confidently. The poor boy lay still gazed at the bottle. What kind of courage are you talking about? Is this going to help? Am I going to gain the super powers I desperately need? These were just but a few thoughts that were running through the young boy’s mind. All he wanted was to have a conversation with a girl he had spotted. It’s the district music festival and the ‘sister school’ was present and he had spotted a fine lady. He just wanted to say hi but every time he came close, he became tongue tied and the lady walked away. All he remembered is she walked and the conversation he had in his mind. Now here comes a solution, just one sip and all the troubles will be settled. Behind the school bus, crouched and in the presence of two of his trusted friends, the solution was provided.All he was thinking was the beauty, elegance and composure (let alone the fact that he was letting the school name down) of the target and potential first girlfriend he had ever had. “What!! Hii kitu ni kali sana” he exclaimed. “Chapa ingine, itakuwa poa alafu twende tuteremshe na soda”. That’s what he remembers. The young man was now going down a road he will surely regret. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger right? The preceding events were not clearly documented in his mind but all he can remember is being on the bus going back to school feeling like Moses while he was parting the red sea for the Israelites to cross or better yet like Joseph’s brothers when they ‘successfully’ killed him and had his father convinced of the same. He couldn’t get his mouth to shut up, it was like he was reborn, he felt all his senses to the max. Why didn’t I know of this? Who kept this secret from me? For once I have super powers. I can do all things I put my mind to and no one can get in my way. He didn’t even talk to the lady he was targeting, actually what he did was go look for another sip, another tot, another drink. “Yule chic alikuwa ameweza mbaya”, “Mimi ata alinipea hadi ikus”, “Tulikuwa na yeye hapa kwa bu”. That was the chatter that was surrounding him but to him the experience of that first drink superseded everything else. He was in love. He had never met a loyal obedient feeling like this. He kept on asking for more, his pocket money was spent buying a drink after the other. He was at cloud nine. The scenery to the school was amazing, fields of wheat and hills of the green gold kept flashing as the bus strolled its way to the compound. He was made to shut up cause if he didn’t then all other drunk comrades would have been caught. The bus came to a stop and his friends had to hold him up just to make sure he wouldn’t spark any suspicion. Next stop was the DH (dining hall). He staggered his way to it and went in. Finally, some soup to help me cool down (yea right? The alcohol spoke back). It was the D-Day, the most coveted meal of the week i.e. rice and meat. He can’t remember eating that but all he could think of is this great feeling of being a black superman. He had set out to find a girl of his dreams and all he found was better than that. He was invincible at this moment and time. Luckily preps was an hour gone and he was excited. Too excited that he couldn’t shut up telling the classmates how he had fun. In his class only he was chosen to go for the festivals and that was lucky for him considering he was only a few months old in that school (Bigman Bazu). All classmates were envious of him. “Why Him?”, “Anajifanya sana”, “Ni kuimba tu”, “Ata ni form four wake ndio amefanya aende hiyo trip”. That was the chatter that was going round but did he listen? No! He was busy embracing this feeling he had that was the ultimate. Getting laid was the norm in all the events people went to, but for him his strategy was how to get the next drink or fix. He had to, his life depended on it but how could he do that? Be the best in the music team. Sing tenor 1 to the max cause as long as he was a star at the choir then he had a chance to get the fix. Its all about the fix. Everyone else was about them ladies but for him all he wanted to do was to get high and enjoy that moment. Later on, he would realize that was the biggest mistake he would do. Along came the provincials where he would now have a chance to get yet another fix. As the bus strolled into town all he spotted were the wines and spirits that were open and the surrounding people that would help him get that drink. He was only 14 at that time and getting alcohol was a big deal for him so the only option was to send some alcoholic to buy it for him. He remembers seeing crowds of people drunk and celebrating the fact that he could at least get a fix. “When will this bus stop? I need that drink”. That was all that was in his mind. A young boy from a Christian family and all he thought was just but a drink. The bus pulled up and he quickly rushed to get the all time high he had craved for, for quite a while now. He wouldn’t notice what journey he had started but truth be told that is the same journey most of the teens at that time were travelling on. He would gladly drink one, or two 250mls of brandy (at that time Napoleon was the kill me quick) and go ahead on a talking or rather blubbering spree all over the event. The good thing is he always kept it cool while it came to the performance and 100% is all he gave but the thought of another drink never left him all through this. He was a good sweet talker, and he still is so getting his friends to go buy him one or have a drink of what they bought wasn’t hard for him. The provincials lasted for at least a week and truth be told he was drunk most of that week and that felt cool and above all satisfying. An alcoholic in the making but very ignorant of that fact. Then came the cigarettes, oh my…. a feeling he also embraced with all the warmth and care he thought of!M.J.N Author.