The night was to be event packed. Being a Saturday, I hence preferred to spend the day tucked in with frequent breaks to catch up on Designated Survivor or Legends. I was waay past teenage years but today, no, tonight, I was to relive that whole notion of being a teenager.
I was exhilarated. There would be young boiling blood and hormones all around me and I was ready to capture it all through a keen eye and unperturbed curiosity of teenage life after ’07.
Why 07? Everything became fucked up after that.
Evening approached promptly and soon I was being woken up by my teenage landlord’s daughter informing me it was time to live a little. I her teenage words, it was time to let go of old age and relive my youth.
In few minutes I was done getting ready. I chose sneakers over boots, a tshirt over a shirt and a hood over a v-necked sweater. I didn’t want to look old in the midst of 17 and 18 year olds. I wanted to have the little swag I had on fleek as I mingled with kids born post Millennium.
Heading out of the gate, I saw this flashy nganya packed at the middle of the road. It was some minutes past 9 so they didn’t cause as much inconvenience as they would have during rush hour. I say flashy because lights were emanating from every inch of its bluish body. I could see screens inside but no music was coming out of the mini bus (nganya).
Hormone-ful young people were strolling outside waiting for time to leave for the birthday party in some leafy suburb in Nairobi.
I was full of expectations. Having heard tales of how intense these teenage romps get and being at the middle of the action made me an insider into the action.
At exactly 8;45 some girl in combat wear came around telling us it was time to leave. She looked unsettled. Her hair was braided. They were thick braids. She wore no makeup and in the moonlight she looked older than her age. I knew she was no older than 18 but she looked 23. Maybe it was the party, maybe it was some shitty family issues. I didn’t know for sure…
We were supposed to start boarding. She instructed everyone to get their Identity cards out as they were to be checked before boarding.
This meant that anyone under the age of 18 didn’t stand a chance. Coming straight to me, she asked me to be the one checking the identification documents. I didn’t know why she decided on me but I guess it was because I was the only one with a beard. Maybe it was the aura of uncertainty that was all over my face. But then, maybe it was because she was Sue’s friend. Sue was the landlord’s daughter.
I wanted to turn down the ask but then she folded her palms together, put them close to her heart and said pleeeeassse?
I couldn’t say no to that so I obliged. As a dutiful Sunday school kid (mtoto wa Sunday school), I headed to the bus, asked everyone who was inside to step out and started checking the IDs. Everyone except Sue and I was born between 1998 and 1999. I felt old. I imagined the grey hairs on my head and squirmed. The youthfulness in the vehicle threatened me.
I don’t threaten easily.
As soon as the last kid stepped through the door, the screens came to life, the music followed closely, and the weed smoke reached my nostrils. The party had just begun. Soon bottles of cheap liquor were being passed around but I dared not taste the poison. The music soared through the nganya like an eagle on an up-draft, taking with it the very souls of the smoking crowd.
Everyone was loud. The music was loud but my insecurities were louder. I felt out of place.
This was going to be a looong night.