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Manning up is not for the faint of heart

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Watching my son’s surprised face as he took his first steps filled my heart with peace.

The young lad clenched his fists with determination as he trudged towards me, with no support within reach. I would imagine that his father’s presence was an assurance that all was well; he was safe. My beaming face and enthusiastic clapping encouraged him to take a few more strides before he unfortunately tripped and fell with a thud. He let out a loud shriek as I picked him up to console him.

Then his mother appeared as if by magic and grabbed the child from my arms. As she gently rocked the baby, stroking his back and speaking to him softly, I was made acutely aware of the affection between the two of them.

I also noticed that Regina was no longer the carefree young woman that I once knew. Her eyes spoke of a weary soul whose past disappointments and bitterness had calloused her once tender heart. She found it hard to trust anyone, especially me, but I did not blame her for I was the cause of her shame.

Some months prior, on a Saturday morning, I opened the Bible and randomly chose a verse. I was nursing a hangover so I had to follow the words using the tip of my finger. I had opened the book of Ecclesiastes, which spoke of a man who denied himself no pleasure yet found that everything he did was vanity.

As I read, the walls seemed to draw closer and felt like I was being chocked by my selfishness. I had never noticed that I had no real friends left and that even those I had considered good acquaintances had nothing of substance to contribute to my life. I sighed with disgust at the memories of a perilous lifestyle and my allegiance to a god called ‘fun’.

Regina was part of the ‘collateral damage’ from this hedonism. A girl who had big dreams, aspired to become one of the finest architects this country has seen had succumbed to my fake charm and ended up with a child.

On receiving news that I was a father-to-be, I turned the other way and accustomed myself to a utopia where I would not be held accountable. However, the guilt ached my conscience so much that I had to let the cat out of the bag to my parents, maybe this way I was to be at ease or so I thought.

Taking up my responsibilities was far from easy. My ‘baby mama’ saw me as a sly misfit trying to prove desperately that he is worth the salt, I was financially wounded as a penalty was inflicted on me by the girl’s parents for having ‘broken the goat’s leg’ (a kikuyu practice on such circumstances) and I lost my freedom because I was expected to play a part in bringing up my son.

That evening as I was copying notes from a lecture that I had missed, a piece of paper fell from one of my books. It was a photo of me and my son on his first birthday, surrounded by friends and family. Attached was a note partly written by my mother and Regina.

Son,

I must confess that I knew all about Regina. I took care of her while you were away and every night I prayed that you may be yourself again- a young man that I brought up with godly principles. I am proud of you for despite your flaws; you owned up to your transgressions and rose to be a man of noble character. For sure, God is watching and is expecting.

Mum

Muhia,

With contempt and bitterness I have scrutinized the new you and have learnt to forgive and give a second chance though you are still an incorrigible flirt. We have a blessing to nurture as young as we are. You are the father of my child and it is my wish that you may find healing and learn to forgive yourself.

Lots of love,

Regina.

Tears fell as unfathomable sense of belonging and love humbled me to the core.

 

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