Back in 2010, fresh out of primary reeking of good morals and knee-high socks, I went to become a man (which I think is a very archaic way to put it because losing a bit of skin doesn’t mean shit if you still live at your parents’ and ask for airtime cash).
Anyway, I was scared as hell to get nipped. You see in my primary school dormitories, there was nothing but propaganda and fallacies going around. Late at night when the patron was dead asleep, we would light a torch and form a circle around it like in movies. In the circle, great tales were told. Great lies too. In there was a chance to be heard for a moment. A chance to make people laugh and burgeon your skill of storytelling and narration and lying.
In the same circles, fear and torment was created. You see, the nipping topic came up more and more during the last few days of school. And with this came more stories. More people had an opinion to air about the issue. Others said they didn’t fear shit. That they would look the butcher in his eyes and ever so nonchalantly with an Alonzo Harris (Denzel Washington, Training Day) dying grunt, say, “Get on with it!” Others said they would only go if their parents paid for an expensive procedure that involved a deep sleep for the whole process.
But others said they had already undergone the knife. And get this, they were always so kind enough to share their experience. Some were even willing to show us the outcome. Others never asked, they went ahead and whipped their bare shlongs out. And you would marvel at the sight of the naked head.
Something inside you turns inside out when you hear what they are going to do to your penis. Just a little force to the little man could bring you down, and now a knife was going to be driven through it! No way! So you list your options. You could either run on that day and live off your days as an uncircumcised street child. Or hope your dad is kind enough to put you under theater lights as it is cut and unclothed. Either way, you had to escape the pain.
On the day of the last paper, there’s one final banter on the topic. You and a good friend who was cut as a baby, There’s an unusual indescribable verve that day because it’s the final one.
“Msee, tumemaliza! We’re done with school!” I say
“Hahaha.” He laughs scornfully.
“Definitely not the pain you’re about to endure later next week.”
“Ah, Achana na hio story. I’ll cross the bridge when I get there.”
“Will you cry?”
“I won’t. I can’t.”
“Hahaha.” That scornful laugh again.
“Please stop laughing like that.”
“In a way that makes me want to hit you.” I may have been erratic as a child.
“Relax mse! Don’t be angry at me. Be angry at the butcher.”
At this point, all the terror that had subsided came rushing back in. Whatever he was doing worked. My heart was pounding and I remember considering to live in the street as an uncut street child.
The day of the butchery, I woke up earlier than I had ever in that holiday, panicked and distraught. I could feel my heart throbbing in my head. Bullets of sweat trickled down my armpit and forehead. I took a shower and drove off to hospital.
Of all journeys in my life (to date), this was the longest. One part of you wants to get there fast and get it over with. The other hopes that our dear Lord comes down and takes his people with him, hoping you would be one of them.
There’s a type of fear that causes bowel movement inside you. It didn’t matter that I didn’t eat anything that morning. The bowels moved. And they shifted more when I met the butcher and shook his hand. His hand that had touched so many schlongs, the thought of it was nauseating.
He was an old man with grey hair and an intact hairline. His cologne smelled like strawberries and femininity. He’d probably borrowed his missus. He had those thick glasses lined with a silver frame around them, and laces attached that ran behind his ears. I also found him too happy for a man about touch a penis. I didn’t like that.
In the theatre, I could feel the pain, hear it, smell it and lick it. That’s what happens when anesthetic runs out midway in the procedure. It is palpable pain. It is pain from a hundred bullet ants’ sting . It is pain you would stab yourself in the stomach to distract yourself from. It is pain.
(Patriotic music starts playing)
All in all, I lived another day. Lucky enough to tell the story, because I was sure the pain would take me. Great men have died by the sword. But I didn’t. I stand tall with my sword. (Ha!)