JUST ONE HUNDRED

There I was, extending my hand to the stranger, yet another one that would blow me off, probably. I had enough of this, every time I raised my hand I believed it would be the last, yet after sometime, there I am, harassing another pedestrian. It’s like a curse of some kind had been laid over me. “How did I even end up here” I asked myself –as if I had been brainwashed or something .Life back at home was a complete mess but life here on the street was not any better. I wondered everyday if I had made the right choice, but I would then remember all the yelling and quarrels and inwardly node of approval. My father was a severe and uninterested kind of person, in addition to his drinking addiction. He never cared or took any interest in us. We basically raised ourselves; me and my older brother, Kwizera. I remember every night so vividly in my head. Dad would come home fully drunk — mostly after midnight- his voice higher than that of an angry seagull, and of course with a voice like that it was impossible for us to sleep. After heavy yelling and insult tossing, we would hear noises of cries and tears. Our parents were fighting. Overtime mom got bitter and started drinking too. The pain and anger she had accumulated overnight would quickly be passed to us after the day dawned. We were treated in the worst way possible .Living in that house had become hell. We had no food, no water, and the only clothing we had was a torn short and two t-shirts each, donated by the church. During the day we had to go on the streets and beg for money, the income would be the meal of the whole family and alcohol for my parents. One time, we came home with almost nothing; we were beaten so hard that the same night, Kwizera left home. Before leaving, he asked me to go with him but I was too afraid to leave home, so I stayed- a decision I would later on regret so much. I constantly felt lonely as the days went by, and the parents did not really care. It is crazy how much of an influence my brother had on me. Between the drunkard mother and the absent father, I was left alone. It is only after one month that I decided to leave too and join Kwizera on the streets. I left in the morning, as usual but this time never to come back. I left with the belief of finding my brother ,but since the day I left -five weeks now- I have no clue where to find him ; but until I do, I will be hustling here on the street like I always did. My hand still in the air, I said to the stranger “ wampaye Ijana?”

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