Oluoch of Kakamega

Oluoch of Kakamega is my father. He is short and stocky, moody and rash. He likes you to shake his hand looking into his working eye, and that you tuck your shirt in else you are unserious. He does not understand stupidity and spits at depression. This is not to say Oluoch of Kakamega is a happy man. We do not know what Oluoch of Kakamega is.

Oluoch of Kakamega looks at me sternly sometimes, shakes his head and, holding my chin, says, "you will never drink wine,"--and as if someone has tried to oppose him, adds, "no, never."

Oluoch of Kakamega walks funny, with the kind of glory it hurts you to see; that of a man who could have been more; at once a king and a poor man.  

Oluoch of Kakamega does not like to be defeated, and sees every statement as hiding a challenge, and he will find it. Oluoch of Kakamega looks at my mother often, and this look says things I do not have words for yet, or do not have words enough for. It shows he is angry, frustrated, hurt to a dangerous point, yet also something like, I understand, I do not blame you, it is fine. Mama has done things that are not so fine. 

Oluoch of Kakamega loves children, and when he is with them, I swear, his face lights up in a beautiful….even childlike, way. He chews loudly and spits, and has a big laugh. Oluoch of Kakamega is the life of the party, and he forgets himself in the sounds, feelings, fire of the music of Kakamega. You can almost see him in 1970, sweating profusely, smiling at some girl at the corner. He is that sly kind of flirt, crude and inappropriate. But most of the time you will see Oluoch of Kakamega walking around Minji Market, with his head down, part sad, part at peace. People do not speak to him nowadays; people do not trust us now. Mama has done things that are not so fine. Oluoch of Kakamega will curse, and he will shout, and he will beat, but he will not ever deny his people. 

Today, Oluoch of Kakamega shook me with such fury, insulted me, and spat in my face. But now I look at Oluoch of Kakamega, as he goes to work in the market until nightfall, working for my education, and I know that no one will ever love me more than Oluoch of Kakamega. 

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