Finding Dad Part 4: Google search that showed me his face
My four working hours went painfully slow. I was already in love with the woman I had become.
The intelligence departments of my body were busy calculating how to access the briefcase without anyone noticing.
Later I kept myself busy in town in order to get to my grandma’s when it was dark. The matatu ride to her place took fifteen very long minutes.
“Should I tell her or should I just wait?” I kept asking myself as I sipped my tea. Everyone in the living room was joyfully devouring pieces of chicken and chapati while my taste buds were on a go slow.
My mind’s compass was able to locate every insect that buzzed, whined or stridulated into the night. One of my neighbour’s cows lowed in an alto like tone, I noticed. I could also hear a distant bray of a donkey.
Come Sunday, I was up before the crack of dawn. I joined grandma in the kitchen. My willingness to help her caught her by surprise, but it was all part of the plan.
I wanted her to leave for church as early as possible. At exactly 9am I walked her out of the compound and promised to catch up with her later.
As soon as she disappeared into the distance I dashed back to the house. Look right, look left and look right again. “All clear.” I said, as I locked the bedroom door.
For some reason, everything suddenly went quiet. Grandma’s chicken also decided to feed in silence.
I could hear my heart beating like Ohangla drums: their rhythm of breakthrough resonating through my fingers as I clicked open the briefcase.
Grandpa (may God rest his soul), had neatly arranged our documents in labelled envelopes and there, between my high school transcripts in a smaller envelope, lay the mystery of my origin.
First, the notification of birth. It says I came to the world on a Thursday evening at 6:30pm, on June the 26th when my mum was marking her 22nd birthday.
We shared a birthday! How cool is that? I weighed 2.2kgs and my eyes were jaundiced. Mother was okay.
Next? The Child Health Card a.k.a Immunisation Card. Mother of all the cards in my life. There, for the first time I saw my father’s name next to my mother’s. On that card I was finally a complete child with two parents.
I went for my glasses just to be sure I got all his names right. He is Maasai after all! What a relief! I could now boldly confirm suspicions from people who suggested that there was something Maasai in me.
I needed to address the heavens and the nation. “I found him! Hahahaha!” You know King Nebuchadnezzar’s laugh before he turned into a cow? I hopped on my way to church. I could not fathom the idea of having a parent after living for decades without one.
The service was full of choirs at the pulpit and in my head. All I could think of now was how Google, Facebook and Twitter would help me put a face to the name.
“Ahh! Mungu ataelewa. God will understand! ” I said as I quickly typed on the google search bar. There he was! First his father, then his title and company. Facebook came next.
Ladies and gentlemen, voila! My nose, my rebellious eyebrows, my complexion, hair colour! My father!
I felt something in my heart. My eyes were in utter disbelief. In this side of the Sahara we don’t cry when we are happy.
We smile wide and loud. Wait, he wears glasses too. Another smile. However, the date on his photo indicated it was uploaded in 2014.
“All we need to find out is whether he is alive or dead,” said a friend who was privy to my journey. By this time I was already back in my house where I could savour the beauty of my discovery in precious solitude.
These thoughts followed me at work and during my free minutes, my investigation continued. I noted down the contact of his company and set a date when I would make the all defining call.
Part 5 of of this story will be published next Saturday
Cynthia Gichiri is a journalist who resides in Nairobi. She is also a Women in News Leadership Fellow.
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