You don’t know what I am made of. No, what you know is all assumptions. What I am did not come with a user manual.
My name is Sally, I am 16 years old. I wanted to go to one of those acclaimed national secondary schools. It was expected of me. I was a good student at one point. I think. I was top in my school at the KCPE’s, and I landed somewhere in the middle of the class during my first year of high school. But since then, all interest in school and studies has completely left me.
My mother was dissapointed when I did not get called to her alumni. Loreto High School, Limuru. I heard about it a lot. I saw the disappointment in her eyes when she had no other choice but to get me into a local day school, the one that accepted me first. I’ll tell you about it some other time.
My name is Sally, I am 16 years old and a Form Three Student.
Appearances are everything. My mother is a Judge in the Judicial Circuit of Kenya. Her husband, my father is a cardiac surgeon in one of the most prestigious private hospitals in Kenya. My mother’s brother is an outspoken jurist and a member of the Kenyan Parliament. My father’s sister owns one of the largest and successful businesses in the country. My cousins follow the family tradition of studying in the best public schools, and then going on to the International universities that are generally recognised as synonymous with success in their chosen career fields. They then marry accordingly, obviously aware of the expectation to breed with class.
I am 16, I shouldn’t be worrying about class and pedigree. But I am. I go to an ok day school. I’ve worked damned hard in the last two years. My grades have come up so high I was first in my class this last term of Form Three. A- in Math, English and Biology. B+ in all the rest. But my mother hardly glanced at my report card. Her friend’s daughter is in Alliance. I happen to know that my grades were better than Alliance girl, but who cares.
I glance now at the luminous glow of the bedside clock on the nightstand.
An uneven number in a room where everything is just so, not so that I can grow up safe and happy, but so that everything will look just right. My room was redone this last week; contracted out to that Interior Designer who gets contracts from anyone who is someone. I am not sure of it happened just so my mother could sigh at lunch with her sister about having my room in the ‘cool for teens’ theme.
I would have preffered deep red and black to the blinding pink. And if my mother had asked me, I would have told her that a canopy bed was so not my style. Not that it would have mattered. She wanted the princess colours and the canopy bed, so I got it.
If she has her way, she’ll change my wardrobe too. I always end up wearing emo outfits when I am home. I’d prefer gothic style of dress, because it reflects the things I like and believe in, but emo is easier to mix up and match. Also, emo gets just the right rise from my mother.
I realise that in a way I am perpetuating the stereotype of the rich snobby kid from a private school when I end up looking just like the rest of the punk rock kids. But you have to understand, this is the only way I can have my own identity within my family of super clones.
So I know that when I got dropped off at the School Gate in my granddad’s 1985 silver green Mercedes, you decided that I am a rich kid, a babi.
The truth is, my name is Sally and I am 16 years old…