It was a day just like any other, I woke up, had some sweet potatoes for breakfast and watched my younger brother feed the cats from afar. Then I freaked out because as I was watching him reality had suddenly hit me, and I had realized that we didn’t own any cats and neither did our neighbors. Especially ones that were as big and dotted as the ones I saw circling him. Immediately I knew what it was, a family of wild leopards had decided that the potatoes he was feeding them were not sweet enough and my brother was about to become a substitute. That’s when I yelled as my feet carried me towards him and the whole neighborhood came to his rescue. The year was nineteen ninety two and maybe I was deep asleep dreaming about a warrior in my mother’s womb.
In the whole village, only one man within a ten miles radius owned a car. It was small and ugly but the frog eyed Volkswagen beetle impressed like a bride in a weeding dress. It was sky blue and made noises like a laughing hyena in winter. It would easily have been mistaken for a dying cough.
We loved watching it pass by time and again, and as little kids do, we even went to see it whenever the rugged owner lost a part or two and parked it. It was a magnificent thing to behold but to be completely honest that was because in my mind the beauty of a BMW M5 always clogged the beetle’s repulsive exterior whenever I looked at it. That was simply because all I needed in a car BMW delivered. They understood me without even asking and I loved them for that, speaking of which, I love making up stuff and maybe my obsession with bima came a little later at a time when I could differentiate between an M and a W, the B was always given cause they’re the Bosses of car manufacture.
Putting all that aside, the reason I brought up a car was because it possessed one very amazing technology, a wheel. That black and… Sorry, it’s just black. But everything about it was just desirable and fun. Sure today there alot of uses for car tires because of all the cost cutting DIY movements. But back then whenever a tire change occurred a boy child was born, and whenever a child was born a tire company made a profit. And that’s how Maurice M. Taylor Jr formed Titan, because I was born.
On that particular day we chased each other up and down the steep terrains and competed in all sorts of games. It was fun but at times an unwanted burn paid a visit. We had no shoes on our tiny feet and so occasionally a rock or a thorn pricked and tore us out of our comfort attracting loud wails and a waterfall of tears. But that day was diffent. The blue priceless piece of art was getting a tire change and we knew that because on our way home from school we saw it get a puncture. It had driven over a pile of broken glass and the boom sounds that horrified the owner inspired warm feelings of ecstacy in our little plotting heads.
It was just days from the closing date and what we had thought a boring holiday had just turned interesting. That man’s regret had turned into something hopeful for us to look forward to. We watched as the car halted to a slow stop, rushed towards it and helped the old man drag it home, which was easy because it was all down hill.
In his heart he truly believed that we were just kind boys offering an old man a hand in his time of trouble. But in our hearts we knew something he did not, “Mzee alisema hakuna Cha Bure”. And so our eyes were fixated on the price. Four torn tires. As the saying goes, one man’s trash was two boys treasure. And yes we did get our reward, it might not have been immediately but after a few days the old man summoned and we rode back home on a road we had once walked. Nothing could have ruined that evening as the two of us slapped our palms against the pitch black technological marvel. We had no rush to get home but ironically we ran, faster than we ever had before.
On reaching home we were both hungry and tired, but the zeal to ride those tires did not let us rest. All we wanted was to showcase our new wheels to the other kids and make them jealous. And some we did. We filled the inside with water, grabbed a pair of sticks each and ran uphill led by our new toys just so we could come back down. We understood nothing about the physics of lubrication, but as young as we were we applied it. The goal was play, run and more fun. And like content billionaires, we slept like the dead night after night never worrying about a thing. If only life was fair and the night had lingered on, but wishes and rainbows never formed a unicorn, and I guess that’s why I woke up an adult.