Wearing a checked shirt, a bow tie, and a heavy pair of glasses, my history teacher looked like an English librarian. Most of my classmates referred to him as a walking library, because of the vast knowledge his brain carried.
One day, his knowledge was brought to the test during an afternoon history class.
“Johann Krapf was the first man to see Mount Kenya,” he said.
My first cousin could not resist the seething rage boiling in him. Faster than steam escaping from a boiling kettle, he opened his desk, picked a book “When God was Black”, and threw it against the teacher’s face!
That incident cost him three weeks suspension and a compulsory one hour stress management class every Saturdays for a month. His counselor had no answer to his problem. Clueless thoughts echoed back to his empty notebook.
As a class prefect, Michael was a well-composed lad, who knew how to manage a rowdy class of thirty two pupils.
“You are going to be a very great man when you grow up,” Sister Angelina always told him.
The alter boy on Sundays and Ash Wednesdays was a jewel to the Catholic school administration. Every speech, conduct, and look acted as a guide to the rest of his classmates and pupils.
His shoes were still shining black during afternoon hours in the dusty soccer field. “Do you levitate like Saint Joseph as you kick the ball?” some girls joked. Michael got pink cheeks in his hidden face when he got such compliments.
I was still curious to know why his emotions got out of control during the history class. One Sunday morning, I asked him “Why did you throw the book to the history teacher?”
“I wanted the knowledge in the book to get inside his head!” he replied.
“Were we apes when Krapf visited Mount Kenya?! Believe me or not, our teacher called us and our ancestors apes or something closer to that!”
To this day, I have no answer to the book-throwing episode. The only thing I can recall is a decorated doll put in Michael’s desk, three weeks after the incident. It had three pins pierced in its head.
That night, an inner voice told us to make a bonfire. Everything was gone with the flames, including the three pins.