As penance for not going through with my daily posts I’ve decided to add this more personal one. If I don’t put up a daily post in the future I’ll post my most embarrassing moment to date. Hopefully that won’t be necessary.
PS This post ties in quite nicely to my last, so do check it out.
Occasion: Prize-giving Night/Ceremony.
Setting: First place at new school after having failed miserably during the first couple of months of ‘integration’.
Location: Eaglesvale Preparatory School, Harare, Zimbabwe
Time: Sometime after 6 pm (which is usually full on night time in Harare.)
The night had gone better than planned. I felt immensely proud of my achievement and I was happy to note that I had brought joy to my parents as well as my little sister. Can you imagine that she elected to sit on my lap throughout the proceedings? That was really adorable, wasn’t it? Now she’s far too tall and old to do so without breaking my hipbone. Sitting to my right was the second placed student, Ruva was (I should probably say is unless she changed names) her name. She was giggling the whole time, something I guess I’d long attributed to her nature. If something was funny she’d let those around her know it, a redeemable trait if you asked me (at the time).
If you read my last post then you’ll understand why I was elated. I was beyond ecstatic on the night and the excitement I felt was just waiting for the right person then it would burst out of me… I could feel it bubbling throughout the ceremony, just waiting to erupt.
The proceedings kept the students winning prizes segregated from the main student body as well as their parents. So I would only be seeing mine (possessive pronoun because I love them) when they got to the car. Parents would have tea and cake, refreshments of all sorts waiting for them… students would have to find out where the cars were parked and wait there, in the dark.
I found the car. Mitsubishi Chariot, huge thing, especially to a ten year old version of myself – one who hadn’t encountered SUVs before. I waited in the dark for my parents to come so I could give them both hugs and share squeals of delirious delight. Then I saw my mother approaching, in the dark, and ran to her like a wild animal let out of it’s cage for the first time in years.
I’m sure you get it now… It wasn’t my mother I’d run towards… It wasn’t my mother who had witnessed me screaming gleefully… No, it wasn’t my mother… It was Ruva’s! And boy did she laugh.
I can hear it even now, eleven years on. I feel if there was an escalator between heaven and earth the people at the top would have been trembling from the shockwaves of her laughter. I’m sure that even in the vacuum of space it could be heard. So loud and genuine was her laugh that it shattered all of my ego. My large, proud head was brought down to size and then some. Oh – to top it off, her Mom giggled too…
To this day I don’t know why I reacted the way I did. Maybe I could have kept my cool better? But I was 10 and this was a major achievement for several reasons. Ruva’s mother was a bit on the plump and short side, especially in the dark. In 2006 my mother fit that profile. It was also dark and they were walking towards me. But I’d made a massive mistake. Before today only four people knew about it. The three that took part included. Only one of them remembers it vividly. (Unless I have DID/MPD.)
After the whole debacle, the next day even, I was told that they’d seen me make my way to the car and had wanted to congratulate me on my first place award. That obviously didn’t happen as planned. Completely bewildered by the awkward proceedings, Ruva’s mother found it best to abruptly change direction and her daughter and she went to the car using a different route.
“Ndiye Ayanda akangwara wacho iyeyu?” she asked incredulously as Ruva’s earth-shuddering cackle FINALLY subsided. This loosely translates to, “This is the genius you were telling me about? Really? This guy?” Only to have her daughter start laughing again.
Needless to say everytime I talk to my friend I recall this meeting. Thankfully she doesn’t bring it up (too often). It may have happened over a decade ago but it still ranks second on my list of embarrassing moments.