5 of 21
Since Lumbasi’s father’s return few days ago, Lumbasi thinks he is Jesus and we are sinners; he is wheat, we are chaff. He has not played with us for two days now. He has not joined us by the grazing fields near the river. He thinks he is Messiah or something. When we went to call him, he told us through the window that he does not want corona. We asked him what is corona and he said a bad disease. Then he closed the window, the curtains and our friendship.
We are sitting under the fig tree’s shade and we have played until there is nothing to play. We have even finished mchongoano and now we are looking at each other.
Sifuna, maybe you have corona, Timina says thoughtfully, staring ahead.
I don’t have konora! Sifuna says.
Corona. Lumbasi said corona, not konora, Timina says, still not looking at any of us sitting beside her.
Maybe he meant gonorrhea, says Majimbo.
Gonorrhea? What the hell is gonorrhea? I am amused.
You are laughing you think it is a headache or stomach ache? My brother told me adults get gonorrhea and their penises become black and filled with pus.
Wekesa makes a disgusted look and spits. Like it rots? he asks, his eyes full of fright. And girls? Do they get gonorrhea?
Why have you said I have corona? Sifuna is now staring at Timina like a husband to his loud-mouthed wife. You think I am your age mate?
You think I am your agemate? Timina mimics him. You and your smell you think we don’t know you are sick?
I am not sick!
Maybe you have corona, Majimbo says, looking at Sifuna with pity. But we will not refuse to play with you.
Sifuna’s guard falls and he looks at all of us in turns. Timina turns to look and says, I told you people Lumbasi is bad. Sifuna, don’t worry. Your corona will heal.
And we are laughing now, rolling down the grassy slope. When Wekesa complains of hunger, we gather our herds for their drink, then and we are now headed to Lumbasi’s house to tell him we have decided that we don’t care about corona and even he, should not.
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