Taxi Tales: Meeting after 15 years
Posted Sunday, September 29 2013 at 00:00
I met a guy last week in a taxi I had not seen since we were in secondary school fifteen years ago.
I was so surprised I spoke before thinking, asking him, “Where has your hair gone? I know I have a silver grey or two in my beard, but you, you have gone Sahara on your head!”
He did not laugh, smiled a little. I thought to myself. Decide not to ask him how many suckling piglets had drowned in his belly spilling over his belt and out of the brown chequered shirt he had on.
But he was alone, and I had to ask, “Where is Tadeo? You guys are no longer friends or in touch? You were so close at some point the whole school thought of you as blood relatives. You even used to cheat in exams together!”
He chuckled at this, “I don’t remember you turning down any of our masasi (cheated exam answers). In fact, you always knew which teaching assistant to approach to sell us the goods. You were always a pro when it came to such matters.”
I wanted to know what he was up to now, “You guys must have a computer company by now. Or at least a shop. Tadeo is the first guy I ever knew who had an email address. Back then Hotmail was hot. He had it.”
My old schoolmate agreed, “I remember when the first two computers were brought to the school, one computer sat on the Headmaster’s desk for six months before it was switched on. Tadeo saw it when we had gone for punishment and excitedly asked if he could turn it on. I think the Head teacher believed it was a TV set until then that was not designed for Ugandan conditions.”
None of us could forget the day we first peered into the future with a computer whirling to life and that screen lighting up like a TV. Yeah, I remembered, “That head teacher was not bad. He sentenced you and Tadeo to teaching the Senior Six students how to use computers for an hour once a week for almost a month.”
He rocked back and forth in the taxi at the memory, “I think we must have spent the first two or three weeks of the lessons brushing those boys shoes and helping them cram for their exams. But we learned a lot. Made new friends. Those are some of my most treasured memories.”
He fell silent. Would not talk further. We were friends then. It seems we could not be friends anymore.