I wanted to kind of halt my usual theme of posts for just a few minutes so that I could reminisce an interesting phase I went through in my childhood.
I was probably around the age of 6 or 7 and in Primary School at the time. I was an A+ student, always have been thanks to our parents insisting on it. They are both teachers, so what else would you expect?
I was an incredibly curious kid as well. A characteristic that has served me well and poorly in equal measure. Nobody really wants to hear about the good stuff. The bad stuff is usually the juiciest and that is what I will be focusing on in this story.
Sometime in the early 2000's I and several other kids who used to live in my neighborhood used to meet up after school and on weekend to play a game we used to call "Bano" or Mables, in a more universal language.
This game involved two or more players with a couple of marbles a small hole dug in the ground and to win this game you had to first hit your opponent's marble with yours by vaulting it over preferably using your middle finger and then rolling your marble into the hole in that order. That was an elimination. You could equally achieve a double elimination by hitting one opponent's marble, then another opponent's marble and then rolling your marble into the hole.
Some kids, including myself, would use ball bearings instead since they were hardier and would literally smash your opponent's glass marbles to tiny pieces. That used to be the ultimate disrespect in this game just like a nutmeg is in football. However, you had to utter the words 'cracky no paying' which was a short butchered version of 'if I crack you marble I won't pay.' It was much easier to pronounce that way. Failure to say these words before doing the heinous deed required you to pay back your victim. It was the unwritten law.
One weekend, on a Sunday, we all met up at the usual play area. The previous night I had done what I would normally do to finance my marble purchases. I had dipped my sticky fingers into my mom's bags and taken a crisp 50 shilling ($0.50) note out. Back the 50 shilling was worth a lot in terms of what you could buy with it. You could easily buy bread, salt and a couple of baked snacks. A marble used to go for 5 shillings and with that note, I could easily acquire 10 new marbles, which I did.
So, after church we all gathered at our favorite spot, my pockets bulging with my newly acquired wealth. First, ground rules were set. The game was play to lose. If you lost a game you would lose a marble to the player you eliminated you. Ball bearings were also disqualified. There was no need to destroy the marbles everybody was playing for.
I may have failed to mention that I was incredibly good at the game. Out of the five kids that were involved in the 'tournament' only one could actually take me on. He was my best friend and closest neighbor so we usually got to compete a lot with him.
The game kicked off swiftly after everybody had agreed on the rules. It did not take long before I started cracking heads and taking names. I won the first game very easily adding 5 new marbles to my collection. A couple of games later and with only two losses to my name we were down to only the players who had marbles remaining. Only I and two other players had marbles to play with. Both of my opponents had a marble each making this kind of the final.
The final started with a lot of posturing. Both were playing incredibly safe, launching their marbles into the grass where they felt they were safe. It was not. After a few failed attempts I was able to eliminate one of the kids and only my best friend and I remained. He decided to go aggressive and he swiftly lost his only marble.
My pockets at this time were extremely full. I had never been as excited as I was on that day. Even though there was no trophy for it, it felt so good being the last man standing. My best friend, despite losing, he was super excited for me.
"Can I see how many marbles you have?" He asked with a big smile across his face.
I dug into both my pockets, pulled out a bunch of marbles, about 30+ in total and I held them out on my palms for him to see.
As soon as I peeled my fingers away to reveal my precious loot my 'best friend' slapped the bottom of my hands and the marbles went sailing into the air. They went up and came down as if in slow motion as my joy turned into despair. A betrayal so vile.
I watched helplessly as the kids who had lost and the kids who were just watching the game scavenged after the spilled marbles like a pack of malnourished vultures. I ran back home eyes glimmering with tears and two old marbles that had somehow managed to stick in my palms.
Down to only two old marbles with huge grooves in them, I had to find a way to buy new ones if I was going to win back those that were stolen from me.
It was around 9 PM in the evening and we were sitting down in the sitting room having supper. The news was on on the TV and this was perfect if I was going to act on my plan. I had done this many times before. There was no reason to be nervous about it.
I stood up from the sofa and headed in the direction of the bedroom we shared with my brother. Next to that bedroom was my parent's room. That is where I went instead right to where my mom hanged her bags.
I had to get some more money if I was to buy some new marbles. I dug into one of the bags that I knew she used frequently and while I was rummaging through it the door to the bedroom slowly creaked open and my mom walked in.
It absolutely caught me by surprise because I froze, my hand still inside her bag, even as she strolled in with a gleeful smile on her face. She broke into a Christian song, her eyes bright with satisfaction.
All she said was, "Go back to the sitting room."
She did not even beat me or even inform on me to my dad. Maybe she did. I don't know for sure because neither my dad or mom spoke to me about it.
The shame I felt at being caught stealing definitely stuck with me even now while I am in my 20's. Taking anything that doesn't belong to me is practically impossible for me. It bothers me terribly and I cannot bring myself to do it at all.
And thus ended my propensity for thieving.
If you made it all the way to the end, I appreciate you.
***Till next time, Keep steemin'. ***