My moment of fame
Posted Wednesday, August 22 2012 at 01:00
IT IS SUNDAY, July 1, 2012. My big day. It’s around 9am. I’ve just woken up to find that everyone has left.
There’s nowhere I can get a car to get me to the venue of the Olympic Torch Relay. I decide to walk, but there’s no one to give me directions.
“What explanation will I give for this howler?” I wonder. I could say I wasn’t feeling well. But that doesn’t sound nor look convincing.
I’ll tell the whole truth and nothing but: I overslept. That’s why I missed the bus. And surprisingly, this relaxes me. I reason that if I tell the truth, it’ll be okay.
But what will I tell Kenyans? I’ll try and avoid them, but I don’t know for how long I’ll do this. The only people I’ll offer an explanation to are my pals in KENWA because they accept me the way I am and will understand.
Just then, my phone, which is by my bedside rings, startling me awake. It’s the organiser calling, informing me that it’s 3.30am, time to wake up.
“We’ll be leaving for the torch relay in the next 30 minutes,” she says.
She doesn’t know that she’s such a saviour. I was dreaming that I’d missed the event. I shower hurriedly and wear my Olympics Torch Relay uniform. I think it’s oversized, but this isn’t the time or place to start worrying about size. Should’ve done that earlier.
I quickly re-read the checklist and then I shut the door behind me, and quickly walk to the parking lot, where the bus is waiting.
It will ferry us to the venue where we’ll convene for a briefing. It is here that we will meet all the other relay torchbearers for the day. The briefing is exactly that: brief.
Next, we’re ushered into another bus christened “Moment to Shine”. At this point, I begin to get into the mood. I don’t feel anxious. In fact, I want to carry the torch and shine.
As we proceed to the starting point, crowds have already filled up the streets, singing and cheering. Carrying the Olympic torch is more valued than I had thought.
I step out of the bus to the deafening cheering of the charged crowd. It’s my moment to light up the world. Fireworks and dances accompany my lighting the torch, and I start to walk.
There are no words to describe how I’m feeling. To some extent, I feel like I’m connecting with the heavens, the way I feel while praying, as if my soul has made contact with heaven.
If you still don’t get it, I don’t know how else to put it.
I feel good and calm in mind, body and soul, as I synchronise the rhythm of my walk, one step at a time. I don’t panic as I had anticipated. I just walk and wave at the crowds, stopping for a short dance as the security escort walk beside me, asking me if everything’s alright.
Of course, it’s alright. What, with that endless convoy accompanying me, cheering crowds, fireworks, bands, throbbing drumbeats, school choirs singing on the roadside, some requesting to take a photograph with me. As the Americans say, it’s “aight”.
I’m proud as my five minutes of fame come to an end … rather too abruptly, I must admit. I light the next torch. I wish for another millionth time that my dad was here.