“Wow, I love your son’s hair!” That has become the opening remark from random strangers he perennially attracts, especially the fairer sex. You see, my boy has baby locks covering half his head like a Crest bird, the other half regularly trimmed by a home shaver.
To accentuate the look, he has this inviting face coupled with innate affection for reaching out to new people for greetings. So they come to play with his hair, abujubuju on his cheeks and, sometimes, request selfies. I have no problem with that, because so many times he is bought for or given little presents that make his day . . . some which I keep for myself when he is not looking (do not tell the mother).
Probably (underline ‘probably’) the other pull is that when him and I are out there we behave like two terrier puppies chasing each other’s tails; father-son moments that I live for every day.
That is not to say it is all gloom and bloom, because one particular encounter remains etched in my mind for all the wrong reasons.
It was a normal evening when I tagged him along to the supermarket for a bit of mid-month house shopping.
You know that annoying top-up shopping you are perpetually forced to do because your compound is too small to grow all the groceries you need? That one.
When we got to the mall, he quickly ran and slid into a huge trolley; those ones that look like a truck with the driver cabin and carrier. For people looking to buy three to four items, it was like playing with a tennis ball on a full length football field; but who was I to refuse my son his lovely ride?
So I pushed the metallic trolley down the aisles; touching this, admiring that, picking the other and avoiding counters with confectioneries, especially those with Kinder Joy.
My self-appointed chauffer was having the time of his life rolling the steering wheel, humming and honking to mimic the roar of a truck engine.
A BIZZARE PROPOSAL
I stood longer than usual at the grocery section, still trying to figure out the visible differences between cucumber and zucchini (‘gojet’ in Kenyan lingo).
For a man, those things look like identical twins. I was lost in this confusion when someone tapped my left shoulder softly. It was a lady I placed in her early or mid-forties; with big round eyes (seemingly behind contact lenses), light complexion, a long flowing weave and a forehead to boot.
“Is this your son?” she asked, pointing at my boy.
“He’s cute,” she added.
She inquired about his name, age and the mom, adding that it looked cool for a young dad to be grocery shopping with his son. I stared at her, unsure of whether to blush, ask her to be quick on why she was that inquisitive or simply say thanks then keep quiet.
Then the bombshell dropped; she wanted to inquire if I was fine with siring a child with her, reiterating that all she needed was the baby and nothing more. Some people are either too bold or just controversial.
My body froze, like I was not sure I had heard her correctly. I almost came tumbling down into those cucumbers, or was it zucchini, whatever those long green things were.
Taking one step back, she asked me to take a keen look at her and gauge if she was struggling with life, an assurance that the baby would be raised in a good house.
In other words, I would never be pestered for child support.
My mind razed through a list of scary possibilities if I agreed to this proposal. The first was my own marriage, and no man would willingly risk a strain between himself and the wife because a random stranger wants a baby believing he or she would resemble their offspring.
Secondly, if my experience with raising my son is anything to go by, I would want to be part of a kid who carries my genes, yet the idea here was sire and go.
Then again, what guarantee would I have that in a few months I would not be shuttling between children’s courts battling prosecution over a child who evidently matches my DNA? I said no.
To show how serious she was, a business card was slid into my pocket with the words that I call if I changed my mind, because there was a financial offer attached. Clearly, that woman wanted a child so much, too bad I was the wrong candidate for the job.
Every time I go to that mall her image crosses my mind, a stark reminder of how lucky I am to have that which some people out there would pay so much for but cannot have. I hope she found a sire.
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