A Teenage Love Affair: How my Dad broke up with my first boyfriend.

I don’t think my first boyfriend will ever forget me. Or my Dad for that matter. And before I tell you why, before I let you know why Dad cut short a blossoming teenage love, I must tell you how it all began.

It was December 2008; I was 16 and in full teenage mode. I was easily excitable, got angry like a petrol truck on fire and shrieked and yelled at anyone at the slightest provocation. I once threw my sister’s phone out of the window just for interrupting my sleep. Simply put, I was a walking ball of hormones.

A few months earlier, I had won an essay writing competition. The prize? A one-week fully paid trip to a few game parks around the country. I was ecstatic. On the day of departure, my Dad took to me to town where a big brown overland truck awaited. He left me in the hands of the organizers and a group of guys my age. He must have told me to enjoy the trip and take of myself, I don’t remember.

My Dad after dropping me off that day

I will skip over the part about the elephants we saw in Samburu, the llamas they let us pet in Nanyuki, the ostrich that ran after me because I was wearing earrings and how I almost drowned in a pool in the Maasai Mara. I’ll skip all of that and tell you about Romeo, the boyfriend my Dad broke up with for me.

Try as I might, I don’t remember when Romeo and I started talking, whether he had sat next to me in the truck or helped me pitch my tent. All I remember, if I’m being honest, is a quiet starry night in the Mara when I slapped him for trying to steal a kiss as we sat talking on huge logs outside our bandas. I was a good Christian girl who’d been taught that my body was the temple of the Holy Spirit and here the devil was, trying to lead me into temptation!

Teenage love affair.

We were inseparable all week, and when we were dropped off in town after the trip, we both avowed to keep our new love alive. We promised to keep in touch, despite one glaring problem- I didn’t own a phone. That wasn’t going to stop us, we decided. We had a plan- we would communicate through someone else’s- my Dad’s.

Now before you start wondering why I would such a thing, keep in mind that I was, still am to a large extent, an impetuous person. I didn’t think it through. I was a girl in the throes of love. Every morning before my Dad left, I would talk to Romeo. During the day, I fantasized about the moment my Dad would walk in through the door so I could get back his phone.

My Dad went along with it, never refusing me his phone, never complaining. Good old Dad, so gentle he’d never hurt a fly.

This carried on for a while, a few days, maybe weeks . Until one day Romeo called and from my room, I heard my Dad answer and say “,w?” he pronounced his name as Ro-me-o, in a way that embarrassed me deeply. I waited for him to call me to receive the call as he usually did. He didn’t.

.” I heard him say.

My ears started ringing. My breathing became laboured. There was a sharp pain in my chest and I thought my head would explode. I wanted my Dad to stop talking, I wanted the world to stop moving. I wanted to die.

He wasn’t done. “.” He said with finality.

I remember storming into the living room like a bull charging into an arena. I couldn’t see straight in my self- righteous anger.

I was screaming bloody murder, swearing that he was the worst Dad in the world and that I would never speak to him again.

He was unmoved by my tantrum, insisting that this was what was best for me. I didn’t speak to me for a few days, before my mum told me an apology was never coming so I might as well let it go.

I did. A year later when I was sitting for my KCSE exams, Romeo sent me a card signed “Show them what your papa gave you”.

Romeo, if you’re reading this, I have my own phone now.

Lover of words,books and nature