cancer stick

I had been smoking for seven years and somehow thought that my parents would ever find out.

But, it turns out I’m not that smart after all.

I know I’m old enough to make all the bad decisions in life without thinking about my parent’s approval but there is that ka-feeling. I really can’t explain it. You must be African to understand it!

So, this is how I got caught.

A few weeks before I relocated to Sweden, I decided to move back to the folk’s house in Ngong, Kenya.

I had just resigned from Standard Group so I had so much time in my hands. If I wasn’t working out at the local gym, I was chilling at home during the day enjoying the sun and cold breeze in my mother’s little orchard.

Circumcision and staring contests!

I rarely smoke in my parent’s compound but since they are always at work, I decided to smoke as I watched my sister work on her designs.

I got so comfortable that I even brought out the whole packet of cigarettes and lay them on the little Makuti coffee table. Then I went back to the house to collect something and when I came out I heard my sister say:

“They are not mine. They are Catherine’s.”


It was Kisakwa. Mbithe, Mukei, Musyoka, Kimina, Mbaiyu and Syombua’s uncle. My dad!

No one heard him open the gate.

Such a sneaky parent!

He drove in quietly and decided to park under a shed just next to the gate. Who does that? What if he had caught me smoking weed?There must be a law somewhere in the Kenyan constitution that requires parents to call before they get home. To avoid unnecessary heart attacks!

So anyway, I avoided him the rest of the afternoon and generally in the evening. I actually thought to myself that he would be more understanding because when I was younger I used to run to shops to get him some ‘tumonzo’s’ when he needed some. I had to be careful not to get caught by my grandpa. Grandpa loathed smokers!

But he wasn’t letting it pass just like that. Before going to bed in the evening he passed by my bedroom and shouted:

“Catherine! When did you start smoking?”

“Those were not my cigarettes. A friend left them in my house and I found them today when I was unpacking,” I responded.

We never talked about that again and I sincerely thought he had bought my story until today. Three months later.

He texted me to check on me and things when he informed me that he was watching a Cancer doctor on TV. At first, I thought he was going to tell me how cancer has killed many people we know. But this text came through: “I hope you stopped smoking!”

I just laughed. I could not deny it. He caught me. I told him the truth. That Cigarettes are expensive in Sweden. I may not have answered his question but at least I told the truth!




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