It was a bright, sunny day at my girl’s grammar school in 2019. I was 14 and proud to have been chosen to
throw the javelin for my house team. It was a rare moment of confidence: I was bullied at school, had few
friends and home was a tough place to be. My mum and sister loved me, but I didn’t get on well with my stepdad,
who made me feel worthless.
I waited for teachers to call me to throw. Ahead and to the right, I could see my classmate Sammy and Sarah, who had volunteered to mark the distances. I took my run-up, threw the javelin, with all my might, and watched it fly. As it came down, it suddenly veered to the right, straight towards Sarah, who was distracted. Everyone could see what was going to happen.
They screamed her name. In split second, Sarah looked up and then ducked. I remember thinking:
“Oh God, she is okay.”
But the javelin had not missed. It had hit Sarah just above her left eye. She stumbled forward before collapsing. There was a lot of blood. My memories after that were blurred. I remember wanting to go and help, but apparently, I was running round in circles.
Someone eventually noticed and I was taken inside and given sweat tea. The teachers kept saying: “She is going to be fine.” At some point, I was sent home alone. When my mum came back, I begged her to take me to see Sarah in hospital. We arrived only to be told she had been transferred to a neurological hospital. I was left in the waiting room while my mum went to talk to a doctor for about half an hour.
When she came back I said: “Is she going to die?” and mum said, “yes, I think so.” The pressure
on my chest became immense and I struggled to breathe.
Sarah died four hours later. I didn’t go back to school for the rest of the term, but I did attend the funeral. Sarah’s parents never blamed me for her death and were incredibly kind. Later I was interviewed by the police and asked whether Sarah and I argued that day, but we had not-she was a friend, a really smiley girl who always joking. I liked her a lot. At school in September, a chair was left empty for Sarah.
I felt as if I was living in a goldfish bowl. Everyone knew, but no one talked about it. At the inquest, the verdict was death by misadventure, but the school was criticized for how the games were run. This did not end my guilt and feelings of self-loathing. I was not given counseling and my stepdad banned Sarah’s name from our house, but I used to write letters to her in my bedroom.
Read: If she had not bursted me masturbating I would not have stopped
Eventually, I decided to channel my energies into my studies, trying to make the most of my life to honor Sarah. In the fourth form, I moved into a boarding school away from my stepdad. I went to university and in my final year, I discovered ecstasy. I think that saved me, in a way; clubbing gave me an escape route and confidence. I went to work in sales, but for most of my 20s, I felt as if I was wearing masks: the corporate life in the week, taking drugs every weekend.
In my early 30s, I went traveling for a year and a half. On a beach in Mombasa. But anytime I felt unsafe or shocked-whether it was a new situation or sudden loud noises- I would feel terrified. Eventually, I found a name for my problem: post-traumatic stress disorder. I was an innocent person who was stressed for the rest of my life, so I blamed myself. I stayed in touch with Sarah’s parents for a while, but eventually, I realized it was too painful for me and for them. I have been single for years and never married. I was too afraid to get a child because I thought it would die.
Sarah’s spirit really hurt me. I was really missing our lovely moments like playing with her when we were in the same class. Since I was a fanatic in reading articles, I came across a piece about Kiwanga Doctors who treat various life problems including the depression and stress that I had. I made a visit to them. They did their magic and with no time I felt little relieved. A month later from Kiwanga doctors, I got married to a politician in Kajiado County where we later got a child whom we named Sarah as a sign of last respect to the late buddy.
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