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Poem: The Fault In Our Stars By Whitney Melissa

I always wanted to be a pilot
Since the day a helicopter landed in our village
How I admired the pilot
A smartly dressed young man
Content with life totally.

I gripped his arms and wouldn’t let go
Weeping hysterically as Mama pulled me off him
My little legs flailing
He pacified me by giving me a bourbon
My dream of becoming a pilot was born.

In my immature mind, I nurtured that dream
Like a little bird that had just been born
I gave it wings to fly
Like a flower, it bloomed
As suddenly as it had grown and matured
It withered and died because of one major setback.

My father was a cobbler
He had a shed he fondly referred to as his workshop
Mending shoes was his life
He lived for it
“Papa, I want to be a pilot”
I blurted when we were sitted by the fireplace.

He slowly dipped his hand into the pot of his favorite meal – ugali
Cut a chunk of it, dipping it into the chicken stew in front of him
I watched as he chewed the ugali
Not bothering to close his mouth as he did so
I wondered why father did not observe table manners
As I had been taught in school
But I dared not ask.

“My son, you have to be a cobbler”
“It runs in the blood,” he said, pausing as he watched me like a hawk
“From tomorrow onwards, you will be my apprentice.”
“Welcome to the world of shoes, awls and threads.”
“Forget about planes, forever.”
He then shuffled to his feet, signaling the end of the discussion.

My world was shattered
My dream gone, gone with the wind
Never to be accomplished
I was like a one winged bird
I no longer could fly.
Off to the shed I went the next day
Shoes became part of my existence
Not to forget the awls and threads
The hands that had wanted to fly aircrafts
Now mended and dusted shoes
As my father said, I had followed my stars.

Even at that tender age, I was convinced
That my stars were wrong
They had to be at fault
A cobbler I never wanted to be
I stayed on because of my father.
Two decades down the line
I still am…well, I still am a cobbler
My father bequeathed his shed, awls, threads and tattered shoes to me
He made me promise that I would remain a cobbler
That was the only inheritance I got.

Even as I mend shoes
I am still fascinated by planes
I have become accustomed to this life
Like my father
It has become part and parcel of my life
I still believe that
Fate, destiny, karma they all turned against me
A pilot I wanted to become
A cobbler I am, and will be till death snuffs out my life
My stars were at fault.

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