I looked at the wall clock and fell deeper into depression. “Why are they doing this to me? What wrong have I committed?” I asked myself as I paced up and down the carpeted floor o our living room.  It was almost seven o’clock in the evening and I had not seen my parents. I was supposed to mark my birthday, the tenth one, this very day and no arrangements that I knew of had been made up to this moment.  Even my friends were not there for me.  Had the world conspired against me?

The hooting of a car from our gate awoke me out of my reverie. My heart fluttered with joy. My parents had arrived at last, I thought. I made a beeline for the door in great haste. Yanking it open and. leaving it ajar, I raced to the gate. Without even bothering to peek and see who it was, I unbolted it and swung it open. A white Toyota saloon car, really strange to me, zoomed into our compound before screeching to a halt a few meters away. Its front doors flew open and two mean looking men in dark business suits jumped out. They were tall and had eyes as cold as steel. They immediately ran towards me

An alarm rang in my head and I turned to make a bolt for it but it was too late. A strong hand held me by the tail of my shirt and swung me around like a rag doll. I noticed that both of them wore black gloves. I tried to scream but a palm was suddenly cupped to my mouth to stifle it as I was quickly carried, shoulder high, into the house. The men acted like seasoned professionals.

They roughly damped me onto a couch. I had time to look at them, though they looked, so alike I noticed that one had a slight squint on his left eye. His colleague pulled out a piece of cloth from his right hip pocket. He raised my head and blindfolded me. He also bound a masking tape on my mouth. “We have kidnapped you, we want money from your father”, a deep voice told me. When I heard these words, my heart sank to its lowest ebb. This was not my day.

They carried me out of the house, slammed the door shut, and took me to their car. They opened the hind door and slumped me into the back seat. They occupied the front seats, drove out of the compound and stopped. I was puzzled when one came out of the car and I soon heard the creaking of the gate hinges as it was being locked. How could criminals have such courtesy? Wonders will never cease. I thought to myself. I braced myself for a long period of torture and bargaining or God forbid, even death.

The vehicle roared to life and sped away. I could not comprehend the numerous corners that we negotiated, not even the direction we took. They drove for about fifteen minutes before coming to a halt. They came out, opened the hind door and gently led me out. They sandwiched me between them and led me, into a building. I realized that we were walking down a carpeted corridor. Suddenly we stopped for about thirty seconds before they pushed me into a room – no – we were in a lift, I noted this from the floating sensation that I felt. It soon ground to a halt and I was led down the corridor into a warm quiet room. The room smelt so nice. I noticed that I was now sweating. I was scared stiff.

Somebody tore the gag from my mouth and untied the blindfold. Before my eyes could adapt to the dazzling light in the room, I heard a loud chorus of “surprise! Surprise!” I squinted my eyes and the first thing I noticed was  a three tiered cake on a maroon covered table. I soon recognized my father, mother and friends all in the room. I was baffled, was I dreaming? I rubbed my eyes and shook my head in an attempt to come to terms with the reality. The people in the room must have realized that I was dazed and they soon burst out in the sang “happy birthday to you”. I regained my thinking and fell short of words. Tears of joy cascaded down my cheeks in two’s and three’s as I came to terms with the reality. My parents had decided to treat me to a really surprising birthday party.

No sooner had I recovered my composure than I hugged my parents, relatives, friends and well wishers before cutting the cake and receiving numerous presents. I was too excited to unwrap them at that moment. We ate, drank and danced and I felt on top of the world. I even forgot the initial ‘kidnap’ scare that I had experienced to me, this was the utmost show of love from my parents. We left for home at around one in the night. Although I had misjudged my ‘kidnappers’, I learnt never to judge a book by its cover. That is the way my day began and ended. A day I will always remember for the rest of my life.



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