Disclaimer: Please note some aspects of this story have been fictionalised both to protect the innocent and for artistic reasons.
When I was in campo, pretending to get an education and having a good time at entertaining the fountain of youthful rebellion, I was friends with this fellow called Roots, “friend” here being a rather benign falsification of the nature of our relationship. I was a first year and had precious few friends outside my fourth-year roommates. This being around the time when Roots, being a legend along school corridors, and for reasons that had nothing to do with the education we were ostensibly there to obtain, had a bunch of fellow fourth years coalesce around him in a rather poor copy of what they no doubt imagined a gang. My roommates were part of this abstraction of boys, and so naturally, it is with them that my earliest campus interactions took place.
I was living in a hostel considered a fourth-year enclave, and even I must admit that my admittance into this hostel had not been attained via entirely legal means. There were precious few juniors in this particular hostel and only one first year and it so happened that Roots noticed me and took a liking to me.
Roots, 6’1”, thin as a rake, was trying for a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and it was impressive how he even managed to keep up with his classes considering all the running around he involved himself in. In fact, it was his borderline criminal activity that eventually got him expelled from the university, but I am jumping ahead of myself here.
Roots and I had gone to the same high school, a Catholic boys boarding school somewhere in Western Kenya, and even then he had displayed the same appetite for vagrancy that would become his hallmark in campo. Of course, back then we had referred to him by his real name. Because of this, I, measly first year that I was, could address him by his government-issue name, which I did. I could have switched to Roots like the other fellows from our high school who were in the same hostel, but I guess I was too stubborn, and proud even, to train myself to call him Roots.