CHRISTMAS (2)


Brother Chike managed to drag the faulty motorcycle to a distant place where the mechanic’s workshop was located. I and obinna walked behind him quietly; for the whole moment we walked silently, obinna kept giving me an irritating look. If eyes could kill, I would have been a dead boy immediately.


That was the second time I really felt sorry for my size and how out-of-shape I looked like. 


“Oga we have to change the wheel rim, before pumping the tyre”

“Ha!! Has it gotten to that extent?!” Brother Chike queried the mechanic.

Well, the mechanic explained that whatever had happened, imprinted a really bad effect, not only on the tyre of the motorcycle but the metallic rim which supported the rubber material.


Uncle Chike turned to look at me; I felt like peeing  on my shorts. 

“Tolu you have to find a way and reduce your weight, if you must go far in life”

The mechanic burst out laughing;

“Na this small boy wey do am?!” 

“My brother he’s the one o” uncle Chike replied; his eyes still looking at me in an irritating manner.

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I and obinna sat under a shade and watched the mechanic as he worked on the motorcycle. Brother Chike stood at a distance, facing the mechanic, while he listened to some pop music  from his phone. At intervals he would turn to stare disapprovingly at me, and then turn back to face the mechanic. 


He usually hung a white earpiece on his neck; which he fixed to his both ears whenever he wanted felt like using them. One thing I knew brother Chike for; was that he loved to play music, and he even enjoyed it better whenever he played them through his earpiece. Once; I and Obinna had gossiped on how less he took care of the earpiece; once I’d managed to get hold of the part, which was usually fitted into one’s ear. I was about putting it into my ear but then I saw how dirty and wax-filled, it was, that I instantly returned it to where I’d taken it from. I wondered why he never cared to clean up the ear wax which always remained on it.


Not long; brother Chike pulled out the white ear piece which hung on his neck and fitted one end into his phone. Miraculously; I watched as he wiped the other end with his cloth before fitting it into his ear.

“Glory to God! He finally cleaned it” I exclaimed loudly and knelt down to thank heavens and earth.

“You’re very foolish” he said to me and fixed the other end into his second ear.

Obinna burst out laughing; we were impressed that he was becoming more conscious these days.


Soon, we saw a group of young boys, our age, running past us down a little valley close to a little bush, which was beside the mechanic workshop were we all stayed. They were about ten of them who ran; they seemed so excited, and in few seconds they were out of sight. Not long; we watched as another clique of boys, our age, ran past us towards the same direction the first set of boys had gone. 


“Obinna what is happening?” I asked in curiosity 

“How do you expect me to know; aren’t we both sitting here?” He replied.


Soon a young boy carrying a little bucket, walked past us towards the same direction.

“Please where are you going to” obinna asked

“There’s a stream down there” 


Our eyes shone in excitement as we both looked at each other; a lot of thoughts jumping through our mind.

“So how….?” Obinna was about asking something else, but the young boy was long gone and soon disappeared out of sight. 


I and obinna looked at each other again; I could feel the same thing running through our mind.

Soon, we were quietly running down the path which led to the stream. We slipped away carefully so that brother Chike wouldn’t notice; maybe because he had never flogged us for our mischief or that he preferred to raise his voice and let us be, since we were just kids of about 10-11 years.


“We’ll swim for few minutes and quickly head back to the workshop” obinna said as we ran.


“But I can’t swim” I said; tension building up inside me.

He stopped moving and began laughing at me;

“How do you want to swim with such a size you’ve got ?” 

I ignored him, I didn’t want to get angry for no reason, I was more interested in the short adventure. 

“Don’t worry” he continued, “I’ll teach you how to swim when we get there” I knew he was just trying to make me feel happy and not too upset, because he was someone who rarely kept to his words.


We arrived the long anticipated stream. We saw young boys, our age, of different calibers, heights and sizes. They all swam and splashed water on themselves excitedly. We stood for several minutes watching them all in excitement. I’d only seen rivers or streams from a distance; while traveling to my hometown with mum and Bisi or whenever I went on an excursion or academic field trips with other pupils from my school.


Soon, we were standing at the edge of the river. Obinna quickly removed his shirt, and dived into the stream. I stood watching him in surprise as he disappeared from sight and went deeper into the water body


“You didn’t tell me you could swim so well o!” I shouted out to him; but he didn’t hear me; he had gone farther.

Suddenly, a hand pushed me from behind. 

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It was fear, fear, fear, fright and screams till I landed into the stream. I had no time to see who it was, that had pushed me. All that was in my mind was to save my myself from drowning. All the boys looked my direction and laughed loudly.


“Some seconds later, I began to sink. I said my last prayer and closed my eyes waiting for the worst to happen. After few seconds, I felt solid ground under my feet. I opened my eyes just to discover that the stream wasn’t deep. It barely reached my chest. I watched as the kids looked my direction and continued laughing. 

“Oh mummy‘s boy shame on you!” Said another kid who stood outside the stream watching us all.


I suspected he was the one who pushed me in. I quickly found my way out of the river and made towards him. I was determined to show him my true color.

————————————————————————-

 I gave him a punch on his left cheek. He shrieked in discomfort and slapped me. Well to me, it was nothing compared to the amount of blood which gushed out from the side of his mouth; close to the area where I’d punched him.

“You fool!” The slim boy said and tried pushing me off my feet.

“Let’s see who the fool is” I said and charged towards him. 


He picked up a stone and flung it towards my direction. Unfortunately, the stone landed on my left eye, and I fell to the floor, screaming in pains. The slim boy would know no peace until I got my revenge. I held the spot where the stone had landed; I could see traces of blood on my palm. I clenched my fist tightly. All that rang in my mind was “An eye for an eye- blood for blood”.


I stood up and pulled off my shirts. The slim boy didn’t seem to notice; all these while he had been pointing my way and laughing. “You weakling” he said countlessly.


I rushed him; well, the moment he saw me, he ran” I knew my legs were heavy and that I wouldn’t keep up with the pace, but I was determined to keep trying. Soon, he slipped over a shrub in the bushy area. The slim boy landed on another thorny shrub beside him. He screamed in discomfort as prickles of blood gushed through his bare and skinny body.


“Serves you right” I said as I picked him up and began dealing him blows. I beat him to stupor and then lifted him up with my two hands.


“Tolu no!, Tolu Don’t! Tolu we don’t know these people o!” It was obinna, shouting as he ran towards my direction. I ignored him and brought the poor boy down with great effect. The slim boy groaned in discomfort; I left him lying on the floor. 


“Uncle Chike has been looking for us” obinna said;

“We’re in big trouble o! We have to go” I said, dragging his hands in a hurry; I was sure we had stayed more than an hour or so at the stream.


“Someone directed him to look for at the stream” 

“You mean he’s here?” I asked in fright

“Yes” obinna said, pointing to brother Chike who stood, waiting for us with a cane”

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That was the first time brother Chike flogged me. All the kids at the stream watched and laughed at the both of us, as brother Chike lay us down and dealt with us.


He drove us to the market square without saying a word to us. Unfortunately, they were out of chickens.


“Oga come back tomorrow o! We’ve sold all our chickens for today” one of the sellers said. 


Brother Chike walked round the market with the both of us, looking for where to buy at least one chicken, but he got the same reply from all the fowl dealers. 


We left for home shortly, but by then, the sun had set; I knew that trouble awaited me at home. No matter how I sneaked out of home, I was always back before sunset, or before my mum came home.


We arrived when it was already dark, and I walked quietly to my house. 

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The moment I opened the door, I felt like closing it back; I felt like going back to where I was coming from; I knew danger awaited me, and I could perceive how deadly it was. Well it was more danger when I saw the people who were waiting for me. Not only Bisi and mum holding a cane and a twine prepared for me; the boy whose hand I’d broken at the stream sat on a chair in the sitting room, with his bandages arms; his parents sitting beside him. I looked around; the room smelt of death, my death. I quickly turned around to leave, but Bisi stood behind me and locked the door. The rest is history.

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