CHRISTMAS



While I slept, with my eyes tightly shut. It was an imagination of chickens all the way; fowls for Christmas. Christmas was in two days time, and obinna my neighbor had told me of his brother’s plans to make the year’s Christmas celebration a memorable one. Brother Chike was his elder brother and they both lived alone; not too far from where I resided with mum and Bisi my elder sister. They never lived with their parents; which I never had an opportunity to find out why; or perhaps it mattered less to me.


“We shall buy as many chickens as possible; and brother chike will make chicken stew and pepper soup with it. At the mention of “Pepper soup” my heart tinged with excitement. Food was my catch; I had already started salivating; It sounded like ding-dong in my ears; everything seemed like fantasy. 

——————————————————————

(A day to Christmas)


“Tolu! Get up from that bed!” 

It was mum, she had been banging on my door for some minutes now while I was still wrapped in my dreams.

“Good morning ma”

“what is good about the morning, you Lazy bones?” She fired back.

I shrugged and remained silent; what could I say?

“You’re so mischievous, and I’m getting sick and tired of you” she added; then she paused for a while to give me an irritating look. 

It was an awkward moment; I felt like an outcast. 


Well, she continued; “ensure to fill up the….” 


Up till now I never wanted to believe I was a lazy  person or that I was mischievous or that I had a rebel-like personality. To me, it was just my own means of exploring the world and finding out for myself how life was; through my own instincts and experiences. Everyday, I would keep asking myself why Nigerian mothers usually developed hatred or apathy for their growing innocent boys who had done nothing to deserve such. Of course I was a living example.


“Make sure you do all I have told you” she said and left. That was when it dawned on me that I’d made a terrible mistake of not listening to her as she spoke. She banged the door  and left for her room. Few minutes later, she made for the wooden gate which separated our compound from the outside world; her beautiful handbag clinging to her shoulders. 


“Please ma, I didn’t hear…..”

“You’re not serious! Do all I have said; I’ll be back by dawn” she said and left. 


I scratched my head in dismay; my mum had always been a tough woman; she had this masculine structure with a no-nonsense personality, and none of us (I or Bisi) dared to mess with her. Her arms were wired with manly looking muscles and her legs stood tall and solid, ready to kick or smash anything or anyone who got into her way. 

——————————————————————

Once, she had dealt with a bike man who refused to give her, her N20 ‘Change’ in front of our wooden gate. I was a bit younger then, and I ran out happily to welcome her; when I met the scene.


“Madam the distance is too far o, you should add something to the initial money which you paid” 

“And who are you to decide that?!! Was that our agreement?!” She barked.

The bike man felt really insulted and parked his bike; fully stretching himself and charging for a fight.

 “Madam do you know who I am?!!!” He shouted. He pulled up the legs of his trouser and removed his dirty looking white shirt, only to be lifted up and thrown to the floor by the angry woman.

—————————————————————————

While I was still in thoughts, the wooden gate seemed to be pushed open.

“Bisi is that you?” I ask; looking keenly in the direction of the gate; I wasn’t really expecting anyone at that moment. There wasn’t any reply; instead, I saw someone peeping into the compound.

“Who is that ehn?! Who are you?!! Can’t you show your face?!”

I asked in a stern voice; mum had warned us severely against strangers. She said the days were evil and we should be careful with whoever we let into the compound.


“Big fish” a voice said and a figure quickly came into sight; smiling with all vigor”

“Obinna!!” I exclaimed with excitement as the memories of chickens for Christmas became fresh again.


He wore a pair of black shorts, and a shirt which its initial colour was white, but had evidences of roughness contributing to its confusing and mixed colour of grey, black brown and some other indescribable colors. The shirt had a cut at the center, revealing his navel which was bigger than the normal human own.


Obinna always had this quality of bringing life, excitement and anticipation wherever he went to; because of his outspoken and easy going behavior. We were so close to the extent that sometimes at night, I would sneak out of the house to his house where the three of us (I, Obinna and brother chike) would sit and watch football matches, or listen to various Nigerian artists perform on the 16” television which hung in their medium sized sitting room). 


I knew that he had come that morning to give me updates about the purchase of the chickens.


“You’re such a fearful boy o” he teased. I shrugged; trying to portray an ITS-NOT-MY-FAULT gesture.

“Can’t I be security conscious again?” I asked

He hissed in a ridiculous way; “Can’t I be security conscious?” He mimicked me, and then we both laughed.


I couldn’t just find the right time to let it out; well I did. “Obinna what about the chickens, when are you going to get them?” 


“You and Chickens! It is food that will kill you in this life” 

it was Bisi, my elder sister, she had been watching us through the window of the sitting room; she came out few seconds later. 


“You must do your chores before you leave.” She said; with a straight face and left.


Obinna greeted her, but she ignored him and shut the door behind her.


“Well” he shrugged and went on; “we’ll be leaving for town by noon to get the chickens” 


“Town? Why do you both have to go so far? Don’t we have fowl dealers here in the village” I asked


“Well, It’s the only place where we can get good, quality and sweet chicken breeds bro” he said. 


I went in to check the time; it was few minutes to 12pm.


“It’s almost noon o!” I exclaimed. 

“Well, that’s why I’m here”

“Really?” I raised my eyebrows in curiosity; “you have to start going, Obinna, you’ll be late if you don’t.” I said to him 

“I asked my brother if you could come with us and he said it’s fine” Obinna chipped in.


At that moment, I felt like ascending to heaven; honestly, for some seconds I felt so important; I felt like a highly respected dignity. What an honour for Brother Chike to remember me. The best part of it was that, he had a motorcycle which he usually didn’t ride; it was always parked at one spot behind his blue colored house; he preferred going to nearby places by foot. Well, today it would be so nice to tour the town with the bike.


At such a moment, I forgot about everything and everyone who mattered;the chores,  Mum, Bisi. My mind focused on the trip to town and how lovely the ride would be. There was no need to think twice.

————————————————————————

The moment I shut the wooden gate behind us and made for Obinna’s house I heard Bisi voice from inside the house.


“Tolu! Tolu! Tolu!, I will deal with you if you don’t come back here! Tomorrow is Christmas and there are a lot of things to be done!!”


“Mtcheeew” I hissed 

“Women and trouble ehn! 5 and 6” Obinna said 


“My brother, I tire for their case o” I replied with little dismay, and we both laughed. 

Soon we were at Obinna’s place. We saw Brother Chike trying to start the engine of the motorcycle.


“Both of you are very lucky o! I was already planning to leave without you!” Brother Chike said.

“Ah!” We shouted in excitement and hopped onto the back seat of the motorcycle. We left for town few minutes later. 

—————————————————————————-

Well I’ve always been trying, to ignore the silly remarks of people concerning my abnormal size; but today I couldn’t just escape it. 


I and obinna were of the same height, but because of his thinner nature, he sat directly behind Brother Chike who rode the motorcycle while I sat behind at the far edge; I was sitting on the metallic frame.


Brother Chike was riding at a high speed and probably didn’t see the road bump on time before going over it. 

“Hold me tight!!!” He shouted, after seeing it some seconds later. 

Obinna quickly wrapped his hands round Brother Chike’s stomach. Well, my hands were too short to reach brother chike; I quickly wrapped my hands round obinna’s neck. The moment we went over the bump we all went up and came down. It took the grace of God for Brother Chike to remain stable. I landed on the wooden frame of the motorcycle with a thud, and then we heard a strange noise.


He parked the motorcycle immediately, to check if anything had gone wrong. 

“Ah! This is so bad o!” He exclaimed; shaking his head in dismay


The back tyre of the motorcycle was deflated; it looked so weak and flat. 

“Tolu you are really heavy o!” He said to me and waited to see my reaction.

“I’m sorry brother Chike”

“Will your sorry repair this deflated tyre, you this fat boy?!!” He asked in a stern voice.


“Now kneel down there and hands-up” he ordered.



(Thank you so much for reading…Please leave a comment owhk??😌)

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

BROTHER RUFUS

THE WALL CLOCK

KAMBILI