Read Story: Season 1 Episode 2

..Almost One year gone and it seemed like Mama had only gone for three days. I was already in primary Two, even though the most intelligent in class, I still did noIknew l complete.

I needed Mama to be alive to prepare the meals I enjoyed while she was alive, to sponge-bathe me so hard like she always did, and to beat me as many times just as she did the first time.

Since her demise, all the meals Papa had been preparing were never done, they were like the kind of meals my friends and I would use some hot charcoal to prepare during our play hours.

I remember when Mama was alive, our Hausa neighbour, who is now late, would always boil rice at her house, and come toour house for stew. She had said since herchildren visited us during Christmas and tasted Mama’s peppery stew, they stopped eating hers.

Everyone in the compound missed Mama; her shop was no longer open the whole day, many had advised Papa tobring one of his relatives from his village buthe had refused.

He never gave them anyreason but I knew why.

The shop was closed until I returned from school, we wereno longer making profits, but Papa did not care about the profits, he cared more about my academics.

According to what I heard, Papa came froma polygamous family. His dad had married so many wives from different cultural back grounds, in fact, his grandfather was known to be the richest man in the village,and his dad, the first lawyer from that village; this gave them more power to marry as many women as they wanted, snatch farm lands and even slaves.

As the people became educated and exposed, they grew to hate the family and cursed their children.

Papa once told us a story about his father and how he divorced his seventh wife. My Grandpa had a land issue with one of his enemies.

On his way to the compound of the chief he was having the case with, he met a beautiful girl. He asked her to marry him and she agreed but insisted he asked for her father’s permission first.

To his surprise, she led him to the same compound he was going to

Girl’s father: “You wicked man, what are you doing here? To poison me like you’ve poisoned your other enemies?”

Grandpa: “Why would you say that? I was on my way to resolving the land dispute with you when I saw your daughter. ChiefInimgba, I leave the land for you. You can take the whole of the land”

Girl’s father: “Ehn? Hahaha you think I am a fool? Listen, take your pranks elsewhere.

But, do you know you are foolish? You walked all the way from your house just to please me? Our people say, after a foolish deed comes remorse. I know you too well,Chief Inimgba”

Grandpa: “Ok, how else do you want me to prove to you that I won’t harm you after letting you have the land? What if I say I want your daughter’s hand in marriage?”

Girl’s father: “The gods will strike you down this minute! Now get out of my compound before I give the animals in the forest a feast tonight”Everyone in the village heard about theargument and how my Grandpa was disgraced out of Chief In imgba’s compound and praised the Chief for his bravery, but waited for the revenge from Grandpa.

Days passed and Grandpa never retaliated, the surprising news they heard was that Grandpa was marrying Chief Inimgba’sdaughter. Six months after their marriage,my father’s half brother saw her in the kitchen poisoning Grandpa’s food.

When asked to taste the meal after she denied the accusation, she refused. Grandpa had no option than to send her away.

Rumour went round that Chief Inimgba had sent his daughter to eliminate Grandpa, but Grandpa had his charms; other people believed Grandpa had used his enemy’s daughter and dumped her to hurt her father.

In December 1995, I had just returned from school. It was few days to Christmas; I sneaked out of school so I could make some money at the shop. I knew Papa did not have enough money to buy the goat for Christmas, so I decided to use the few days left to sell the few gifts in the shop so we can have enough money to buy some meat for the Christmas celebration. From the shop, I could hear Papa calling me, but I was not sure, so I kept quiet.

In my town, it is believed that one has to be sure of who is calling one’s name before answering because sometimes the evil spirit may be calling, and if one is unfortunate to answer,it may result to bad luck.

As I was about to sell the last balloon to my neighbour’s son, I heard Papa’s voice again, this time it sounded like he stood right behind me…

Papa: “Shiber! Shiber!! Have you suddenly become deaf?”

Me: “Sir!” I quickly gave the boy his change and locked the shop

Papa: “Will you come here…”

Me: “I’m coming Papa”I ran towards the house and hit my right leg so hard, I looked at my toe and smiled, I knew good luck was on the way; if it was my left leg, I would have been worried.

I cleaned my sweaty feet on the piece of carpet by the door and ran to Papa’s room,“I’m here Sir”

Papa: “Take this” he gave me a yellow-black nylon bag. “Wait! Take this, then go to your mother’s room and try them on” he then handed two more nylon bags to the one hehad given to me.

I ran with excitement to Mama’s room and slowly loosened the nylon bags, I could notdare tear the bags open; I knew he wouldskin me alive if I did. Papa always savede very carton or nylon bag given to him fromthe supermarket; he believed they would be useful some day in the future.

He had bought me a red suit and a pair of sandals.

The suit had a big collar like myschool uniform and it was a different size,the hands were falling off, but I was very happy, Papa bought my favourite colour although the suit was so big the material could be used to sew two suits for me.

I stood there, staring at Mama’s standing mirror, I could smell her presence and imagine her standing behind me and taking the clothes back to Papa to tell him they were not my size. I had missed her, I knelt before the bed and cried, I cried even more than the way I cried on the day of her funeral. I knelt there crying when Papa’svoice startled me,

Papa: “Shiber! What are you still doing there? How many hours will it take you totry it on?”

Me: “Sir!” I answered sharplyI did not pull off the over sized suit and theover sized sandals, I wanted him to see how it looked on me, making sure that I walked in a way that will make him notice he had made the wrong choice; I tip toed and limped at the same time.

Papa: “Perfect! Sooo perfect! Do you know that when I told the shop owner that you were six years old, she screamed and said this dress wasn’t going to be your size? I’man artist and a teacher, I know the rightthing to choose.

This is so colourful, at least you will still be able to put it on next year Christmas”

Me: “Thank you, Sir” I knelt down on both knees and showed appreciation What else was I supposed to do? That was the first time Papa would willingly buy a gift for me. When Mama was alive, they would argue for hours and make a lot ofcalculations on his salary before getting avery little amount to buy clothes for me; andin cases where he bought the wrong sizes,

Mama would convince him to return them. I had a feeling he would return the suit and not get my size in return; so I pulled off the suit, folded it like it was a treasure and kept it in Mama’s box till Christmas day….To be continued!.

Hmmmm We are on the second episode already…

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