“Hey boy, stand up!” My dad tapped me repeatedly with is rough hand. I almost felt I was about to be killed for ritual. I stood up like someone waking up from a nightmare.
“My friend, stand up and go and warm that egusi soup before it gets spoilt,” my dad roared.
“Yes sir,” I answered with anger and swollen eyes, which showed that I needed more sleep. But my dad was not someone you wanted to disobey. Not since the day he slapped someone into coma right in my presence. That incident has helped me to be the most obedient child in Lagos State.
“Good morning sir,” a beautiful voice sent greetings to my dad, who was now sitting on a couch which was in the front yard of our compound. Her voice sounded like that of an angel who had come to deliver a message. And yes, she was an angel, but she didn’t come to deliver a message, she has come to stay.
“Morning my dear, how are you and what’s your name?” my dad responded.
I quickly dropped the remaining egusi soup from yesterday’s dinner into the pot, lit the stove and ran to the window to listen the rest of the conversation between my dad and the angelic voice.
“I’m fine sir and my name is Chababell,” she replied.
“That’s good,” my dad said. “So are you looking for someone? It’s quite too early, the person you seek might even still be snoring.
“No sir,” Chababell replied. “I only went out to buy something for my uncle. I’m with Uncle John, who stays in the room opposite yours sir. We came in from Uyo very late yesterday day night, then the compound was empty.
“Oh, so John is back. My daughter you’re welcome, you’re very welcome. Hope you and John haven’t finished what you brought from Uyo o,” my dad joked.
Chababell laughed. “No sir, not at all”
“Okay my dear, that’s good news. Please go deliver John’s message before he starts thinking that the Lagos kidnappers have gotten hold of you,” my dad said.
“Okay sir, bye.”
I’ve heard her talking, I’ve seen her smiling, and I watched her walk away with a smile. These things became too much for me to handle. My heart was already in want of her heart, and my head wouldn’t stop thinking of her beautiful smile, and my mind wouldn’t stop playing the sound of her sweet voice. I closed my eyes, and in my head we were already having our honeymoon.
And all of sudden I perceived my life burning. Sorry, I mean I perceived the egusi burning. And my mind quickly took me back to the day my dad slapped someone to coma.
I knew thmy dad must not perceive this smell. If he did, His anger might grow even more terrible.
So I quickly closed all the windows and the door, brought out my body spray and wasted it in the room. I brought down the pot of soup and blew the fire out of the stove. The The smell still wasn’t dissipating. I just knew I had to do something unless I’d die, completely unfulfilled that day.
I walked inside to the inner room where my school things were kept. I took a pen and paper.
On the paper I wrote:
“Dear new girl,
You’re welcome to our compound. I live in this compound too, but not anymore as I even be leaving in this world. I’d leave this Earth as soon as my dad’s slap touches me after he finds out I have burned the soup he asked me to warm because I was busy looking and listening to your angelic face and voice. I wish we could get to know each other better but destiny said no.
Bye dear new girl.”
I folded the letter and wrote on it: “Please dad give this to the new girl.”
I dropped the letter on the table in the living room and opened the windows and door so my dad can perceive the burnt soup, and of course slap me to heaven.
I waited in the parlor and after ten minutes of waiting my dad didn’t come inside. I peeped through the windows and he wasn’t outside too. I became even more scared, because it was better to be slapped while you’re aware of it than to be slapped when you weren’t prepared for it. I might die twice—of heart attack and slap attack.
Little did I know that my dad has gone out on hearing that a very close friend of his was involved in a car accident and had lost his life. I heard from our neighbor’s conversation saying, “Oh God, you hear say Baba Blue don die? He dey among those pipu wey die inside that car accident of yesterday night.”
My dad didn’t come home till midnight. I don’t know when I said, “Thank you Jesus!”
I pray God forgives me. Amen.
- A Boy With a Good Heart