African StoriesLife and General Fiction StoriesNaija Stories

At Ten

I was under the shade closer to the the yard, meditating. My head was buried deep down between my crossed arms, asking my self thousands of question. But no one could bail out my curiosity.


Up to when Papa got to where I was sitting, calling me in high-pitched tunes as usual, I didn’t know.

All of a sudden, seating, I felt a touch on my shoulder almost five times before I could respond to the touch. I was shocked—applicable to Papa. I then raised up my head and eyebrow.

“Ayo! Ayo! Ayo!” he called my name three times with a suspicion.

He continued, “Where was your mind? I’ve been calling you nearly an hour. But you didn’t respond. What where you thinking? What’s in your head? Could you please open up to me?” he asked with a great anxiety.

I adjusted a bit, allowing him to have a seat, and proffer an answer to his question and also clear my curiosity.

“Hmm,” I sighed alongside a long breath. “Papa! So nice you’re here. At least you’re in a better position to clear my curiosity. I have been here meditating for long and all alone.”

Papa nodded and looked into my face and breathed. “I hope all is well? Anyways, I’m all ears,” he replied.

“Papa, why do some people wear rags and some set of people are borne with silver spoons? Why do we have leaders and some serve as followers? Why do some homo sapiens tread on the path of ignorance and some are enriched with wisdom? Why are we not all kings and eat from same plate? Why? Why? Why Papa? Why do we live under this brown roof and eat shit? Unlike the people who live under painted roofs? Why are all creatures not equal?” I asked Papa these thousands of questions.

Papa was astonished at my philosophical questions, looking, accompanied with a short pause and thought for a while. I could almost see the wheels turn in his head.

“Hmmm. In the first place, bailing you out of the prison yard of ignorance would be the best way to go. No one is born with rags. Except one chooses to wear it. But treading this
congested route of thousands legs, life gives hurdles of twice three scores and ten. Well, my answer to your curiosity would be quite experimental and simple.” He sat well on the bench and continued, “Look at your fingers, what did you observe? Are they equal? No! They aren’t. Furthermore, Ayo, attaining the success height is the survival of the fittest. Success only knows those that can push, pushing, pushing until one reach the zenith. It is never made for everyone. It is like a marathon, only those who have gone a long time into practicing, those that can endure, pacify, strengthen will see the end of the race.

“If everyone is wise, I wouldn’t be here to put you through and probably tell you the truth. Because you, yourself would have known the truth. So, you’ll grown up more to know what life entails.”

And moreover, when did you turn a philosopher asking questions about your world? At this age of yours? Anyways, I hope I’ve been able to clear your curiosity? This is the only money I could give you. Make use of it wisely,” Papa said in conclusion.

I was very surprised at papa’s answer to my question, prostrating, and thanking him for the answer proffered so far. “Wow! Papa thank you so much! I’m really grateful for this. Now, my heart is free.”

====================I was ten years old when I began asking questions about my world. The children of the neighbourhood would always want me around them, seeking advice from the little me. Because of the knowledge I’ve acquired from Papa, I was nicknamed Brain by my friends on the street, and gained more grounds.

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