The day slowly gave way to the night just as my happiness slowly left my heart. I counted the ticking sound of the clock as each second passed by. The night itself was a slow visitor and I could feel it wasn’t in a hurry to leave. I laid down quietly, facing the old ceiling, wide awake. I couldn’t bring myself to sleep. tthe thought of staying another day in this house made me cry bitterly and my heart was in so much pain to think of another alternative than to run. Quietly I began putting together my escape plan. But then I realized I had constraints.
First, I had no money not even a kobo.
Secondly, I don’t even know the actual way home. To be fair, I know the names of the various bus stops, but I can’t say the actual route to each one. Amidst all these, I still reassured myself I had hope of leaving only if I can get some cash. The question becomes where will I find some?
I woke up the next morning feeling so downcast. Mama and her daughters were busy going up and down the house as if they had done nothing! How do they even live with themselves? How could they feel so good after making another miserable? My heart was gradually filled with resentment and anger. “There was no way they would make me miserable and then remain happy” I said to myself, “If I am miserable, they too must be”! And then I set my plan in motion.
I began doing my chores slower than a snail. It took me three hours to wash the plates and another two to sweep the compound. I would pretend to work when they are around but sit immediately they leave. I was happy as they kept complaining and abusing me. While washing the plates, my elder aunt came close to me and was scolding me about how lazy I was that morning. She kept ranting and I felt I’ve heard enough of her rants so I started making noises with the stainless plates. I would drop them intentionally on each other or on the floor thereby obstructing her speech on intervals. At a point she realized my scheme and ordered me to quietly wash the plates or receive my morning dose of beating. I didn’t want another beating so I resorted to singing a melodious song in my heart. This distracted me from her totally, it was as if I tuned off from her rants. She got to know I wasn’t even listening to her rants when she asked me a question and I didn’t respond. She called me severally but I didn’t answer and with anger she splashed her tea on my face. This brought me back to reality land. She went berserk and accused me of being a witch. I was so glad my scheme worked. She was miserable!! Hers was breathtaking!!!
As for Mama, I delayed in sweeping her room and bringing her bath water. When I finally went to sweep the room, I almost slept there. I was busy reading up every little paper I came across. I will pretend I was doing a thorough cleaning while wasting her precious time. I lost count of how many times she climbed the stairs to see if I was through but will always meet a “very busy dedicated” me who has done absolutely nothing since the last time she came. At a point she became so angry and asked me to leave her room as it is and get her her bathing water. I knew Mama loved half a bucket of very hot water which she would dilute to her taste before having her bath. All the years I’ve lived with them, I knew mama enjoyed a hot bath, but however she was about to enjoy a cold bath today. With our smallest kettle I warmed a little quantity of water and took it to her. Mama was so angry and gave me an “amazing” slap. I ran down the stairs and refused doing any other thing, it was all part of my plan. I knew mama doesn’t joke with her bathing water and I was sure if I messed it up, she was going to punish me. I needed a reason to stay out of the house and she just gave me one. I wanted each of them to do their chores by themselves, and it happened.
I became stubborn and refused going on any errand for any of them. They were all miserable just like I was. But sadly I didn’t think my plan through. I forgot all about hunger. By afternoon, I was as hungry as an angry lion. I couldn’t think straight as my tummy kept making hallowing sounds at intervals. I would yawn every minute and would perceive the aroma of imaginary jollof rice. Last night, I had had a very little dinner after losing my appetite, thanks to the sad development. I didn’t also have any money to buy snacks. I was gradually losing it though I kept pretending I was fine. The devil wanted to mock me more and brought aunt Oby and her boyfriend to the veranda downstairs. He was seated on the long bench while she went into the kitchen to serve their meal. They left the door ajar and I was sure my aunt did it intentionally. She wanted to lure me with the pleasant aroma from her delicious meal and make me regret my actions. She was a better cook than aunt Agnes and always made salivating meals. Truth be told, I was already mastering the words I would say while rendering my apology. I was so hungry and at this moment wouldn’t mind selling my freedom for a plate of food. I was that silly naive girl.
But in a twist of fate, with high possibilities that my guardian angel was looking out for me, l heard the sound of a car zoom into the compound. A more closer look revealed it was my august visitor….
It was my dad!!!!!!
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