Archives for posts with tag: childhood

SHADES

abused-woman

Nothing could ever dim from my memory the calmness of that cool afternoon. It was right after my second lesson when my Uncle Frank came to whisk me from boarding school.
“Oroife, Your uncle is here to see you”. My teacher; Miss Okere called.
With a huge smile spreading across my face, I popped out of my seat in my timberland boots and walked out like I was about to miss my flight. Miss Okere gazed after me with sad eyes but I was too over the moon to notice.

When I got out, My Uncle Frank was standing by his wife; my favourite aunt.  I ran as fast as my legs would let, to give her a bear hug. That was when I noticed that they had come with a Soldier escort. My innocent mind was too lost in excitement to worry about the soldier. I jumped into the car, and in seconds my aunt was feeding me with as many cookies and candies that my body would allow. I ate so much that I slept off; forgetting to ask why I was taken home unexpectedly.
I woke up to the cry of a baby. I was heading to my aunt’s room to ask whose baby that was when I saw a number of people in the living room, crying and shaking their heads.
 *Did they find a baby in a dumpster? *

I thought, as I went to find my aunt. She was in the kitchen making tea.

“Aunty what’s happening?” I asked

“Oh you are awake.”

“Yes. The cry of the baby woke me up” I said twisting my face in displeasure.

“Sorry dear. Babies can be loud.” she smiled sadly then asked  “do you want some tea?”

“No thank you ma. So whose baby is crying?” she stayed quiet as if she was giving my question a moment of silence, then she spoke

“That’s your brother”. My eyes lit up again
“Mummy is back?” I squealed and began to run out. She pulled me back gently

“Your mummy is not really back.”  I looked at her, my mind lost in a sea of confusion.  “Your dad went to get your mum and new baby brother from the Airport” she looked at me forlornly before saying her next words “they had a fatal accident. Miraculously, your baby brother survived”.

My innocent mind couldn’t grasp the idea that my beautiful mum was gone, I started to shiver then opened my mouth to let out a primal scream. My drew me close, holding me in her arms as if that would make things better.
I never got over my parents death but I learnt to live with their absence.

I christened my brother Ifeobi (love of parents). Very poetic; I know. I grew up loving my brother so much that I was convinced he was the reason I still had breath in my lungs. I felt like he was a message from our parents. Their one final gift to me before they left the land of mortals.

* * *

Right now, I’m in the United States of America because….Do I really want to write about this? Well, I’ve heard that writing takes some load off so here I go…

After my parents death, I spent so many nights soaking my pillow with hot tears. On those nights my aunt would come in and wrap me in her warm arms.

But this one night, she wasn’t there to offer the warmth of her comfort.  She was away on Pilgrimage to Jerusalem and this is how my horror began.
Uncle Frank chose to step into her shoes that night’ offering me faux warmth and comfort but the moment I began to doze off, I felt his hands in my underpants and I knew that was the last time I’d feel my innocence.  I was only 13 but that night became the first of many, I wept like I
had lost my life. My clothes were drenched in tears, I forgot I was bleeding. My eyes felt like a tumor. I could only breathe with my heart, it needed air.  I had nowhere to go. He was all the family I knew. He always seemed helpless whenever he came to me. I  couldn’t tell aunty; I didn’t want anything to jeopardize my her marriage so I kept mum. Cold days and
colder nights rolled by and I knew I was losing a part of me, my sanity.

And  although my parents christened me  Oroife (the thing about love) because they had me  long before they got married and they could foresee what a beautiful young woman I would be, I changed my name to Charlotte,  something easier for my American friends. Even with my parents long gone, I have everything any young girl can ever want, lovely clothes, good shoes, access to money. They left enough wealth to last me and my brother a lifetime and I’m glad Uncle never kept it from us. But all these could never repair my damaged emotions.

I’ve met a few friends here in the states but I miss Ifeobi so much, I hardly comb my hair. I’m leading my class in school as a law student. It’s where I pump all my energy. A discipline I chose because one day, I’ll reveal who Uncle Frank truly is, and I will persecute him.

My Baby brother will also become a soldier, and I’ll make sure he wields the gun that snuffs life out of my uncle at his execution. Perfect! Isn’t it?
I won’t ever get married, Uncle Frank ruined any form of attachment for me and I hope my brother saves himself from a world of hurt and doesn’t get married either. The only love that exists in the entire world is the one between me and Oroife; every other love is claptrap.
Oh I must tell you, I have a neighbour, I know loves me; He has never said hello but I know he wants to. I see it in his eyes. I have written all about him here (https://laryoo.wordpress.com/2013/10/20/call-me-crazy/).

I’m calling the police; I just left my neighbour in a pool of blood.  Help! I don’t know what’s wrong with him.

By Oyindamola @TheTailor and Seyi @sunkit1

 

Manickal’s Purge

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I actually intended to tell a fictitious tale. And then I realized I’d told too many. Maybe this time, I just have to be real. Reveal a bit about my true self. LOL. I always tell myself that maybe one day I’ll find that person who I can pour out myself too. Even shed tears a little while doing that. Release the weight that has burdened me for so long. Let myself go. Oh well, what the heck…

The first time I contemplated committing suicide, I was 13 years old. I was in boarding school. The story behind it makes me laugh till this day. I had been the usual quiet guy in boarding school, talking only when I needed to. Spoke only when I was spoken to and the person speaking to me needed a reply. I never talked to girls. Even when they tried speaking to me, I would shy away from them. I liked being on my own, so I could think dark thoughts and draw a few of them on whatever plain pages I could find. I never liked to offend people. I wanted people to either be indifferent about me or not care about my existence at all. As long as they were not angry at me for something I might have or not have done, I was cool. I wasn’t a friend to many of my mates, neither was I to any of my seniors. And they’re the last folks in boarding school I wanted to offend. I’d seen what they did to students who offended them. It had put great fear in my heart and mind. I didn’t want to be the one exexperiencing such a grueling form of punishment.

A day came when we had to go for lunch. In the dining hall were different tables. Each table had eight students assigned to them for the week. And out of the eight students, one of them was a senior. The school had begun four years before my arrival. The most senior class was the Senior Secondary class 1. Or SS1. The senior on my table was nicknamed Tega by his colleagues. It had nothing to do with his real name. He just loved to be called Tega. Tega hadn’t come for lunch that afternoon, so I assumed Tega was not hungry, so I shared the food among seven of us that were present. That assumption was wrong, and almost cost me my life. Tega came into the dining hall with some of his senior pals when we were just about through with the food and looked into the pot. The pot was empty. Tega’s face became one that I, at that time, identified with pure evil. His face twisted into a malevolent scowl as he asked who the person was that had shared the food. All eyes settled on me, but no one spoke. Tega didn’t need a deity to tell him who the perpetrator of such great travesty was. I had stopped chewing a while back when he walked in and there was still food on my plate. Tega walked up to me, stared down at me for a few seconds and the next thing I saw was his right hand slapping me across the face and throwing me off the seat. I fell on the floor and I didn’t want to get up. There was a ringing in my right ear. I felt I’d gone deaf in that ear. But Tega wasn’t done with me, he dragged me by my day-uniform and brought my face to his. I could smell the terror emanating from him. He looked like the type that would kill me and throw my body over the school fence. But students were not allowed to kill other students. They could only punish them. And I knew Tega. He was a sadist. And the School’s assistant senior prefect.

The rest of my day was a horrible one. I had lain under Tega’s bed until it was time for dinner. And the dinner wasn’t even mine. For my portion belonged to Tega. The prefect allowed me to just one meal a day for the next week. Breakfast. Lunch and dinner was his to do what he pleased with. A few mates who were compassionate shared some of their food with me. It was a terrible time for me. The hours of starvation were coupled with hours of punishment. Washed his sheets. Fetched him water. Made his bed. Did his weekly school chores. All because of one stupid assumption. Some of my mates told me to report him to the school authorities or to my guardian then. But I had seen such happen before. Students who had been badly maltreated had reported their oppressors to the school. The school had disciplined the Senior involved, but that only angered them more. And made them do worse. We could all remember the tale of Gbenga, who had left the school with a broken neck, and never returned. A senior student had pushed him out of a first floor window, and was expelled. I couldn’t report Tega. I was scared of him. I just wanted the whole ordeal to be over. I even prayed about it. Maybe God heard, maybe He didn’t. He could have prevented what happened next if He did, yes?

It was a Friday morning, we were about to have breakfast. Everybody liked this particular meal. Even I. I was so happy my oppressor could allow me have breakfast. Just as I was about to take a bite into the Agege bread and fried egg, Tega holds me by the neck and tells me to drop it. My whole body went weak. From fear, my mien transformed to anger. That day, I decided I’d had enough. I’d missed lunch and dinner for six days because of that guy. I’d begged for scraps from people I wouldn’t even talk to. I’d suffered numerous punishments and embarrassments all for his sake. And just when I was about to enjoy a meal I loved so much he tells me to drop it? I stood up, looked him in the eye and told him no. He looked shocked at my reply. He tried to hit me but I blocked his hand with mine and pushed him away. Tega never thought a JSS2 student could stand up to him. He was flabbergasted. He drew his belt and was about to use it on me before the school Guardian halted him. He happened to be in the dining hall at that particular time. He had been watching our little scuffle. He ordered Tega out of the dining hall and told him to match to his quarters and await punishment. My bravery drained from me quickly. Tega’s last scowl at me before he left felt like it was death staring at me. But I knew I wasn’t going to die. I knew I was going to suffer so much I wish I was dead. Tega couldn’t kill me, but he would make want to die.

For the next few hours, I kept thinking about what Tega would do to me when he returned from the Guardian’s place. I couldn’t think of anything else but every possible form of punishment that the sadist could think up and use it upon me. My body shivered everytime I thought of one. All my mates pitied me. They even talked about how they saw the Guardian punishing Tega, him crying and begging for forgiveness. The Guardian had learned about Tega’s oppression of me for the past week. He was meting out the deserved punishment for such inhumanity. The thought of Tega begging for crying and begging for forgiveness made tears flow from my eyes at the prospect of what he would do to me when he returned. I wanted to run somewhere and hide forever. I wanted the earth to open up and swallow me. I wanted my parents to come and take me far, far away from this school.

I wanted to die.

I had heard about suicide before. I had images in my head of people hanging from ropes around their necks. I remembered Judas. I wondered how I could do that. I thought about other ways to kill myself. I also had once heard about a girl who had slit her wrists with a blade. I went and bought a blade, and I opened it and brought it to my wrists. I imagined how it would be to die and leave this cursed world. I didn’t have any friends. Nobody cared. And Tega would be the least to care when he returned from the guardian’s quarters. There really was no reason to live. Nobody, except my parents, would miss me. And it would serve them right for bringing me to that school which I had hated. I looked at the blade and looked at my wrists. I was the only one in the hostel when the other students were in class. I would be dead when they returned and there would be a huge uproar in the school. After a while though, I realized I didn’t have the heart for it. I dropped the blade and closed my eyes. I found resolve in myself to accept whatever was coming. Let Tega have his way…

Tega returned. And the first thing he did was call me to his corner. He was lying on his bed and looking into emptiness. I stood there looking at him. The whole dormitory was quiet. They waited for what was coming next. Tega apologized to me, there and then. He told me he was truly sorry for what he did. He told me he would never do it again. He asked me to forgive him. I couldn’t believe my ears, and tears came to my eyes. The only thing I could say was “okay”  and he permitted me to leave. I went to my bed and I thanked God. I laughed a little. I was relieved. I didn’t suffer, and I didn’t die.

I’m Michael, known as @ManickaL on twitter. I’m a mel-phleg personality I think. I’m a socially-awkward, very quiet type of guy who writes for fun. Its kind of a hobby for me. I blog at musedminds.com and  mykaliztales.WordPress.com (personal blog)

I have to say thank you to every writer that has responded, I really appreciate your entries. Y’all make me happy and to everyone that comments too thanks. Other writers out there, Please make me happy and send entries to loonpurge@gmail.com or hola me on twitter @sunkit1
This is Ehi’s purge.  Another deep piece which I’m honored to have on my blog.  All rights reserved.
vanessa_place_40
                                                                                       “Dorothy’s place”

She was in her favourite room in the house
Surrounded by the distinct smell of stale urine and antiseptic
Tiled walls echoing her silent thoughts
Running water masking her tears
Here in her refuge there was peace
Here in her foul smelling harbour there was serenity
Here in her bathroom she didn’t have to think
Not about her past
Not about having to explain why her brother is sitting on the restaurant floor
Not about why her brother has to use the girl’s toilet with her
Not about why her brother is ten years old and still wears diapers
Not about why mommy cries at night
Here in her bathroom she didn’t have to think
Not about her present
Not about why her fourteen years old brother can’t wear his shorts
Not about why daddy can’t look at his boy sober
Not about why she has to be her mother’s mother
Not about why she can’t be her father’s daughter
Not about why tears are streaming down her face even though she’s not thinking
Not about why….
“Dorothy!!”
“Yes mother”
“Your brother wet the bed again you need to change the sheets”
She grudgingly left her cocoon
Staring at the bed
Sheets stained milky white
“Oh mother” she said
“That’s not pee”.
Ehi Enabs doesn’t get much sleep at night, she uses that time to save the world but when she’s not doing that (on laundry day when she has to wash her cape and tights) she tweets at Twitter.com/ehienabs and occasionally she gets published on wahalacentral.WordPress.com. She also takes long walks in her head.

                                                                   

 

…She started to run back to her room, but her move was interrupted with a shout of “HAPPY BIRTHDAY”. The lights came on. Tammy was so shocked, she was sure she had woken up in the wrong house; she looked around and saw familiar faces smiling at her. She saw her girls smiling mischievously at her. At that moment, Tammy understood why everyone had been behaving strange the past weeks. Everyone Tammy could imagine was at her party, she felt very loved and special. Her favorite personnel; her aunt whom she called Aunty Diva walked up to her and gave her a big hug and said in her British accent “happy birthday love. Tammy, remember to always free your heart, embrace the world and let your mind wander.” Tammy ran for a pen and her journal and wrote down Aunty Diva’s words and said to her “I love you Aunty Diva” as she ran off like a squirrel to chat with the girls.

Aunty Diva was Tammy’s role model. Tammy valued every word from Aunty Diva’s lips like a mother valued every child from her womb. Tammy made it a point of duty to memorize those words and say them always.

Towards the end of Tammy’s party her parents walked up to her with a couple. “Happy birthday love” her mum said smiling generously

“Thanks mum” Tammy replied beaming with her dimples on display as usual.

“This is the new area pastor and his wife. Their names are Pastor and Mrs. Bankole” said Tammy’s dad with admiration in his eyes.

“Happy birthday Tammy, u have lovely dimples” Pastor Bankole said to her with a smile.

 

*                                              *                                             *

Tammy was now wide awake; the dizziness had finally stopped its harassment. Her memory was coming back like the prodigal son and she could fill the dotted lines now as she recollected how one event led to another.  But she was still couldn’t decipher where she was, her purpose there and why she was dressed in her worst color. Tammy realized that it would be approximately four years she had her surprise birthday party. This would mean she was 16 years old at the moment. But that still did not explain to her why she was in a place covered white with unusual soft walls and why she was tied down in white cloths. Tammy racked her brain and fought through the headache she was having, she had to unravel the mystery behind this ‘white cubicle’ she was in. There was no Uncle Vincent, no browned teeth Uncle Ladi with his updated Yoruba slangs; she didn’t even mind Uncle Gandonu’s presence right now or anybody just to take away this obscure loneliness.

“What about mum and dad” Tammy asked herself in confusion.

“Oh Jesus, I remember’.

 

*                                                  *                                          *

The 14th of august; few days after her 13th birthday. It was a bright Monday morning the major reason the marching song that morning after the assembly was ‘the day is bright, is bright and fair…’  Mrs. Uchechukwu, the principal had summoned Tammy to her office during English period. Tammy never got into trouble, so she was sure she wasn’t getting punished but once she was in the principal’s office, the funny but sober look on Mrs. Uchechukwu’s no-nonsense face betrayed her confidence and Tammy couldn’t help but wonder what had gone wrong. She now saw her Pastor; Pastor Bankole in the office staring at her. She rolled her eyes. She never really liked him despite the fact that he was a Pastor and had become a close family friend over the last year. She still never felt comfortable around him and hated the way he smiled at her when he commented on her dimples.

Tammy was offered a seat which she took with the fear in her eyes evident; it was like in those suspense filled movies when you just shiver through the climax.

“Oluwatamilore the princess” Pastor Bankole said smiling sadly.

“It’s your mummy and daddy” Mrs.  Uchechukwu said. Tammy wondered why they were taking turns to talk.

“They went on a long visit and will not be coming back in a very long time” Mrs. Uchechukwu said.

“But they did not tell me and that is very unusual” Tammy said feeling hurt. ‘Why would they travel without telling her? Where did they expect her to stay till she got back?’ Tammy thought to herself.

“Well, Tammy they never planned it but God knows best” Pastor Bankole replied.

“How come they wouldn’t be coming soon and they didn’t tell me?” Tammy said with tears taking shape in her eyes.

“That’s because it was unexpected” Mrs. Uchechukwu said.

“And why are you taking turns to reply my questions?” Tammy asked quizzically

“That’s because your parents died in a ghastly motor accident this morning” Pastor Bankole said finally hitting the nail on the head.

“And you will have to stay with Pastor Bankole and his wife” Mrs. Uchechukwu said finally.

Tammy couldn’t believe her ears and she stared blankly as warm tears rolled down those chubby cheeks.

*                                          *                                     *

Tammy wouldn’t deny that she was having a good time and life with Pastor Bankole’s family. Everything was almost the same as before just that her parents were not there and she had not heard from Aunty Diva in a long time. It was a year now that the cold hands of death snatched her parents from her; a year of trying to cover up the hole in her heart as she lived with Bankole’s. She was reasonably happy with the Bankole’s and since the couple did not have children yet, she got to be pampered.

Tammy was now 14 years old and everything was going on pretty good at least for an orphan but Pastor Bankole’s weird smiles and comments on her dimples had not stopped. Even though she had never seen a monster, she believed she’d feel more at ease at the smile of a monster than that of Pastor Bankole.

The only challenge Tammy had been having was she always felt the presence of someone in her room most nights but she always discarded the feeling and took it as her own imagination.

One night when pastor Bankole’s wife was out on one of her business trips, Tammy prepared dinner while Pastor Bankole kept strolling into the kitchen; an unusual act. He helped Tammy do most of the job which he never did for his wife. At times he walked into the kitchen and put his arms around her and smiled. Finally after dinner, he said goodnight to her and they both retired to their different bedrooms. Tammy felt so relieved at least his weird behavior was on temporary hold.

At 1:00 A.M precisely, Tammy felt the presence of someone in her room and just told herself that it was an illusion as she drifted back to sleep. Minutes later, Tammy felt something walking through her body and she hit that part of her body and saw that it was the wool of her duvet, she hissed and went back to sleep.

10 minutes later, Tammy felt something move on her thighs and this time she got up in anger determined to change the bed sheet but she was slapped by shock. It wasn’t her bed sheet this time, it was human hands. Tammy jumped up and switched on the bed lamp only to see Pastor Bankole kneeling on her bed with his bare chest wearing just underpants and giving her wry smile.

“Do you need something sir?” Tammy asked stammering

“I need you Tammy” replied Pastor Bankole

“To do what?” Tammy asked again in a confused manner wondering what he wanted that couldn’t wait till the next morning.

“To make me feel happy, I have always loved you since the first time I saw you on your 12th birthday and I have been waiting for this opportunity”

“Sir I am sorry but you need to leave”

“That’s when we are through dear. I have always used my fingers but today I think I am fully ready to do things the right way”

Tammy then understood the visits and presence she had been feeling all the while but before she could say another word, he was on top of her, his Palm over her mouth. Since her existence, she had never felt the kind of sharp pain that engulfed her thighs and shook her bones as Pastor Bankole kept throbbing into her. Minutes later, he took his hands off her mouth, stood up, gave her a satisfied smile and a kiss before he walked out of the room taking Tammy’s happiness and innocence with him.

 

Follow on twitter: @sunkit1

Final part will be posted soon I promise. Thanks for reading and do leave your comments.

 

 

                                                        

Tammy’s eye lids slid open slowly; still feeling a little dizzy she surveyed her environment, wondering where the whole silence was coming from. Tammy was never a fan of serenity. It unnerved her.

Still lost in the silence that had engulfed her and the dizziness that controlled her thought pattern, Tammy shook her head vigorously trying to figure out what was happening. The realization that she had hands she could wade off dizziness with struck her like a blow. She attempted to wipe her eyes with her hands so she could at least gain some stability but alas; her hands wouldn’t move. “What’s happening to me?”  She murmured as she looked down to see what had gone wrong with her hands. They were intertwined and she was wearing a white cloth, immaculate like a dove.

“This is strange” Tammy thought, “I am in a quiet place which is very unusual and I am wearing white. But I hate white, how come that’s what am wearing? And as if that is not enough I feel so dizzy and my hands are tied I can’t even wipe the sleep off my eyes” her mind was drowning in confusion. She looked around like a kidnapped child, everything was so strange. Everywhere and everything was white, she tried using her bound up body to feel the white walls but they felt too soft to be considered walls. She tried to make sense of her environment like one solving a puzzle; her hands were tied, she was dressed in white and there she was feeling dizzy like a housewife who just got knocked out by her child’s football after a long day of chores. Tammy tried looking in her mind’s eye if she could get a clue of this scenario and then it started coming back to her like waters at the sea shore; she was beginning to figure out where all this came from though it was still quite vague. She guessed it must have been so long that she had being in here that she wasn’t sure of what led to what and how it all begun. She wasn’t a person with short memories so she knew she had to calm down. “Free your heart, embrace the world and let your mind wander” Tammy whispered to herself. These were the words she always said whenever she was confused or nervous; the words soothed her mind like bath in a pool sooths the body on a sunny day. Those words gave her hope. She could still remember Aunty Diva had told her those words on her 12th birthday and she had come to love and memorize the words like her life depended on them.

“Gbam! Yes!” that was it. Tammy exclaimed. It was all coming back to her.

It all started on her surprise 12th birthday. The party she always fantasized about in her dreamy world.

*                                                     *                                       *

Tammy sat at the back seat in the navy blue Honda C-RV with her driver; Uncle Vincent who was on the driver’s seat. He asked her “Oluwatamilore the princess how was school today?” Tammy ignored him and stared with a frown at her pink journal where she always wrote what had gone wrong or right at school. Uncle Vincent knew something must have gone wrong with Tammy at school. Tammy was known to be a cheerful and respectful child with her dimpled face that stuck in people’s memory like snail to a wet wall.

“Is something wrong with the princess?” Uncle Vincent asked Tammy looking through the rear-view mirror with smiles on his face trying to get a glimpse of Tammy’s expression. Tammy didn’t say a word she just stared with a frown on her face like she was going to explode soon.

Uncle Vincent smiled knowing the only thing that could really bring up that expression on Tammy’s face and asked “what happened between the girls today that upset the princess so much that she wouldn’t even talk to Uncle Vincent?”

Tammy’s face had taken up some amount of calmness and he knew he was getting to her.

“Oluwatamilore, you know you can talk to me except you want me to switch with uncle Gandonu”. Uncle Vincent said raising his brow for her to see.

Uncle Vincent knew that Tammy would rather sleep in school than let Gandonu drive her back home, she always complained that Gandonu’s Ghanaian accent was irritable and embarrassing, she felt his accent and mode of conduct did not fit into her Porsche  princess world.

Like a flash, Tammy’s facial expression changed and she made an attempt to utter something but changed her mind. This wasn’t lost to Uncle Vincent so he pulled over at the closest parking lot, retrieved his phone from his pocket and made an attempt to dial a number.

“Uncle Vincent, what do you want to do?”  Tammy uttered her first words since she got into the car that afternoon.

“I am calling uncle Gandonu to come take over” Uncle Vincent answered with a straight face.

“Oh no! Uncle Vincent you won’t do that to me will you?”

“Well, since you don’t want to talk to me, I’d better call Uncle Gandonu who can cope with your silence and would not play you any song.”

“But you know how much I hate silence Uncle Gandonu”

“Well, I think you want it because…”

“No Uncle Vincent I don’t”

“Then you will talk to me”

“Okay, but only if you move the car”

Uncle Vincent ignited the car engine and drove the car, he looked through the rear-view mirror again in order to get a glimpse at Tammy and he said “oya, I am listening”

“Okay. Uncle Vincent you know tomorrow is my birthday right?” Tammy said

“Oh! I almost did not forget tomorrow is your birthday”.

Tammy smiled realizing that he was trying to confuse her as usual.

“I guess that means you did not forget” Tammy said

“Yes my smart princess” said Uncle Vincent with a smile

“You wouldn’t believe that all the girls refused to talk to me because I am not throwing a party. They said I am not one of the ‘real girls’ or I would have celebrated my birthday. They all said they will never talk to me again.” Tammy narrated trying to choke back tears.

“Don’t worry little princess, they’ll change their mind. What will they do without the princess” Uncle Vincent said assuredly

“they won’t Uncle Vincent’ I know them too well” Tammy cried

“Don’t worry Tammy; they don’t have a choice. And when they start talking to you, you will remember I told you so”

They arrived at a big golden gate and Tammy smiled knowing they were home. Uncle Ladi the gateman opened the big gate and smiled at Tammy with his brown teeth and Tammy returned a warm smile showing her dimples and shouted “Uncle Ladi e ka san, your teeth are still sparkling white as ever”

Wa sere Tammy” replied uncle Ladi as he waved the car in.

“That must be the latest in the Yoruba dictionary” Tammy said to Uncle Vincent with a chuckle

“Well, you know Uncle Ladi never fails to upgrade his Yoruba slangs” replied Uncle Vincent.

And with that, Tammy jumped out of the car feeling relieved and ran into the house shouting “thank you Uncle Vincent, you are the best.”

*                                               *                                               *

It was a bright Saturday morning and the morning breeze blew over Tammy’s face as she opened her eyes and smiled as she felt the beauty of the day caress her soul.

Suddenly, she jumped up with a frown. Today was her birthday the 5th of August, she remembered that her girls would not be here to wish her a happy birthday and she couldn’t have the party she wished for.

“I wonder what mummy and daddy bought me” Tammy said through her frown as she hopped out of bed to freshen up at the bathroom and then uncle Vincent’s words of the day before rang in her hears like a door bell “Don’t worry little princess, they’ll change their mind. What will they do without the princess?” Tammy rolled her eyes. She knew her girls too well and didn’t think they were going to change their mind. Tammy had just clocked 12 years and knew that attaining age 12 was a ritual among the girls because they believed the next year they would move from girls to teenagers and as a result, they never spared their 12th birthdays. “This is the first time mummy and daddy did not tell me happy birthday at exactly 12 midnight and I really hope they have not forgotten.” Tammy said to herself as she looked through the mirror and made to brush her teeth.

Tammy was the only child of her parents and she knew how much they loved and cherished her which is why she was still confused why they refused to let her celebrate her birthday with a party. Her parents hardly refused her anything and whenever they did, she always got an explicit reason. But this time, they only said “Tammy love, you are not getting to celebrate your birthday with a party this year” which was from dad.

“But dad, mum, you know this is like a ritual to the girls, I will never be twelve again and this is like my last year as a girl, I’ll be a teenage girl next year” Tammy whined. But with that they just got up, mum gave her a hug, dad a kiss and they walked into their room. Whenever Tammy tried to bring up the topic, they always changed the subject.

Tammy got out of the bathroom, got into a beautiful pink gown customized with her name on it “OLUWATAMILORE”. She slipped into her pink slippers and went down the stairs after knocking at her parents’ bedroom door and got no response. “Why is everywhere so quiet?” Tammy asked herself as she took her last step on the stairs and made a move for the living room. The lights were off and Tammy was getting scared. She began to hear people shout and scream…

 

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