Once upon a time....time time.
My people, issa thread.
But I do remember that someone suggested we go inside the house and play #hideandseek. It may even have been my suggestion.
“Ready or not, here I coooommme…” I shouted.
Of course, finding them was easy. The way they ran, noisy as little mice stumbling in the dark; it was easy to tell.
We would fall over each other, laughing our heads off. Don’t ask me why that was funny; it just was.
This went on until it was my immediate younger brother’s turn.
“One, twoooo….thereeee…,” he started counting.
Then she wriggled her body through the narrow opening and planted herself beside me inside the wardrobe.
Pests, the lot of them. They want to follow you everywhere and snitch on you with impunity. If they’re girls, they grow up and steal your dresses, perfumes and novels.
My sister was no different.
“Eigggghhht…..eight and a haalff….”
I was desperate.
“Come, let me hide you,” I said.
Without waiting for her to agree, I snatched her up and dashed out to the lobby.
“Koko, it’s cold,” she said, shivering as her feet settled on the packs of meat and containers of soups and stews.
Before she could offer any protest, I shut the lid and raced back to my hideout, and just in time.
“Teeennn!” my brother called out.
“Mummy, welcome,” we chorused, collecting her handbag.
“Ehen,” she replied. “How are you?”
My people, I died there.
Because my sister was the smallest of us all. But her birth was a difficult one, and my mother never let us forget.
So, I tell you, I died there.
As it happened whenever I was frightened out of my wits, a little urine soaked my panties.
“She’s what?” Mama snapped, her eyes narrowing with suspicion.
As one who is headed for a firing squad, I couldn’t answer. I simply walked to the freezer, opened it, looked inside and and….
Mama let loose a scream. She sprinted to the freezer and scooped up her baby. Still screaming, she ran to their room and dragged the big, yellow duvet off the bed.
“Kokomma, ayem adiwod ayen ami? You want to kill my child, abi?” she asked, tears and anguish sweeping across her face.
While she waited for the driver, who could somehow not be found, she vigorously rubbed down my sister.
“Get me Rubb!” I went.
“Bring the flask of hot water!” I did.
“Get me the towel!”
For minutes, Mama just rocked her and cried. After a while, she took her to the room and laid her on her and Papa’s bed.
Ah, so this is how I was to die—in private.
Shaking like a flag in the wind, I entered and shut the door behind me. Head down, step by very reluctant step, I made to my mother.
I never expected it.
She pulled me to her bosom and wrapped her arms around me. Mama kissed my forehead.
Silent tears gone. I was now bawling like a new-born lamb.
And that, my people, is how I’m still alive to tell this tale.
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