Episode 2




Almost One year gone and it seemed like

Mama had only gone for three days. I was

already in primary Two, even though the

most intelligent in class, I still did not feel

complete. I needed Mama to be alive to

prepare the meals I enjoyed while she was

alive, to sponge-bathe me so hard like she

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always did, and to beat me as many times

just as she did the first time. Since her

demise, all the meals Papa had been

preparing were never done, they were like

the kind of meals my friends and I would

use some hot charcoal to prepare during

our play hours.

I remember when Mama was alive, our

Hausa neighbour, who is now late, would

always boil rice at her house, and come to

our house for stew. She had said since her

children visited us during Christmas and

tasted Mama’s peppery stew, they stopped

eating hers. Everyone in the compound

missed Mama; her shop was no longer open

the whole day, many had advised Papa to

bring one of his relatives from his village but

he had refused. He never gave them any

reason but I knew why. The shop was

closed until I returned from school, we were

no longer making profits, but Papa did not

care about the profits, he cared more about

my academics.

According to what I heard, Papa came from

a polygamous family. His dad had married so

many wives from different cultural

backgrounds, in fact, his grandfather was

known to be the richest man in the village,

and his dad, the first lawyer from that

village; this gave them more power to marry

as many women as they wanted, snatch

farm lands and even slaves. As the people

became educated and exposed, they grew

to hate the family and cursed their children.

Papa once told us a story about his father

and how he divorced his seventh wife. My

Grandpa had a land issue with one of his

enemies. On his way to the compound of

the chief he was having the case with, he

met a beautiful girl. He asked her to marry

him and she agreed but insisted he asked

for her father’s permission first. To his

surprise, she led him to the same compound

he was going to

Girl’s father: “You wicked man, what are you

doing here? To poison me like you’ve

poisoned your other enemies?”

Grandpa: “Why would you say that? I was

on my way to resolving the land dispute

with you when I saw your daughter. Chief

Inimgba, I leave the land for you. You can

take the whole of the land”

Girl’s father: “Ehn? Hahaha you think I am a

fool? Listen, take your pranks elsewhere.

But, do you know you are foolish? You

walked all the way from your house just to

please me? Our people say, after a foolish

deed comes remorse. I know you too well,

Chief Inimgba”

Grandpa: “Ok, how else do you want me to

prove to you that I won’t harm you after

letting you have the land? What if I say I

want your daughter’s hand in marriage?”

Girl’s father: “The gods will strike you down

this minute! Now get out of my compound

before I give the animals in the forest a feast


Everyone in the village heard about the

argument and how my Grandpa was

disgraced out of Chief Inimgba’s compound

and praised the Chief for his bravery, but

waited for the revenge from Grandpa. Days

passed and Grandpa never retaliated, the

surprising news they heard was that

Grandpa was marrying Chief Inimgba’s

daughter. Six months after their marriage,

my father’s half brother saw her in the

kitchen poisoning Grandpa’s food. When

asked to taste the meal after she denied the

accusation, she refused. Grandpa had no

option than to send her away. Rumour went

round that Chief Inimgba had sent his

daughter to eliminate Grandpa, but Grandpa

had his charms; other people believed

Grandpa had used his enemy’s daughter

and dumped her to hurt her father.

In December 1995, I had just returned from

school. It was few days to Christmas; I

sneaked out of school so I could make some

money at the shop. I knew Papa did not

have enough money to buy the goat for

Christmas, so I decided to use the few days

left to sell the few gifts in the shop so we

can have enough money to buy some meat

for the Christmas celebration. From the

shop, I could hear Papa calling me, but I was

not sure, so I kept quiet. In my town, it is

believed that one has to be sure of who is

calling one’s name before answering

because sometimes the evil spirit may be

calling, and if one is unfortunate to answer,

it may result to bad luck. As I was about to

sell the last balloon to my neighbour’s son, I

heard Papa’s voice again, this time it

sounded like he stood right behind me…

Papa: “Shiber! Shiber!! Have you suddenly

become deaf?”

Me: “Sir!” I quickly gave the boy his change

and locked the shop

Papa: “Will you come here…”

Me: “I’m coming Papa”

I ran towards the house and hit my right leg

so hard, I looked at my toe and smiled, I

knew good luck was on the way; if it was

my left leg, I would have been worried. I

cleaned my sweaty feet on the piece of

carpet by the door and ran to Papa’s room,

“I’m here Sir”

Papa: “Take this” he gave me a yellow-black

nylon bag. “Wait! Take this, then go to your

mother’s room and try them on” he then

handed two more nylon bags to the one he

had given to me.

I ran with excitement to Mama’s room and

slowly loosened the nylon bags, I could not

dare tear the bags open; I knew he would

skin me alive if I did. Papa always saved

every carton or nylon bag given to him from

the supermarket; he believed they would be

useful some day in the future.

He had bought me a red suit and a pair of

sandals. The suit had a big collar like my

school uniform and it was a different size,

the hands were falling off, but I was very

happy, Papa bought my favourite colour

although the suit was so big the material

could be used to sew two suits for me. I

stood there, staring at Mama’s standing

mirror, I could smell her presence and

imagine her standing behind me and taking

the clothes back to Papa to tell him they

were not my size. I had missed her, I knelt

before the bed and cried, I cried even more

than the way I cried on the day of her

funeral. I knelt there crying when Papa’s

voice startled me,

Papa: “Shiber! What are you still doing

there? How many hours will it take you to

try it on?”

Me: “Sir!” I answered sharply

I did not pull off the over sized suit and the

over sized sandals, I wanted him to see how

it looked on me, making sure that I walked

in a way that will make him notice he had

made the wrong choice; I tip toed and

limped at the same time.

Papa: “Perfect! Sooo perfect! Do you know

that when I told the shop owner that you

were six years old, she screamed and said

this dress wasn’t going to be your size? I’m

an artist and a teacher, I know the right

thing to choose. This is so colourful, at least

you will still be able to put it on next year


Me: “Thank you, Sir” I knelt down on both

knees and showed appreciation

What else was I supposed to do? That was

the first time Papa would willingly buy a gift

for me. When Mama was alive, they would

argue for hours and make a lot of

calculations on his salary before getting a

very little amount to buy clothes for me; and

in cases where he bought the wrong sizes,

Mama would convince him to return them. I

had a feeling he would return the suit and

not get my size in return; so I pulled off the

suit, folded it like it was a treasure and kept

it in Mama’s box till Christmas day….


To be continued!


Hmmmm We are on the second episode already…


Will papa be able to bring up Shiber in the right way?

Will she be happy without her mother?

Should her father get married to another woman or bring in a relative to help bring up Shiber?

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