The tragedy Episode 2

Episode 2
Almost One year gone and it seemed like
Mama had only gone for three days. I was
alre-ady in primary Two, even though the
most intelligent in clas-s, I still did not feel
complete. I nee-ded Mama to be alive to
prepare the meals I enjoyed while she was
alive, to sponge-bathe me so ha-rd like she
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 h0t charcoal to prepare during
our pl@yhours.
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 st©pped
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 ma-king profits, but Papa did not
care about the profits, he cared more about
my academics.
According to what I heard, Papa c@m£ from
a polygamous family. His dad had married so
many wives from different cultural
backgrounds, in fact, his grandfather was
known to be the riche-st 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
bec@m£ educated and expo-sed, 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
plea-se 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 br@very, but
waited for the revenge from Grandpa. Days
pas-sed 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 s£nd her away. Rumour went
round that Chief Inimgba had s£nt 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 celebr@tion. 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 quic-kly 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 ha-rd , 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 loos£ned 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 pres£nce 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 be-d 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 pu-ll off the over sized suit and the
over sized sandals, I wanted him to see how
it looked on me, ma-king sure that I walked
in a way that will make him notice he had
made the wrong choice; I ti-p 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 pu-ll-ed 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 alre-ady…
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?