“How many times did I call you?”
Normally, this is a simple question. To a Nigerian kid however, it is a whole lot more. It tells you that you’re in for a long lecture or you’re about to be sent on an errand or you’re in trouble. The latter is the most likely.
These were the things running through little Tope’s head as Yeye (Grandma to those of you who don’t speak the language) asked him the question. He wondered what lecture she wanted to give him. Maybe another reason why he should never go to Iya Agbala’s shop to buy anything. She already said that Iya Agbala was a witch so any other reason would be an added bonus. After Yeye, witches were a close second in Tope’s list of “People/Things To Be Afraid Of”. The complete list was in his “Ghana must go” in the room and included a lot of things from Frogs to Mr Kola, the headmaster at school.
He wondered if it was an errand. Knowing Yeye she had probably finished her chewing gum and needed more. And that will mean going to Iya Walidi’s shop since Iya Agbala was out of the question. He groaned inwardly and said a few choice words under his breath. Going to Iya Walidi’s shop would mean forfeiting the interesting game of “Koso” that he was playing with Bolaji, Dapo and Chukwudi (yes Chukwudi. His family was the only Igbo one in the neighbourhood). He hoped it wasn’t an errand.
He also hoped he wasn’t in trouble. He could think of a hundred things he had done wrong at the moment. From flogging the neighbour’s dog mercilessly (the rascal chewed his slippers for God’s sake) to relieving himself in the bathtub. And also for beating up his classmate in school. Again, he had a reason. A really good reason. His friends had dared him. But Yeye wouldn’t care about that. She would beat the living daylight out of him for being a nuisance at school. He mentally prepared for the caning.
How many times did I call you? Aditi!
He jumped as he shook off the absent mindedness. “you called me “tiri” times Ma”. “Naughty boy. You’re playing Koso again abi?”. Tope smiled sheepishly. Yeye shook her head and sighed. “Anyway, let me tell you something I heard in the market this morning. This world is not a nice one o!”
Tope rolled his eyes. Lecture it was then.
Written By Joshua Nwabuikwu
Published By Great Opara