worlds apart


Now that you think about it, all you can remember are flashes of your growing up days, a new school bag here, a wound in the leg there, running to hide when you hear daddys car horn at the gate because you had been playing downstairs and he has warned you countless times to stop playing with those riff raff neighbors of yours…but come to think of it…you were a child…you were meant to play…all children have a right to play Diversion: (you know sometimes I think of it, in this country all those old men that call themselves senators and house of representative members and all that, all I see them do is make amendments to the constitution that was made by themselves and have sit-downs to appoint panels for offices that are very irrelevant. For example, you remember the vision 2010 committee that was formed sometime in 2001 or 2002? Where the hell are they now? If am not mistaken, wasn’t bode george one of the committee members….but apparently he is in jail at the moment….i really cant remember those who were on the committee because I don’t think it even lasted more than a year….Nigeria…..chai…)
All these flash backs are never totally complete, somehow you just cant seem to remember how those events started or ended, you are just sure they happened. One event that you can never forget though is the day that your aunty gbemi took you all to her church ‘deep in the redemption of souls word of life church’ where you and your sisters were taken to see the pastor after service. Some how you just cannot forget his pink suit with those shoes…..those shoes…Oh my goodness those shoes…..they looked like a cross between a boat, a ship and an alligator that was really disappointed. The image you get of this pastor rather reminds you of a pimp…you are not really sure if you are not just confusing the image of the pastor to the image of a pimp, anyway, you are very sure he had a pink suit and jerry curls. The first thing you remember him saying was that your neighbors the Okafors were witches and wizards and they were part of the cause of the imminent failure of your fathers business, and the delay of your mothers salaries at the primary school where she teaches social studies.
You remember your aunty rushing you all home and locking you in the room while she and your mother began throwing holy ghost bombs over the fence to the next compound and shooting fiery ‘weapons of our warfare’ AK47 submachine guns at the
Enemy. Shouting ALL MY ENEMIES SHOULD DIE…. The Okafors never really did die though, somehow I guess my family realized that they were just regular people living their regular life although they were rather noisy sometimes.
”Stanley….Take out the trash please” Your mum calls from the kitchen
Back then, you didn’t just take out the trash, you had to take it far away from the house to the nearest refuse dump which was close to the market about 3 streets away, you rather enjoyed this particular chore because you would call the neighbours kids and everybody would put their trash in the makeshift carts we had made out of wood with ball rings as tyres…..racing yourselves to the market refuse dump yard and back was your idea of high speed racing….like they say, when ‘desirable is not available, available becomes desirable’.
Growing up was rather fun to the best of your knowledge, watching your elder sister try on her first make up which was just lip-gloss, and having your aunty smack her head telling her to wipe it off because it was for sinners, now that you think of it, Aunty Gbemi uses some really heavy make up now o, well you guess time just changes people because aunty gbemi was someone who was against everything that is bible related or cannot be cross referenced in the bible. She was the same one that told you that the lipstick and eye pencils that women used back then were made by evil people who used these devices to lure unsuspecting victims to the evil world, infact lipsticks, she believed, were made from human blood while eye pencils were made from ground human hair……and there always came another round of holy ghost bombing and AK 47 shooting at the devil and his cohorts for inventing such evil things as make up.
You remember how your sister would come back from secondary school and then Cynthia (from the only neighbouring family we were allowed to mingle with) would come to her room and they would begin trying the latest dance steps infront of the mirror, that was how you learnt to do the butterfly, that was how you learnt to do the crazylegs, that was how you learnt to flex, just watching those two girls dance, nobody told you most of those dances were feminine steps you never knew, how would you know when you and your siblings were forbidden to go for parties, it was a sin, so it was never even mentioned unless aunty Gbemi would be called up to give you a speech on how parties were evil, and you didn’t like the idea of her numerous bombs on any of your friends. Bottom line: you never went for parties. Sometimes they had parties in your compound but you could only watch from your window and comment on how people were not getting those dance steps right.
You remember your first love, Jss2, she was in your church though, and you got talking somehow, you had known yourselves all through your lives but you talked to her for the first time when you were 13 in Jss2. as your love for yourselves waxed stronger, you were forced to resort to phone conversations which naturally ran up your parents bill like crazy, your mum kept wondering who kept on blowing up the bill and so she got a carpenter to make a jail looking box which allowed people to only receive calls. Dialing out was virtually impossible…..but not for you, because you had tiny hands back then and your hands could reach into the box and punch the numbers you had stored up in your brain….sometimes you would accidently punch in the wrong numbers since you couldn’t see what your hands were doing, you were punching by perception….anyway, at a point your mum noticed the bill was not reducing but she didn’t not get rid of the box still, she must have guessed that it was still okay to leave it there……
Back then, nothing said ‘I love my children’ more than taking them to apapa amusement park….you naturally always longed to go there but nobody really had the time to take you, dad was always traveling to some place or the other and mum had work and then meetings on Saturday, Sunday was a day of rest for both of them. Your only option was aunty Gbemi. She took you all there once and made sure you did not stay for more than one hour, she had this thing about mixing with the heathen, after you came back from the park nobody told you and your siblings to go to your room and pray for Gods forgiveness and cleansing of your soul if you had stained your spiritual white garments by associating with the heathen, you never prayed Bombs, Fire or Guns…infact, it made you and your siblings laugh anytime your aunty prayed that way, your parents also thought it was a rather funny way of praying too seeing the way aunty Gbemi would position her hands as if she was really shooting an AK-47 and start shouting..ge ge ge ge ge ge ge all of my enemies…ge ge ge ge ….DDDDIIIIIEEEEEEEE….ge ge ge ge ge ge ge, then she would detach the invicible pin to a holy Ghost bomb and throw it over her head to directions unknown, You personally thought aunty Gbemi had watched too many American movies since she moved to lagos from the village. She is your dads youngest sister but the contrast between both of them was WORLDS APART.

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