Growing up with a strict typical African parent is a rare experience only those who had don the regalia can testify. Amongst many of these experiences was one I won't forgive myself for being very foolish.
Before we ride the unanticipated tide of humor, I will like to know who initiated that facial expression every typical African parent do carry when a family friend is offering us food. I need to know what he was thinking when he expected little kids to read minds by mere looking at the faces.
In those days, I don't know for now because parents are now unnecessarily being nonchalant with last borns. During the old strict days, once a visitor is being offered food, one was expected to immediately vacate that place or not look their direction until they are done eating. But your favourite seems to always be the most favoured.
On this day, one of my cousins was celebrating his birthday. And as expected, there were lots to eat and drink. Relatives and family friends were in attendance too.
There is this old saying, it origin I know not of. But it has always proven to be true many times in my childhood days. Perhaps, this day was amongst of them.
The saying goes thus; "When punishment beacon on you from a distant land, one will take a loan to go get it". I don't know who propounded this, but that person must have thought well or probably being a victim like myself.
Innocently, I was outside playing while the celebration last. All of a sudden, I got summoned by this strange urge to go inside where the main function was taking place. Unknown to me that my destiny had been waiting patiently to feed me with it's bad.
Immediately I stepped inside, one of my dad's friend offered me his remaining drink as though he had been expecting me.
Before I proceed, I will like to quickly race you down the memory lane.
Unlike nowadays, in those days, as cheap as carbonated drinks were, it wasn't easy to come by. Apart from when bedridden, only celebrations like this could call for such. Indomie generation shouldn't bother to ask why. It was just like that.
Those days, the king among drinks after 5alive was believed to be Malt. Malt was highly regarded among it kinds. And guess what? That was what your favourite was being offered. Yes, it was a bottle of Malt. [Temptation of the first order. When last did I taste malt?]
Trust me, If you were to walk in my shoes, despite the strong warning not to take food from strangers, you won't give a straight NO! for this particular bottle of malt whose body was engulfed with that typical chilly dew of iciness.
First of all, I circled my eyes around in search for my dad who was also in the room to get a clue of his reaction. But he seems to be engrossed in what he was doing. Atleast, so I had thought. Then, I angle them back to the bottle of malt without tilting my head. Omor, this thing cold o. Chai!
C'mon, you need to think well.
But come to think about it; my parent only said we shouldn't take FOOD from stranger and not DRINKS. Then, I gasped in amazement appreciating my wise thought.
Meanwhile, It's better being careful than sorry, I looked out for my dad with one eye to be sure he wasn't watching before throwing this stunt of mine. And when the coast was clear, I swiftly reached for it.
"Thank you!" I said while still adopting my eagle eye to keep watch on my dad. All these happened in seconds.
I was about taking the first gulp when the corner of my eyes met with my dad's. His eye read a meaning I needed no soothsayer to tell. I just hang on there, confused on whether to proceed to drinking it or return it to the rightful owner who was now being carried away by a conversation which seems to come with lot of humour.
The worst part was, my dad never said anything, he just stared mysteriously at me for a while and then looked away. Allowing me to wallow in contemplation. It was obvious I was going to face his wrath sooner or later.
With my pale face, I resorted to drinking it nonetheless. I will be needing the energy after all.
Even the malt turned tasteless as I began to sweat profusely.
30 minutes later.
My infant mind had thought my crime was long forgotten. But, I was only painting myself blind.
"Muhammed!!!" He called from outside.
Innocently, I responded and ran to obey his call.
Reality dawned on me when I was being led to a more remote place within the compound where it will take only miracle for my cry to be heard.
And then. . . Lemme stop speaking grammar.
As we reach dere eh, popsy con ask me; weytin I tell you make you dey talk when person give you food?
"You say make I talk say I no dey chop say I don bellefu. But . .but. . . no be food I collect na malt" I managed to say as premature tears sneaked out of my eyes in pity.
"Owh! Na malt bah?"
Too much talk no dey full basket. D kind beating wey I chop dat day bah, I swear, the malt no worth am. The worst part be say, Dem no born me well run. That one go turn prosecution.
When this man was done beating the mumu-ness out of me, he proceeded to asking me the most unpopular question;
"What did I do to you?"
"Nothing" I replied. [After you beat me finish fah? Kai, I go born pikin too]
Until your good is better and your better is best you should never quit; for I believe there's always a star within every soul waiting to shine bright. After all, in the end we will be glad for the fact that we have tried.
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