Your friends, acquaintances, people, will do something and get away with it. Or they’ll do a business and it’ll work. Then one of them will urge you to join. But the very moment you do, the universe will recognise your DNA and you’ll either get caught or that business will folds up.
Who here has experienced that phenomenon?
I have. For me, once its unethical or illegal, I’ll get caught. So-and-So and his entire family will do it and get away with it. The moment this daughter of Ette attempts to join them, everything will scatter.
The first time it happened, I was in Primary 3. I was part of a clique and one of our friends suggested that we go to the house of a fellow classmate, Olushola, to drink cold water. The suggestion didn’t make any sense for many reasons. First, ice water was sold in the school. Secondly, per my upbringing, taking food from strangers was a solid no-no, the penalty being death by my mother’s koboko. Not to mention that though the house was nearby, the possibility of returning before the break was over, was slim. Lastly, what if we were caught?
I thought of all these things. But my village people, having somehow acquired an original copy of my passport, had photocopied, and distributed it as hand fans at the village square meeting. Ergo, I did not have a choice. I allowed myself to be convinced that all would go well. So, when that bell rang, we ran out of the class, scurried across the playground, and slipped through a hole in the back fence.
I cannot describe how fast my heart beat as the five of us meandered through the streets to Shola’s house. With each step, my act of truancy made less and less sense. The looks from the adults we passed, were enough to give me a heart attack. You see, I was born in the days when the grownups caught truants and took them home or back to school to face their punishments.
At last, we arrived at Shola’s house, and I managed to sip a mouthful of cold water. That done, I was in a hurry to return to school.
“Eketi, stop worrying. We’ll make it back in time,” said Linda.
Another girl, whose name I can’t remember, told me to relax; that they’d done it before and nothing had gone wrong. When everyone had drunk, we began our journey back. As before, one after the other, we went through the hole—I was in front.
When we got to the playground, it was empty. Everywhere was quiet. Break was over and everyone was back in class.
Hay God of my progenitors!
I nearly wet my pants! Because, based on the school’s layout,the playground was in front of the staff room and principal’s office. There was no way on this green earth that five girls were going to pass by that block and not be questioned. Automatic tears filled my eyes.
Just then, without warning, the French teacher, Mr Edet, materialized beside us. He’d just finished his lesson in a nearby block of classrooms reserved for Primary 5 pupils. We had nowhere to run to or time to hide. I stood there petrified, while my heart beat a rhythm that sounded like, “Kuku kill me…kuku kill me…”
What happened that afternoon eh…to be continued.