Tears welled up in my eyes.
“Mummy nah? I called, kicking my legs in sheer anger.
“Leave me alone this boy! How many times will I buy sweet for you two? I don’t have money. And your sister is too small? Eh? I’ll tell your daddy when he comes back.”
I squalled. The thought of father did not frighten me so much.
“Oya!…” She bellowed.
I sniffled my cry before she finished her threats.
My 4years birthday was in a few days and mom had been spoiling me with sweets. Occasionally, she would refuse, but today? She seemed so troubled bent over her writing desk that even my 2years sister was left to be on the ground and play with me for so long.
A few minutes later, whimpering, I opened the door to go out. She cast one glance at me and started again, ”Chijioke! Where to?”
“To aunty Nneoma house”, I replied in my childish, still-developing voice.
“She will buy me sweet. She buys us sweet. And I’ll give Amanda” I threatened mother.
Amanda, my sister sprawled on the ground looking at me and looked ready to burst into crying the moment I closed the door without taking her with me.
“Okay. Go. Carry her. When you go there, she’ll make you wash your hands. Have you forgotten that you’re a dirty boy?” She threatened back.
Without responding, I carried my sister, half dropping her, out into the compound where aunty Nnenna lived.
I did not know aunty Nnenna’s age as a child, but now, I think she was in her middle or late twenties then. She liked to gather the children in the compound and buy us sweets. Her room was big and she demarcated half of it with a curtain. Her parlor was where we all stayed whenever we made our frequent visits. There was only a single cushion, a small glass table, the television, cd player, a small speaker, and stabilizer, in the parlor.
We were five children in the compound. Me, and Amanda. Blessing and Substance were siblings. Then there was Njideka, the most troublesome of us all. Her parents beat her a lot and she would always enter aunty Nnenna’s house.
There was only three of us in aunty Nnenna’s room today. Me, Amanda and Blessing.
I left Amanda on the ground as usual and we scurried to stay around aunty Nnenna on her cushion when she came out of the room.
“Do you want to watch TV?” She asked, smiling.
We nodded. In few minutes, Teletubbies were on the screen. Little Amanda was Yellow and I was green.
Amanda clapped her little hands and babbled in glee looking at me. I was happy, too.
“Now, go and wash your hands, I don’t want you being dirty? Hope you’ve bathed today?”
Blessing and I nodded vigorously and went out to wash in the bucket that had a fixed position under the zinc, so that rain always filled it when it came.
Hurrying, we ran back into the room.
Aunty Nnenna had removed her clothea. We knew what we were expected to do even though she always directed us; the four of us atleast.
We went up to her body and I started to touch her nipple. Her legs were stretched on the table. Blessing worked on the lower part of her body. We were about it for minutes when she shivered violently, slightly jerking Blessing. In few minutes more, we were done.
As Blessing was the taller of us at five years, she went out to buy the first set of sweets and biscuits. We ate while we watched the TV.
When aunty Nneoma emerged from the room minutes later, it was our turn to undress, and she touched our privates.
By evening, we left her house grinning from ear to ear. Amanda was slowly eating her biscuits, sad that we had to go. When we entered the room, mother scowled at us. Then she saw the delicacies Amanda held and saw that she was happy, she relaxed her own face.
As if struck by a realization, she turned to me and asked like she won a game against me, “you got sweets, but you washed your hands, dirty boy, didn’t you?”
© Ottih Onyedikachi