More than a rhyme
It must be a mighty big deal being a queen, isn’t it? You can’t smile when you want to because someone is there to record it. You can’t be in a molue laughing at the story about Mr. President’s last visit to the zoo, that time he ate all the bananas. You’ll never hear the story of how FIFA banned India because they beat Nigeria 99-0 using jazz. The ball always turned to a lion when the Indians shot it towards our goal. Our goalie ran for his dear life. Your instructors will tell you fabricated stories about Indians not playing soccer. You need to meet my dad! He’ll smash all their theories. I bet you never ran around naked in the rain and you never tied your mum’s wrapper on your neck, flying around like Superman. You also believe aeroplanes don’t throw down sacks of cash. You really need to meet Obiozor. an airplane threw him a sack of cash. That's why the village witches kept troubling him till he lost it all. You didn’t throw stones at a lizard or chase a chicken till you were out of breath. You were never chased by a stray ekuke dog. Sadly, you never wondered at the remote control. How did such a little thing have so much power over those large TVs? And you never shouted “oku NEPA” when electricity was restored, not knowing it was “UP NEPA” others shouted.
I wish I could remember the time I mixed garri and sugar then carried it around in my pockets, eating at intervals. Then there was the time I disgraced my class teacher. I wish I could remember it as well. I was fresh from the village and couldn’t speak a word in English. And here was my class teacher taking advantage of the little kids in my class. She actually claimed she knew everywhere. The naïve fools kept asking her about streets in Lagos. I was incensed. She didn’t know anywhere. When I could hold it no longer, I burst out in Igbo, “Aunty, i ma Ezi-igwe?” Ezi-igwe is the junction to my house in the village, more than 700 kilometers away. Those kids laughed me to scorn for being a bush boy, but I won. Aunty did not know Ezi-igwe! I was so scared of those kids. They spoke English as easily as I ate onugbu soup. And whenever I wanted to sit, they would draw the chair away and I would land flat on the ground. Sweet terror, it was Biodun that did that. My pain was that Wunmi laughed at me too. If I could remember those stories, I would share them with you. You really missed childhood. Did you ever marvel at iced water? How water ended up stone after hours in the freezer? I stopped taking my tea in the mornings when I discovered it. I kept it in the freezer. Then after school I had iced tea to lick! I’ll have to ask my Kaodili my big bro. I didn't know we were cousins then because I didn't know the meaning of cousin. If he remembers we’ll tell it all to you.
Did you ever dream of riding limos and living in big houses? Did you ever fly a kite, watching it till it was out of sight? Did you ever dream you were a kite? Did you ever pray for rain so you wouldn’t go to school the next day because you were sure the wicked French teacher would flog your buttocks red?
Did you ever dream of some things you couldn’t have because mum would never buy them for you? That’s the fun of childhood. You get to imagine. You create the things you can’t have. You just pretend you have them, then play with them and all is well.