Playing with Fire 2

February 20, 2021


Every long holiday for him was spent
at the village since he clocked six
His father wanted his children to be
constructively engaged during the
long holidays and felt the attention
his parents would pay the children
would help them grow in wisdom and
His father’s mother
was a trader
His father’s father was a farmer
His father had four children
Two girls and two boys
Both his parents were working and
they didn’t have a maid
Leaving the children to their devices
during the holidays was a concern
for their parents
Idle hands usually lead to trouble
The last holiday they had before
the village trips began. the oldest
of them, 13 years old at the time
was caught by their mother hiding
in a wardrobe with one of the
neighbours children in the name
of playing “hide and seek”
Nothing untoward was going on
but a 14-year-old boy
and a 13-year-old girl sharing such
a small space was unhealthy
Their mother had always resisted
the village idea
She believed her children will
pick up local accent and lose
their proper English dictions but
she had to weigh the options after
that day and choose between
diction and teenage pregnancy
She was a teenager once too and
she could remember how curiosity
leads one down a path of no return.
That was how their yearly village
pilgrimage got rubber-stamped
Their village was a quiet one
The roads were tarred
They had electricity, their
had a proper television set and a
proper compound
His sisters slept in their grandmother’s
wing while he and his brother slept
in their grandfather’s wing
They went to the farm with their
grandfather in the mornings and
returned home in the afternoon
bearing firewood and they go
went hawking for their grandmother
in the evenings
The daily activities kept them occupied
as their parents expected
When they returned to the city after
the first holiday, their mother
discovered that they didn’t lose
their diction as she feared
because they were all together
They continued to speak English
among themselves while picking
up the Yoruba language gradually
by the side
This was a great advantage their
mother did not envisage and it
encouraged her to allow them to
go to the village for future holidays
The holiday they had in the village
was the highlight of the year for
It was usually from October to
January and they would spend
Christmas and New year before
returning to the city (This later
changed due to one government
policy or the other) but it made
the holidays full of pleasant
anticipations and fun
When he turned 12, a cousin from
Kaduna came to spend the holiday
with his grandparents
The cousin was fifteen years old
His name was Sunday
Sunday’s father was a chronic
womanizer and Sunday was going
through that stage as a young
man in which seeing a female’s
naked body was the most exciting
event of his day
Sunday devised a way to peep
through the bathroom from the
store beside it without being
detected and would disappear often
whenever a female tenant or even
his own female cousins were having
their bath
Sunday kept his secret to himself
and nobody
suspected him but the thing about
sin is its desire to expose its victims
After a while, Sunday got tired of
the usual sights living in his
grandfather’s compound
He could only see and not touch
and the sight which usually excited
him at one point stopped moving ‘
him over time
He needed a fresh sight, someone
not too related with whom he could
do the dark stuff his body was
whispering to him to do with the
nudeness he had been seeing
That particular year, some distant
cousins arrived at their compound
from Lagos
These cousins of theirs were the
grandchildren of their grandparent’s
Their house was on the same street
but further down the road
The usual practice when children
arrived for holidays was the greeting
Someone from the house will lead
the visitors to all the houses in the
compound to introduce and greet
those they met at home
Those they met at home will in
return send some edible food to the
house to welcome the guests and
later in the evening visit them to
welcome them properly
These distant cousins came visiting
and all Sunday saw was the nubile
bodies of the three young ladies that
The next morning after the morning
prayer, their grandfather called a
meeting and informed all the
children in his house to be careful
in their dealing with their distant
There had been some bad blood
between the families for some
generations and both households
are wary of opening old wounds
As a matter of courtesy, his
grandfather led all his grandchildren
to the distant cousin’s compound
to welcome the visitors on their
way to the farm the next morning
and the visit was quite a success
It took three week for everything
to explode!
Five days to Christmas, Sunday
suddenly came to his room one
morning and asked him to dress up
and come somewhere with him
Like a fool, he followed Sunday
through the back pathway to their
cousin’s house
When they got there, he found a
ladder by the wall
Sunday wanted to watch
the new ladies as they were having
their bath and he needed someone
to hold the ladder for him
It was exciting enough and he
agreed to do it
He held the ladder and Sunday
climbed directly over the bath-yard
to feed his eyes
Suddenly he felt a ‘wheeze as
something flew past him,
he looked to his left and saw a man
with a catapult
He left the ladder and ran as fast
as he could
Sunday, left hanging on the wall
jumped down and ran too
The ladder was left behind
They both sneaked into their
grandparent’s compound as if
nothing had happened
An hour later, the
man with the catapult arrived at
their house dragging the ladder
When he got to their compound,
the man called to his grandfather
in a loud voice and said he had
been robbed earlier that morning
and the ladder was the evidence
left behind by the thieves
They didn’t steal anything!
It was the worst Saturday morning
His grandfather didn’t know what
to do
There was bad blood between
both families and the peace between
them was more of tolerance
If he admits that his grandchildren
stole without any proof, he will be
conceding to a lie.
At the same time, he didn’t want
to dismiss the allegation without
at least satisfying the accuser
His grandfather told the accuser
to sit down
There are three boys in the house
Sunday, himself and his younger
brother who was 9 years old at
the time
The two of them were called out
accuser’s face lit up
The accuser fingered Sunday as
the thief and to him as the co-thief
His grandfather then asked what
was stolen
The accuser said he didn’t know
what was stolen because they
ran as soon as he sighted them
His grandfather turned to them
and asked them what they stole
He told the truth
They didn’t steal, Sunday only
wanted to watch ladies having
their bath and he had no idea that
was what he was being co-opted
into when Sunday came to wake
him up from the bed early that
It was a shameful day
The accuser had them where he
wanted them
His grandfather was livid
His grandfather walked into the
house and emerged with their
One for Sunday, and the other
for him
His grandfather announced that
the two of them would be leaving
his house with immediate effect
and would be punished severely
before being thrown out
His grandfather gave him 24 stokes
of the cane and Sunday also got
the same
The accuser was satisfied
His grandmother begged the accuser
to forgive the boys and as a gesture
of forgiveness, should prevail upon
his grandfather not to throw the
two of them out
The accuser had no option but to
plead on their behalf
They were not thrown out after all
The accuser had been fully satisfied
Later that evening his grandfather
called the two of them and said
“If i didn’t what I did this morning,
your accuser would have gone
diabolical and afflicted the two
of you in some way
The accuser has been spoiling for
a fight for a long time but he had
to let the matter rest because I
didn’t spare you.
Always remember that the wounds
of a friend are always better than
the whip of the wicked”

PS: He kept his distance from Sunday
till today
Evil company corrupts good manners
Better is the wound of a friend…


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