Breathing in the dust filled air, it was obvious what time of the year it was. The particles tickled the inner surface of my nose, leaving a familiar discomfort. It didn’t matter anymore. I was going home. Far away from school.
After the ups and down, a roller-coaster this term had been. I couldn’t wait to pull off my distress coat and coil in the comfort of my extra soft blanket. The way they licked on my feet as I slept. I would never forget.
The driver beside me was quiet, I didn’t notice before as I was so eager to wave off the memories of these cages of hell, they call school.
I turned to take a last look at the blue school gate. I didn’t know why but It felt like I would miss it.
Nobody misses my school, maybe the military men that leaped with eagerness to redden our asses every morning of every day, for obvious reasons they would. But nonetheless nobody did.
The wind raising the dust and making it fall in new places all around the gates of my school, seemed to be waving at me.
Nonsense, I thought.
The car pulled up in the estate and as always it was quiet. The driver pulled out all of my luggage and went in with them. I looked around waiting for my younger sister, to run happily towards me. I was waiting for her to jump on me trusting me that I would catch her midair but she didn’t come out. I went in and dear god, there was light. At least the government had kept their part of the deal, on electricity that as long as we paid our bill, they would always be light.
I went into the kitchen and my mum on seeing me, rose to give me a warm hug. I took note of the kitchen, a blanket of dust had covered the surface and it also looked smaller that meant I had grown. Nada would be happy.
Mum was pounding the cocoyam herself.
“Where is Nada?” I asked.
“She has gone to see her mother in the village” she said her eyes averted.
“I see,” I said smiling.
“And mama?” I asked.
“She will soon be back from school. Your father went to pick her. Go and shower before you eat. I thought the food would be ready before you were back, sorry my child. Rest before you eat, oh.”
Her whole countenance down with worry, I planted a soft kiss on her cheek.
“It’s okay mum I am not that hungry,” I lied.
The rail of the stairs were dusty, every corner seeming untidy. This was why we needed Nada at home. Sweet, fine Nada. My three weeks break would be incomplete without her, but why did she leave so early. I wondered if she was fine.
I would ask, my sister Mama. Mama knows everything, she is only five and looks like she doesn’t know much. But she does. She knows how I feel about Nada, and she convinced me not to tell her. That I was too young, to have a family. Mama was cute and naïve. Nada and I already did far worse things than married people.
She thought me how to be a man. I could talk when my mates in school were talking. It was good.
I took the opportunity to play my video game downstairs, I was done reading for WAEC. During the holidays, it was all fun and games. I did the things I couldn’t do at school.
Her fat chubby skin pressed into my back and she pressed her small firm hands over my eyes.
“Guess who? Kene Guess?” her tiny voice giggled.
“Mama… mama,” I repeated.
I turned around giving her a hug. She was the best part of me.
“Where is Nada?” I asked.
The firm pout on her lips, made me worry, that meant my gut was right.
“Is Nada Okay? “I asked.
“Kene, you’re in trouble. Daddy is angry with you,” she said with a serious look.
“Why, Mama? Is Nada Okay?”
“I should be asking you.” the firm voice from behind, my Father.
I hurriedly stood. My extremes cold, I was suddenly sweating.
“What went wrong?” I asked in my head.
“Nada is pregnant with your child,” my father said coldly.
“Father, No is not mine. It’s not mine.” I didn’t realize how much I repeated that until the head of his belt landed on my forehead. Making me land on the floor.
“If you did wrong, the least you could do is own up,” he scolded.
Mama was already in tears her soft sobs drowning me. Father pulled me away from the floor. The pool of blood leaked under the table.
“Look at me, Look at me son,” he said.
I looked into his rigid, cold eyes and he said “You’re a Father now, you’ve got to act like one.”
I still went back to school, I still had jovial friends, but a lot had changed in me because I had a child, and once you have a child, you are no more a child. I jumped dozens of steps in my life. I grew too quickly.
While everyone else was happy about growing a beard, I was worried about my child. I was a grown man, beard or no beard.