19th August, 2016 Writers

Let me tell you about the good old days when we would pick up our pen from the basket of love,copy and paste love song lyrics on perfumed coloured papers, fold them neatly and keep for weeks in our school bag for fear of being served a hot plate of insult and rejection from our crush.  Those days when older siblings assumed the position of private detectives each time you failed to cover up for their mistakes. The way they ransacked wardrobes and school bags in search of what I'm still yet to figure out left me wishing a fairy could cast a 'grow up immediately' spell on me so I could teach them a lesson.

Remember days when girls learnt to cook with empty tin and smuggled ingredients; mostly from mummy's kitchen. Aisha was always the mother cause she was taller and fatter than the rest of us. Bola would be the eldest child and me, I was always the last child of the family; the cleaner after every imaginary meal. My supposed father, Richard and the only boy in the Richard's family, Junior would make kites for as long as it takes before 'mama' calls out to them for lunch.

Life was just a wind. We could not tell what would happen next; there was nothing to worry about. The adults were already assigned that duty. We built sand castles, owned luxurious mansions and expensive cars;usually the ones that passed by the streets and we lay claim to them while pointing joyfully as though the car had our name on the plate number. Our job was simple. Wake up, bath, eat, thank, ask, receive(not minding how it is provided),play, eat,eat again,bath and sleep.

Puberty came around; that party pooper. Her arrival opened our eyes to the fact that we were of opposite sex and had no business playing together. We felt ashamed talking to the boys we once called 'daddy' and 'brother' while playing ' One Big Family'. Parents came up with stories of how all the boys had gone bad. They soiled their hands with evil so at the touch of our maturing skin by any of them, we would get pregnant. In the words of Mama Ifeoma, "you go carry belle"(in Nigerian pidgin English). Girls began the journey to womanhood and boys to manhood. It took us far away from the friendship we once shared. Men would announce continually,"its a man's world". In retaliation, we would turn around, blink our eyes like interrupted power supply, push our lips forward(what we now call pouting when posing for the camera), hiss for as long as we can and echo together like a church choir "what a man can do, a woman can do better".

Soon we grew bigger than we were twenty years ago. Some friends have gone forever, some migrated to lands flowing with milk and honey and some just didn't grow taller in height or bigger in size. I think I fit perfectly into the second class. Times have changed but memories as precious as my childhood will never fade. It keeps me going when I'm almost throwing in the towel especially when I remember that we might meet again at a reunion by the end of a very good year.

So, just in case you dumped your childhood memories somewhere in the 'don't recall' part of your mind, do yourself and the world a favour. Take a walk down memory lane, view old pictures of you and those boys that turned men, those girls that turned women, reminisce on the pranks and games you played. They'll get rid of the constant 'adult problem' you're facing. I mean, even heaven can only be assessed by folks with the heart of a child.

Abuja, Nigeria
  • Some memories are to be cherished and shared not boxed up somewhere in our busy lives.

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