#FlashbackFriday Running Away From Home Got Us Into More Trouble Than I Imagined
0October 15, 2018By Dang
Last week, a video was posted on the Instagram page about kids who wanted to move out of their homes. Reminded me of when my brother and I attempted to move out. We were 10 and 7.
Mama travelled to the north to buy a vegetables so she could retail in Lagos and make some money. My sisters were in the boarding school which left my brother, dad and me at home. Dad was never a great cook, he made the meanest sandwich though which was all we ate most of the time mama was away. Oh, and beans, watery beans. We tried to pretend it was okay and would constantly ask daddy, “When is mummy coming back?”
Expertly turning butter and tuna with a sprinkle of salt, daddy would respond, “soon”.
My brother and I had a meeting and decided we Would tell dad how we felt about his cooking. We marched into the living room where dad was listening and singing along to Ebenezer Obey. I took the lead during this revolution. “Daddy, we are tired of eating only sandwich and beans. Please, can you cook something else?”
“Ye ye ye Africa
Ye ye ye Africa
Africa is my home…
I’m black and proud
I’m black and proud
I’ve travelled all over da sea
Allover da land
diaries no place like Africa to me”
Ebenezer Obey’s voice serenaded the revolution stage, but daddy had stopped singing along. Instead, he tapped his foot along to the beat but we soon noticed the rhythm of the song didn’t match his one-foot tap dance.
I instinctively stepped back.
“Do you have another father somewhere?” He asked. He was looking at me, why was he looking at just me, his eyes should have shifted from left to right but they were fixated on just me. I didn’t like that. I was beginning to feel funny.
“Ehn! Ife answer me now. Do you have another father elsewhere that can cook for you? I can see you’re ungrateful children. Oya ‘stu down’”
Daddy finally spoke.
After punishing us for speaking our minds, Chef watery beans made us say this three times: “Thank you daddy, for cooking for us. We’re grateful”. My brother and I decided that night to move out the next day which was a Saturday. We knew dad would normally be go to parties around 12 pm. When he was asleep, we packed our things into a black polythene bag, I had N20 stashed under the bed, money I made from dancing at parties. So I removed the money and put it inside the pillowcase so I wouldn’t forget. We were ready to escape, we were not about that life.
The next day, it was go time. We ate the sandwich with a knowing smile, the knowledge that Chef Watery beans would look for us and be upset and worried made me happy. As soon as he left the house, we went through the back door and walked to the bus stop. It was there we saw sisi-mi, our Margareth Tatcher Land lady. She looked around dramatically and asked, “Where are you going? Who is with you? Are you by yourself?” I responded boldly and with my chest out, “We’re running away to Isolo. We’re tired of living in that house and suffering.”
Sisi-mi’s laughter was loud, condescending and extremely annoying. “How much do you have?” She asked amidst laughter. “20 Naira,” I said proudly. Sisi mi laughed some more and said to us “You can’t go to Isolo with N20, come let’s go back home and I’ll add more money for you”
This seemed like a good idea, so we followed her back home. As soon as we entered the compound, I was shocked to see my dad’s white 504 packed in its space- below our flat. Sisi-mi then held my hand, rather than take us upstairs to her flat, she stood by the 504 and screamed…“Baba Bimbooooo. Baba Bimboooooo. Come and see your children that tried to run away o. Baba Bimboooooo” Wow! I tried to grab my hand from Sisi-mi’s grip but it was too tight and she wasn’t letting on. I looking up at her as tears began to pool in my eyes….”WHAT A BETRAYED!”
Never in my life have I felt such betrayal. I asked my brother to run but Sisi-mi grabbed his arm too. It didn’t take long before Chef watery beans appeared on the balcony, just like in India movies, he appeared slowly, like a boss. His legs spread apart, his fingers grabbed the railings in a tight hold. He finally looked down at us, then addressed Sisi-mi “Ekaaro Sisi-mi, e bo le ti ri awon omo yin? (Good morning Sisi-mi, where did you find YOUR children)” Sisi-mi narrated how she found us and slightly scolded daddy, “where were you when they were running away? Ehn?” “I went to pick their mother from Ayinke street. She was on the 11 am bus that arrives from Mile 12”Daddy responded, he still wasn’t paying us any mind. As if on cue, mum appeared behind him and I couldn’t have been happier.
My brother snatched his hand from Sisi-mi and ran upstairs, I was right behind him, finally, our real mother was home. We met her at the door and hugged her tightly but she pushed us away. Arms akimbo,she addressed me, ”You ran away and let your father and I worry about you? Ehn Ife? Didn’t you think we would be worried? I have been gone for days to struggle for this family and I come back but still no peace of mind? Do you want to kill me?” I felt terrible, then I became heartbroken when Dad stretched his hand behind mum and pulled my brother in then shut the door.
Okay! Errybody holup. I knew Chef watery beans was not my dad but how about my real mum? Why would she allow fake dad treat me this way? Tears flowed freely, I knocked the door desperately, calling only to my mum. No answer. I got tired of knocking so I laid by the door, with my belongings as my pillow. I must have slept off, because I woke up in my room the next day. My punishment for daring to run away? For one week, I got unexpected painful knocks on the head by mum, DAILY. I’d never see it coming so I’d gasp! Mum: [Disapproving snare] If I hear PIM!!