Hello wonderful people. How are you all doing today? Please, do forgive me for the very long silence which I have decided to break at the moment! A big thank you to all those who checked up on me. I’m grateful. What have you been up to lately? As for me, it’s been weeks of preparation for the Kashim Ibrahim fellowship’s Community Service Project on sensitizing the public on dangers of Hepatitis B, to which I will publish a detailed article later. Also the fellowship is coming to an end and a lot of things are going on. However, I am here with the 6th Chapter of Wake Up! I know you have missed it. Please, enjoy!

In the previous chapter, we saw Oviyon’s misbehavior – keeping his own toy safe, only to play with Mautin’s, to the point of destroying it deliberately. I wish I could make a list of names that suit Oviyon quite well. He is just some ill-mannered child, who doesn’t know what is wrong from what is right!

The part that hurts the most is the sort of encouragement he gets – one that a multi-talented child cannot boast of. He is made to get away with so many things even when it’s obviously erroneous.

Back on Track

So, I was in the kitchen when I suddenly heard a thud just outside the sitting room and Mautin was screaming on top of her very tiny voice – showing so much pain and anguish, the way the spirit of ‘lastbornism’ orders the younger siblings to cry when hit. The irony in Mautin’s case is that she is the older one but Oviyon will not let her be. I ran out of the kitchen with my semo stained hands.

Behold! scattered all around, on the floor is Mautin’s toy, broken into tiny pieces with a stone by Oviyon. I was moved with fury

“Oviyon! Why?” I asked,
She won’t allow me play with it” he replied bravely, breathing heavily.

I was so furious and even more so by the ‘what can you do’ face he was wearing and looking me in the face. For a moment, I forgot my hands were semo-paste-stained, I just wanted to knock the nastiness out of an unruly brat and I did. I gave him a corrective slap at the back and two others on his buttocks. All the while, he didn’t cry.

He struggled for some time, grumbling as I beat him some more. He tried to curl around my hands like an octopus’ tentacles will behave around its prey, but I shook him off.

Just then, I heard my aunt’s voice screaming through the gate.
“Kilo n’sele?” Yoruba for what’s going on?

Oviyon started crying profusely which triggered my aunt to start running towards us and I became confused on what next to do. So, I stood there moving my gaze from angry mother-hen to her chicks and back to her.

“Ah! Feranmi, do you want to have him killed?” She said, running towards me like an uncontrollable trailer.
“Look at what you’ve done. Oviyon come over here”, she said panting and checking for what I don’t know
“Why did you hit him so hard ehn?”
“He broke my toy” Mautin started crying
“And so? Is he not your brother?”

I stood confused and guilty at the same time. I felt the need to explain exactly what had happened, so she doesn’t get the wrong message, but I was also peeved that my aunt behaved in that manner. She should have listened to me other than behave in such a way.

Whatever was in her head made her move in hastily with Oviyon and Mautin. She brought out her phone and took pictures of Oviyon with semo particles all over him.

“Your father needs to see you like this. To think I saw the way your hand moved, and I didn’t know it would land on my son’s face”.

“Anty, it was on his back. Besides, he deserves it”
“When you have your own child, then, come back and repeat this useless statement”

She went on and on about the evil I have done, just then, we heard 3 quick honks from my uncle’s car at the gate. I moved out to sweep away the broken pieces of Mautin’s toy before it hurts someone. The gate-man looked at my uncle with thousands of words unspoken as my uncle drove into the compound and got out of his car with his usual aura and freshness of breath.

“Feranmi! You are never tired of working. Well-done”
“Welcome sir” I said without raising my head from its downward position

“Are you okay?”
“She better be okay” my aunt replied before I could utter a word. She was standing by the door
My uncle just laughed and walked in with his hands around his wife’s shoulders, “what is it my darling?”

“Oviyon, come here”. My aunt screamed. Oviyon grudgingly walked into the sitting room from the children’s room.

“Place your hand on Oviyon, is he not hot?. She said to my uncle.
“Not really! What is it?”
“This wasn’t his temperature in the morning when I left for the salon”

“What has happened”
“It’s Feranmi. She hit him so hard that it could have been worse if I hadn’t intervened.”
“I’m sure she was only trying to correct him for one thing or the other.”

“Okay o. Can a child take care of a child ehn?”
“But Feranmi does that effortlessly. She is not a child”
“Someone who doesn’t care to buy even the least things for the kids”

“But she got them a toy each”
“For which she has a reason to beat them silly” she snapped
“She’s doing a lot for us, Please, don’t be upset because of this. I’m sure the kids must have forgiven her” he said, wrapping his hands around her and swinging from right to left.

“No! we have not!” echoed, Oviyon.
“Yes, we have. She won’t tell you stories tonight” Mautin reminds him
“Mummy will tell me pleeeeeeeenty stories”
“Keep quiet my friend. I have told you never to interrupt elders” My uncle said, freeing my aunt from his grip and settling on one of the couches. “Feranmi, a bottle of water please”.

“Sorry daddy” I heard Mautin say. I moved swiftly to get him water, I have been aching to do something.

“I actually don’t know what Feranmi has done for us o. when I was growing up with my uncles, I worked like a slave and not for once did anyone tell me thank you”. She said as I walked away.

“It’s another era baby. Come sit here” he persuaded and hit the couch in demonstration
At this time Oviyon is holding on to her mum’s hands and beckoning on Mautin who is now seated far away from them all. I had just returned with the bottle of water to hear them talk with serious faces.

“Maybe she needs to return anyways” My aunt said with an obvious strain of irritation

“Yes, she will” My uncle replied angrily and walked in to the room without the water he sent for.

For the first time, I couldn’t find the smile I once thought was a permanent resident on my uncle’s face.

Will Feranmi return home? find out in the next chapter

Thanks for reading…

Author

Rebecca Maulome Padonu is an enthusiastic writer with a soft spot for factions. A RubyWrites 2016 finalist. She has completed several freelance writing projects, including BBC Media Action’s Drama series, Story Story (series 32 & 33).

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