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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

I Believe I can Fly

 I found this in my drafts from July 2011.

The month of December has always been special for school children: No early wake ups to head to school for a month; frequent visits and endless parties. The prospect of spending Boxing Day unwrapping the numerous gifts from Uncles, Aunties, Grandparents and parents was quite alluring. These were the things you lived for.

My Mother worked a 9-5 as a Senior Manger with an Insurance company in the middle of Marina, Lagos's equivalent of Wall Street. Every morning, she'll drop my younger brother and I, househelp in tow at her parent's home in nearby Ikoyi and then pick us on her way back. I had no qualms with spending the day at my Grandma's. Her friends usually came around and they were really generous, handing me crisp Naira bills under the guise of "Take and buy sweet or Coke". Moreover, the house was very big. It had housed one of Nigeria's colonial masters and even had a chimney in it. The lawn also appealed to my obsession with football. When Grandma attended to her guests, I wouldn't hesitate to change the Channel from the CNN it was usually stationed on to my favoured Cartoon Network. And when she was done with them and returned to her customary position in the sitting room upstairs, the TV would find its way back to CNN. That would serve as my cue that it was time to move to the backyard to watch the latest Nollywood blockbuster (It wasn't known as Nollywood yet) with the domestic staff made up of maids, cooks and security guard whilst waiting for my Mother to make her return.

This summed up the daily routine of the days spent at my grandparent's. On this particular day, Grandma had come back from attending to her guests and scolded me for sitting in her favourite chair. I should have known better, I had never seen anyone else in it. Not even Grandpa.I wasn't happy at being shouted at. I remembered  Uncle Friday had said earlier that he had made some Indomie for me. I wasn't quite hungry but I knew I would be met with the "Do you know how many children want to eat but don't have food? You better be grateful for the one you have" speech. Nigerian children don't tend to have the luxury of making their own choices. They're done for you.

I was tired. As I proceeded sluggishly to the dining room. I bid my time at the top of the stairs. I started singing "I believe I can fly.  I believe I can touch the sky. I think about it every night and day. Spread my wings and fly away". It was only a matter of time. I took the words of the song literally. My stay at the top of the stairs had turned into a Pilot's experience. My feet had left the floor, I was making my grand escape from my Grandmother's and heading to my Father's office where a Royal Reception would welcome me. Bank Olemoh designer rice and all things good. Bang! I hit my head on the door. That was my reality check. I picked myself up and made my way to the kitchen to collect the meal that awaited me. "What happened to you? Why are you bleeding?". And then I told Uncle Friday what had happened. I added "Don't tell Grandmama". He didn't waste any time.I was taken to her room to hear her screaming "Omo yii. O ni pa mi". And with that, I learnt a lesson. I couldn't fly. A lesson, my uncle Muyiwa had learnt years before after trying to replicate Spider man's moves from the top of the stairs. Like him, I would live with a scar on my forehead as reminder.

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