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All that was two years ago . . .

Today, my bed was all soaked. Not from pee but from sweat. I mean, why should a grown woman like me wet her bed with pee? Scoffs. It was that dream; that nightmare. that recurring horror that wouldn’t just leave me be. Switching the lamp on, the bedside clock read 4.33am. Sigh. I got up from my bed, rubbing my temple, trying to soothe this throbbing headache. But it wouldn’t listen. Life was one hell of a ride for even I, for whom it should have been perfect. I decided a bath would be the best option at this time to escape, even if momentarily. As I entered the bathroom, I felt something slither past me. I screamed and jumped but and hit my ear against the tap of the shower but saw nothing.

“Damn”, I muttered angrily.

I really did not know why I felt this way, so antsy and on edge. I managed to get my mind off it and settled to bathe. The ravens has started cawing. . . wait, do ravens caw so early in the morning?

“Jay, this is all in your head”. I managed to hold on to my sanity for an instant and just bathe. Wringing my wet hair, I decided not to go back to bed lest it came again; the dreams terrifying and horrible. Besides, it was morning already.

I stepped into the kitchen to make breakfast for everyone. The heater in the bathroom was faulty and that meant I had to boil water for everyone’s bath too. As I did that, mom called out…

“Juu, it’s toast bread for breakfast o. Toast two loaves for each!”

“But mom, I have to leave by 6. I’ve got class by 8!”

“Just toast the loaves and don’t be a fool.”
“Yes mom, toast bread coming way up.” And just like that, I knew for certain that my first class for the day was out of the window.

It was 8.37am when I could finally leave. I had to make breakfast, heat up everyone’s water for bath, polish the shoes of every human in the house, serve breakfast and make ready baby brother for school. And I wasn’t even a mother yet. I wasn’t the only child in the house. With three younger siblings and two cousins way above 10, this morning might have been easier. But no. I should be the one to do everything because I was the eldest and they needed things done perfectly. Hiss. I should run away some day soon. I could feel my bag vibrate. A call?

“Not this morning!” I took the phone out anyway. It was Daphne.

“Hey, Daph, wassup?”

“Where’s your ass? There’s a practical by 8. Attendance is compulsory. Could even reflect as continuous assessment.”

“Shoot me, I just left home”. I knew I was done for. There was no way I could get to school before 10, even if traffic was topnotch.

Embittered, I bit my upper lip, I couldn’t tell at this point if I was jaded or angry or both. I had to do something, and I had to do whatever it was, really fast. This was the forth time I was missing a practical in the month and it wasn’t even 14 yet.  Crossing over to the other side of the road, I flagged down  a bus.

“Central”

“150”

“100?”

“Enter madam, this early morning and you dey price”.

I got into the bus, staring at my dusty shoes; blue, made brown by the dust from the earthy road I had to walk down on. It was 11 when I got to school, just one minute deficit. I rang up Daph who came over.

“Hey… You’re so punctual. You’re so lucky the practical was put off till 2pm.”

“My chi loves me, I managed to smile. Want to talk over coffee? It came again.”

“Oh my,” Daph exclaimed, “I’m so sorry, baby”. I laughed and hugged her, perhaps to save the ripping apart of my soul, pitying myself more than the she pitied me.

” Shall we?” I asked to cut this would drama short.

“Yeah, sure” she smiled at me, but heaven knows I really needed to talk.

© I_am_Lee 2017

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