She ran like hell out of the house, she dashed herself to the ground, it’s been a long time since she had rubbed her hair with the soil, maybe since when Kofo had left her to survive this cruel world alone, it’s a family of three, she was the first, Kofo was the second, and Tope was the third, her mum always told her why she has to have siblings from different tribes, her dad married three wives, and one from Ghana, the mother of Kofo, and one from Osun state, Nigeria, the mother of Tope (the recently deceased), only her mum had stayed with their dad, but no one would know the difference.
The last time she saw Tope, he was running down the stream, he was only 10, a dark boy with blue colored eyes, the villagers admired him for his beauty, it was unusual for a child born in a western region in Nigeria to be as pretty as a kid raised abroad, he walked briskly whenever he was angry, and very slowly when he wished he could go down to the stream to swim, Kofo was 10 when she died, and that was two years ago, she had asked her night before her demise never to leave, and she gave me her crushing smile, and said, “….I promise ….” Those were her words before she drifted away to the land of the return, she stood beside her bed in the morning, and tried to woke her up, she wouldn’t wake up, she turned her but her body was stiffened, those were two years ago.
Now, Tope had done the same thing, he had smiled and told her he was going to the river, it was the popular river not far from the market square, he wore only his playing pants, and went along with friends, that was the last memory she had of him, of him drunk with life, of him who has had enough of life, how would I parade the village without people whispering about the cuteness of my little bro? Who would I beckon to if the maidens in the village talk about beauty? If my waterpot broke on the way from the stream, who would explain to mama? She could feel her bones breaking within, and hotness accompanying it, like when a hot cooking pot is placed beside a hot skin in a sunny room, she hated most the wailings of the paid mourners, not everyone liked Tope, even with his beauty, he had enemies too, and those who crowded her house weren’t lovers and they couldn’t be haters too, ‘who could they be?’ she wondered, he had always been segregated, people scorned him because he has a fair skin, most igbos called him ‘Ogbanje’ and the yorubas called him ‘Iwin’ he hated it, and it always made him feel rejected, she couldn’t inspire him more, but rather believed in his promise, that he’s not going to feel rejected anymore, until she found him at the bottom of the river.