Never again

Never again

I was born in an age of intimidation.
24th September, 1979 was the date and there was nothing special about it.
I was the 5th child.
I was 7 years younger than my closest sibling.
Our dining table had six seats: two for daddy and mummy and 4 for the
other children.
I got the message…life was a struggle.

Apart from being born under such intimidating circumstances, my naming
ceremony also fell on October 1, an important date in Nigeria’s
history.
It was Nigeria’s 19th Independence Anniversary.
It was the advent of the 2nd Republic.
It was the swearing-in ceremony of Nigeria first executive President,
Alhaji Shehu Shagari.

Once again, I was overshadowed.

Because of the frenzy surrounding the Independence Day and Swearing-In
celebrations, my naming ceremony was fixed early in the morning so
they could have time to celebrate this national holiday.

This was an oil boom year; surplus was everywhere.

Cars were cheap.
The exchange rate was almost at par.
We didn’t need visas to travel to the UK.
A carton of peak milk sold for N30.

And beer was cheap.

My naming ceremony started at 6am sharp.
It was going to be a small do, featuring relatives, church members and
a few neigbours.
It was going to be prompt.
In the spirit of speed;
They read from John 11: 35, the shortest verve in the bible.
They left the TV on so they could catch a peek of the ceremonial
proceedings while my naming was going on.
They gave me just one name; two if my surname was included.

By 6:30am, it was over.
What could be more intimidating?
The ceremony happened so quickly that the guests didn’t even get to see me.
Intent on according me some honour, my parents asked each guest to
peek into my cot, shake my hands and welcome me into the world in
their own special way.

Finally, I had attention.
They came.
A family member here
A neigbour there

Some shook my tiny fingers.
Others dropped money.

Then the unexpected happened.

There was a gentleman.
He reached down into my cot.
Something wasn’t quite right about him.
His eyes were red.
His face was swollen.
His smelt of booze.

He must have been drunk.

He opened his mouth over my cot like a dark cloud on sunny day.

Maybe he wanted to welcome me
Maybe he wanted to shake me.

Whatever his intentions were, he didn’t say.

I inhaled.
And inhaled.
I inhaled enough alcohol to keep me eternally inebriated.

In just 8 days of being alive, I had had my share of intimidation.

I was determined not to let this trend continue.

I reached out with my tiny hands and pinched his face with my 8 day
old finger nails.

He screamed!
He got the point.

When my mother asked him what had happened
He said ‘I was trying to tell him Happy Independence Day’

For once in my 8 days of existence, I felt truly free.



15 thoughts on “Never again” by Dipo Adesida (@dipoadesida)

  1. I liked the first person narration by the baby; however, I’m not too thrilled by the ending of the piece. I don’t know what “freedom” the baby is really refering too. The baby seems to have everything at his feet: a big party, a booming economy, people celebrating his birth. I just didn’t get the end. May be I should read it again. But good job though.

  2. Thanks for the comment.

    Everything good seemed to be good on the outside, but the baby felt overshadowed.

    Baby wanted attention.
    Baby didn’t get attention.
    Baby struck back.

  3. okay… I see, I sort of figured that out. I know this is fiction, but don’t you think the baby comes across as self-centered? ;P

  4. Lol. Babies are always self centered! Its built into their innocent nature.
    Lovely story.

  5. I LOVE THIS STORY…IT KINDA READS LIKE POETRY…PROBABLY BECAUSE OF THE PARAGRAPHING…BUT I LIKE.

    TRUE THAT LADE…BABIES RULED BY THE ID…THE SEAT OF SELF-GRATIFICATION OF HUMANS..THAT MAKES THEM ONLY CARE ABOUT THE IMMEDIATE GRATIFICATION OF THEIR DESIRES…SO BABIES ARE SO SELF-CENTERED!!!!!

    NICE ONE.

  6. Mazi Nwonwu (@Fredrick-chiagozie-Nwonwu)

    Nice one, the narrative style took some getting used to – didn’t know why you set it up in verses – but the story is classic.

  7. I appreciate. Please remember to vote and share.
    Thanks.

  8. Cool. Nice concept as regards the style.

    is it Non-Fiction? reads like one.

  9. Only 8.2% is fact.

  10. Sounds like a poetic diary. free flow of verses. are these details real or imagined?

  11. 8.2% is fact. The rest if fiction. I just wrote it as I thought.

  12. Nice one Dipo; liked it.
    In your words, “I get the point.”lol

  13. I think the concept is creative, It was quite interesting to read too and the ending had a subtle point.

  14. Thanks for reading.
    Hope to keep the fire burning.

  15. At least the baby protested. Even got a few minutes of more attention. Ha ha!

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