All of a sudden, I was brought back to consciousness from my dream due to a sudden sound that breaks the peace. I hear the sound come from the sitting room, in a most unlikely time of 3:00am, and walk slowly for a little peep just in case. Before reaching the parlour, I felt almost like alerting dad, but had to tiptoe to find out first hand, before raising a false alarm. I spied through the curtain in search of the intruder, to find my little sister Fejiro sitting in front of the TV and watching a cartoon. And in her hands and mouth were what remained of the loaf of bread I’d booked for the morning tea. I stood there most stunned, boiling up with rage as I watched her chunk ahead in a dedicated manner as though her life depended on it. And in eventually exploding, I scream out
in a final outburst at the top of my voice, waking up anybody that cared to wake.
Indeed a scream of ‘Fejiro’ from our lips had become a recurrent phenomenon always expected. And I can only reflect to how unpredictable my one of a kind sister that posed much of a headache to all of us was, on the day she was born.
Fejiro was born at a time when my sisters were already in their teens. For eleven years, I had occupied that favoured position of last born till she suddenly came along. Although there was nothing so glorious about it as of my tenure, but I loved being the last born all the same, for reason of one or two privileges.
But just a few years into her birth, Fejiro became a child after dad’s own heart. And all of a sudden, daddy who used to be the tough disciplinarian to all of us, became not so rigid anymore. Daddy who kept a gaze as stiff as a fierce military man, that always made us shiver at his presence, suddenly became flexible. Daddy who would make us queue up behind one another as we submitted our report cards for judgement, with his mind-breaking whip in hand, suddenly changed strict ways. Daddy who would thrash us in manners we hardly forgot, on sighting a teacher’s red biro, suddenly forgot how to use the whip.
As she grew a little older to the age of ten, she became much of a complex individual. And from the much freedom she obtained from dad to fulfil her fancies and fantasies, she took it upon herself to become the weirdest kind of glutton. By this, I meant the type that always kept her mouth busy, stuffed full of food, and would eat up anything edible, except for a sleeping break. And she even went as far as joining daddy and grandma during their meals, after she must have emptied her full plate. A feat we never dared. At first, she became the best inspiration for me to look up and write some of my naughty poems, that did cover some comic themes.
And as I brought her to focus, as my poetic muse, I’d begun the poem “Life of a Glutton”, with the following lines:
“Wining and dining here and then
Do dwell on the dining table
An appetite quite far insatiable
Guzzling and gorging all the way…”
But the humour started becoming alarming every time I did return home from the university; in times it gradually passed the stage of ‘be careful’. I’d remain dumbfounded at the elevated size of my sister, as she increased every three months. And then there was the part that got us frustrated the more, and pushed to the very edge. She was big quite all right, but wasn’t so smart in terms of being mentally alert. She was the slowest kind of learner. The type you would have to teach a simple logic over and over again before she slightly gets it. Sometimes it usually comes from cramming, because she mostly forgets even the simplest of knowledge.
For that, I would ask and wonder if a child can actually be born unintelligent and dull. And would wonder if there was something synonymous between the fat kid and the word ‘weird’. For behold, they were theories I had always denied, but have come to consider, for reason of this wonderful sister of mine.
So came a certain morning we would finally trust her with knowing the time. My almost twin sister, Favour, was just rushing up for her Saturday morning appointment when she suddenly checked her time, just to be sure she wasn’t running late. She yelled in a surprising tone, exclaiming panicky, and asking if her time was correct. “Fejiro, help me check the time”, was her quick command, as she sped up with her make-up session. And then Fejiro returns from the sitting room just immediately, telling her the time in the words: “Just 8 o’ clock, sister.”
At that voicing, even my dad and I that were not being addressed but still had our separate appointments that morning rushed to the sitting room to verify for ourselves, only to sigh and mumble a few words of disgust as we saw the time. Favour, who by now had seen the expression on our faces but hadn’t yet understood, dashed passed us at once as she made to leave the house. Only on reaching the parlour, did she discover the time was just 7:20am. She screams again, but this time
in annoyance, and my little sister scampers for her life.
And so the trend continued unbearably, till we certainly ran short of ideas that’ll bring a change to my sister’s unusual ways. Then this quiet peaceful night, I dreamt of a day at which I would see my sister with a different eye. A day when she would impress me with a little share of her spontaneous writing, and not throw it off in her nonchalance. And then I dreamt of days when my sister could watch just a foreign movie, and tell me what the actions were truly all about. I dreamt of days when my sister would eat a little, as she returned from school, to read her books devotedly afterwards. I dreamt further to when my sister would not eat and sleep too much, but would be mentally alert to decipher quickly.
All of a sudden, I was brought back to consciousness as the peace is broken by a likely sound of Fejiro, devouring the bread I’d quietly kept for my morning run. And now as I gradually revive myself from the much rage, I sat down to ask and contemplate helplessly: How then do we avoid rats, when they do attack in human form?