I do not like my Aunty Amaka very much, I never have and never will. She is fat but not my Daddy’s kind of good fat; she is the bad kind of fat that breaks things. When I was a baby she broke the red settee in the living room and complained that it was the ‘angle’ my mother had placed it that caused the settee to break. I know this because one day my Mummy told Aunty Clara, her friend from the next street while I was doing my homework at the dining table. They had laughed and laughed for a long time, slapping their thighs and cleaning tears from their eyes. I had laughed too until my Mummy saw me and eyed the laughter out of me then continued laughing with Aunty Clara.
I think Aunty Amaka lives with my grandma in the village because I see her there every Christmas and I don’t think Aunty Amaka has a husband like my Mummy and Daddy. Nobody tells me anything and when I ask her any question, Mummy gives me the eye and if I’m close by, she twists my ear. “Uche you will not kill me”. Nobody tells me anything so I have to watch and listen very carefully. Daddy said Aunty Amaka has been trouble from day one, I wasn’t there on Day One but she sure has been trouble since she came on Thursday. Thursday dinner was starch and ogbono soup, my Mummy makes the most delicious ogbono soup, rich red-brown gooey paste with lots of assorted meat in cubes and fish strands with green vegetables for colour or whatever, I just love it. “Too much salt”, said Aunty Amaka. I like the salt and wanted to say so but mother gave me the usual eye then smiled at Aunty Amaka and said the next one would be better. Better? This was the best.
When my Daddy came back, she made a fuss about how he never called her these days and they have so much to catch up on. After his dinner my Daddy skipped his 9 o’clock news and went to bed, he only does that when Aunty Amaka is visiting or maybe he was just too tired like he said. He had always preferred to sleep off while watching the news than miss watching the news all together. When Daddy left Aunty Amaka started advising Mummy about her living room decorations, Mummy listened patiently nodding in agreement to all she said until she remembered that Daddy’s clothes needed ironing and excused herself. Then it was my turn.
“So what class are you now? hmmn Uche…”, said Aunty Amaka as she began to drill me about my school, my friends and everything about my life. I didn’t want her to disturb me so I didn’t answer very well at first but as she started to struggle out of the chair, maybe to look for mummy, that’s when I started to answer all her questions and even tell her stories about my school. She seemed interested because she sat back and continued her questioning; at last she sighed and said she would have a word with Mummy about me as my case was simply hopeless. I have been called many things I wondered if it was something I had said.
She was quiet for a while as she looked around the living room straining her neck with much difficulty, her eyes taking in everything as if seeing them for the first time. Suddenly she tilted her head in the direction my mother had disappeared. “Noni, your daughter keeps too many friends, and that’s a recipe for busy body”. My Mummy immediately re-appeared at the kitchen doorway, her hands wet apparently from washing dishes or something. She held them up pointedly, as she gave me that look “Ha Uche…” then waited. Aunty Amaka seemed to want to say something because she opened her mouth then closed it twice.
“Let me quickly finish up with the dishes,” my Mummy disappeared again.
Aunty Amaka then turned to me again “You’re too much trouble for your parents, I think I would move in with you people for a while so your mother can concentrate on getting pregnant again”
Crash! A plate broke in the kitchen.