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We were at the sitting room when papa arrived with a leather bag that evening. I was first to rush at him and got hold of the bag. He promised to buy some snacks on his way home after work, so I had to get hold of the bag before Rita my elder sister makes the first move. Though, I know papa do buy things that get to everybody, but Rita is a glutton. She doesn’t only eat; she also swallows every food before her eyes.
“Papa, you are welcome”, I said getting hold of the bag.
“Be careful so you don’t pour out the beans”, Papa said
I peeped into the bag, papa was not lying. I thought it was one of his tricks to scare me away from the bag.
“Not again in this house,” Mama shouted from the kitchen. “Better, throw away that rubbish”
Anger descended on me as I fling the bag to a corner. What in God’s name will make Papa bring beans into the house again? The last time we ate beans, nobody in the family could remember his or her name. We all shared the same fate, sleeping near the toilet’s door because our stomach won’t stop running. So Papa tells me that he hasn’t learnt anything from the incident which prompted him to still pack beans into the house? He has always boasted that things don’t happen to him twice before he learns, then what was happening now? Or the beans were a free gift from a friend of his, but he should have told the said giver that the food is forbidden and out law in his household.
“Nna, you shouldn’t have fling the bag that way”, Papa said. “You will surely beg for more when it is done”.
He has sensed my anger like wise that of Mama because she begged him in the morning before he left for work, to help her buy a few ingredients to prepare an egusi soup since he passes through the market when coming back from work. Now, he ended up buying beans for all to eat for dinner. Mama opted to remain hungry throughout the night than recall similar experience after the first beans saga, which papa accused her of adding too much maggi and little or no pepper at all. She won’t cook the food also because he aroma would cause her to throw up.
“Since you won’t cook, I will”, said Papa soldering into the kitchen carrying his bag.
I still recall first incident, it was same way Mama carried he beans into the kitchen and after she was done with the cooking. The food was served. Rita, in her gluttony way ate more than anybody. We went to sleep, but by 2am, I was first to visit the toilet then Papa followed before Rita outlived everybody in the toilet, even when Mama was holding her buttocks and called her to be fast, but she stayed put. When Mama couldn’t hold it any more, she open the toilet’s door and drew Rita out of there before she defecates on her clothes. It became a long queue as we lined up near the toilet waiting for turns. It seemed eternity if anyone goes into the toilet and wastes more time while others outside the door feel the hell holding their buttocks and danced to unheard rhythms. After two days of intensive purging and running stomach, Papa banned the cooking and eating of beans. He threatened to chase anybody that cooked or eat beans knowingly or unknowingly, out of the house. Almost six months after, Papa bought beans to be cooked in the house or he was trying to compliment on what he told me at a time. He did say that beans aid in growth and I was quick to ask him if it was because uncle Nwaude didn’t eat beans, made his growth stagnant. Papa didn’t answer to my question.
“Nna, come and check the salt”, Papa called from the kitchen just the way Mama does whenever she’s cooking. Rita was out of question because she will end up eating the half done food. Rather than keep a red face with Papa, I chose to go taste the food because he will surely tease me and I will submit to eat the food. I went into the kitchen and the aroma was irresistible and had already filled my nose. I opened the pot, behold the mangala fish. My mouth was watery as I licked my lips. It was quite tasty making me nod my head in anticipation.
Papa dished out the food himself because Mama had washed off her hands. She won’t go near the food let alone eating it. Her share was kept behind while we battled with ours. Rita ate as fast as she could, to enable her bounce on Mama’s share, but Mama was quick to join the table when she couldn’t bare the hunger and the food’s aroma. We are complete on the dinning table, eating in silence. If I could tell everyone’s mind, it was a prayer against purging in the mid night. I pray it doesn’t happen. I will be the worst hit because I drunk a lot of the beans’ water.
“Papa, never knew you are a great cook”, said Rita making to lick her plate with her tongue, but was given a nasty look by Mama, who ate silently and slower than before.
After the dinner, we all prepared for bed leaving doors opened and keeping papers nearby for emergency. One thing that never got into our thinking was the ingredients Papa used in preparing the beans. Nobody knew that he used ogili and also a left over ofe akwu to cook. It was around 2am again as former time, it began. This time around none purged, but we farted. It became a case of fire for fire. While Mama and Papa were firing up their room, I was battling with Rita on who got the superior power on farting, but when I couldn’t endure the disgusting smell of her farts, I stood up and locked up the door. What really happened was what I can’t tell. The window panes were shattered while the door was blown out. Mama blew everything out of proportion, hers divided the bed into two equal parts while the rats inside the room, that have long acted smart that they won’t eat the poison kept for them, died instantly.