Did I really grow up in Makurdi? Lets just say Makurdi was one of the towns I grew up in, the others, not so different in the 90’s were Kano, Kaduna, Ughelli, Ilorin, Warri, Jos, Lagos..now I’m confused, I think am mixing up where I grew up with places I visited as a child, well no big deal, such was the life of an officer’s family. The military posts your dad, he leaves to accept duties and is away for a while, maybe some months, comes back after securing accommodation and a pass, you are bundled up into a military tata truck, of course the officers kids get to ride in the Peugeot 404, they can’t stand the discomfort of a furniture laden truck! Off you go on a long bumpy ride to a new destination and a new or not so new life.
The furniture was pretty the same for the most part, you had neighbours from all over Nigeria, you didn’t make friends long enough to be called childhood friends as I’ve often heard people call their friends from long time ago, there was always some rumour as to whose wife is doing secret things with whom and whose daughter is passing freebies around, then occasionally, there was the perfect looking family with no drama.
Yes, such was the life and no I was not an officer’s daughter, I didn’t go to the military schools, didn’t have a recognizable surname, just the wife’s little niece. Dark, stout and well toned muscles from all the hard work, smart and very pretty and always drawing attention to myself without even trying to.
My hair was another matter; it was thick black and defied gravity. My aunt got tired of the many complaints from the woman who came home on Saturdays to make our hair “ madam this your girl hair too stubborn and she nor dey gree siddon one place, she nor get respect sef” she would complain and hiss as she drove the wrong sized comb through my ‘fro, I would wince and jump off the stool and beg, ‘ mama sikira small small now, you wan comot my brain? or bribe, “mama sikira small small abeg, i go make five bottles of mango juice for you when you come next week” .
The following week the drama would repeat itself, i got so tired i prayed for a miracle! who said God doesn’t answer prayers. My aunt took a pair of scissors one evening and chopped my ‘fro all off! It was a relief, my aunt looked at me in wonder as I smiled and said “thank you ma” gathering my hair with a broom, I didn’t shed a single tear; I was tired of the horrible stench I had to endure sitting on a low stool with my head buried between mama Sikira’s thighs, talk less of the two days of headaches that followed . My aunt’s daughters could continue to enjoy the stench, me, I am free! hurray.
I was now officially one of the boys with my low cut. I could beat the boys to the climbing of the trickiest trees, beat them to a table tennis game and break their legs at a football game. And yet not one day did they stop me from playing with them, no grudges were kept, it was always only just a game! I enjoyed the company of the boys and this did not endear me much to the women.
I can’t even begin to recount all the beatings I got from aunt Ebi over all the malicious reports she got from her fellow Officers’s wives. that’s one of the reasons I find it hard to be friends with women, especially the ones with little girls as maids, some as young as nine. When you try to reason with them, they tell you some belief in their twisted brains they are helping to better these children’s lives; really?!!! If you want a housekeeper, hire an adult, dear big ma’am and if you need a nanny, hire an adult too. If you need to help a child, adopt one! And please stop sitting in the front row in church, you are wicked!
Adaeze stretched her legs on the couch, laid her head on the pillow and turned to look at the Psychiatrist. “Next question please”…..