Matured Stories

The Tragedy – Season 1 – [Episode 1 – 21]

The Tragedy

The Tragedy



Episode 1

About Twenty-Seven years ago, I was born

into the family of Mr. and Mrs. Bena; my

father was a Fine Art teacher in the town

school and my mother owned a small shop

in our compound. My father was very

intelligent and hardworking, but he was a

disciplinarian; people feared him, especially

children and close neighbours. They had

been married for five years without a child,

and on 28th July, 1989, they had me, the

apple of their eyes.

Friends and relatives who came around

when I was born rejoiced with my parents;

one of the pastors had come and told my

parents I was going to be famous. At the

age of five, I was already in Primary One,

unlike other girls in the town. Papa and

Mama did not have enough money to put

me in a nursery school, so before I got to

primary school, I used to stay with my mom

in the shop; she would not allow me do

anything but stare at her while she attended

to the customers. We also had a grinding

machine behind our house; since the shop

was very close to the house, my mom would

always multi-task, she would attend to the

customers who came to grind, and run back

to the shop to attend to the buyers.

One day, a customer had come to buy a stick

of cigarette but my mom was at the back of

the house completing her transaction with a

customer who came to grind beans, being

the stubborn girl that I was, I did not go to

inform her that there was a customer

waiting, I opened the pack of cigarette and

sold the stick at One Naira. When Mama

returned from the backyard, I was so

anxious, I told her the good news.

Me: “Mama, guess what? I don sell for you o,

you go give me dat chewing gum wey I beg

you” I said happily

Mama: “Shiber, wetin you sell? I nor tell you

say make you nor dey sell? Why didn’t you

call me?”

Me: “I think say you go dey grind for Mama

Ono, see, I don sell one cigar” I showed her

the pack of cigarette I had sold from “The

man na mumu o, e no even collect change,

mama you see why I no need go school? I

go dey here dey help you sell, you go dey

house dey grind”

Mama: “Make I see the money wey the man

give you?” she said and turned around to

pick a cane from the ground.

Before I knew it, I had received the beating

of my life, in fact, that was the first day I was

flogged with a cane. I had sold the stick of

cigar for One Naira instead of Three Naira,

Mama had told me after flogging me. The

cane did not get to me that much, but I

exaggerated as she added more strokes. I

screamed so the neighbours could hear, but

none of them came out to rescue me; they

did not like me that much, they thought I

was a spoilt brat.

After the beating, I went straight to the back

of the house, I sat on the wooden bench

near the grinding engine, I knew that Mama

would come around there numerous times,

so I thought sitting there would remind her

that I was sobbing and prompt her to

apologize to me and give me some sweets

to stop me from crying, but she did not.

Several times, she walked past me and

pretended there was no one visible.

It was when she locked the shop and was

about to climb the steps to go and prepare

lunch for Papa that she missed her steps

and fell off. I still do not know where that

laughter came from, but I laughed like I had

never laughed before. I held my stomach

because it hurt as I laughed and ran away to

the shop. I had thought she would run after

me but she did not; she had sustained some


That afternoon, when Papa returned from

work, I sat by the door and heard Mama

reporting me to Papa

Mama: “Shiber is a stupid girl”

Papa: “Shiber? What did she do?”

Mama: “Like you instructed, I asked her to

sit in the shop and let me know whenever a

customer comes, but she disobeyed”

Papa: “She left the shop?”

Mama: “No, Darl, she sold cigar very cheap, I

had to beat her for that…then I fell off the

steps and she laughed so hard. How can she

be so heartless?”

I sat there, expecting my dad to call me and

scold me because he was silent after Mama

told her what I did, next thing I heard was a

thunderous laughter from him, I crawled

behind the wooden chairs in the living room

to see what was happening and I found

them chasing one another- just like me,

Papa had found the missed steps hilarious.

I was the last pupil to resume school that

year. Papa had told me that he needed to

pay his debts first before buying the things I

needed for school; he said he knew I was

smart and would easily catch up with the

children who had resumed earlier. Papa had

more than forty siblings, since his dad died,

he had been the one taking responsibility of

his mother and siblings, and sometimes he

would extend his generosity to his nieces

and nephews, which is why he was always

borrowing from money lenders.

My first day at school was amazing; Mama

had bathed me hard, she used the hard

sponge to wash the dirt out of my body. As

she did, she complained I played too much

with the kids in the neighbourhood and she

was glad I was going to start school; she

said I would meet my match there in school.

She rubbed the Pears Vaseline all over my

body and passed me over to Papa, who

handed me my red and white uniform.

We got to the school on Papa’s Suzuki bike. I

ran to catch up with him as he walked

briskly into the school compound

immediately he parked his bike, and then

handed me over to a woman whom I later

found out was my class teacher. He had left

me there with the wicked ‘aunty’; I cried like

I was being sold out to a wicked slave

trader as I saw my father’s image vanish.

“Shut up you brat!” was what the wicked

aunty had told me to keep my mouth sealed.

She showed me my seat and collected the

broom, hoe and cutlass from me. I saw her

add them to the other three sets in the

corner of the class, then she stared at me

like she was about to eat the hell out of me.

Being the new girl in school, and a smart

one for that matter, I blended just like the

chameleon. I gathered my new friends

during break and told them funny stories of

my experiences with Mama and how I

played pranks in our compound. Turn by

turn, each of us told our stories; the other

girl who had resumed same day with me

was so proud and annoying. She was also

the only child of her parents, I had thought I

would be the youngest in school, but we

were same age; she spoke about how her

dad had four airplanes, I told her mine had

six. When the other girls realized that the

conversation was becoming a competition,

they left us. I eyed her green water bottle

and backpack; I wished Papa had bought

the same for me.

I returned home that day, with the plan to

inform Mama that I truly met my match in

school but all did not end well, I met Papa

outside the house, the shop was locked but

I could see neighbours gathered, the

women crying and the men consoling Papa;

Mama had gone to join her ancestors.


Hmmmmm what a pity!

To be continued….



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