Today’s story was inspired by childhood memories, all characters are fictional by the way, before some of you start jumping to conclusions. Lemme even take a quick poll, if you’ve ever stolen a piece of meat from your mother’s pot, do like this O/ (i.e. raise your hand). My Oh My…look at you all. Well, no time for long intros. See you on the flip side.
He dreaded being awake in the middle of the night. Night-time was when the witches, ojujus and all things that go bump at night came out to play. ‘He should be sleeping’, he told himself, not lying down in the pitch-black darkness, hyper-alert, thinking of the mission that had preoccupied his mind all evening. Maybe that was what kept him awake. That, coupled with the sweltering heat that had made his body sticky with sweat.
Seyi, oya close your eyes and sleep, he whispered to himself. He squeezed his eyes shut. Something scurried across the room. He sprang to a sitting position. Eyes wide as saucers, he scanned the room; it was useless he couldn’t see anything even with the moonlight filtering in through the lone window in the room. He waited for his eyes to adjust to the darkness. His younger brother, Shogo, with whom he shared a bed rolled towards him and threw a leg over Semilore’s legs. He kicked it away and hissed. Shogo grunted and continued sleeping unperturbed. His two elder brothers were on the other bed in the room competing for who could snore the loudest. Sleep, obviously, was playing hide and seek only with him tonight. He lay back down, willing sleep to come.
Why don’t you do it now? The voice inside his head came alive. His eyes opened. No oh. It’s not good. It’s too dark sef, are you not afraid? Another voice said. He remembered the kerosene lantern his mother usually kept lit overnight on the corridor. Ten years old and you are still afraid. My fren, chop liver and do this thing. Nobody would see you. He stood up very slowly and headed towards the door of the room. The lantern was at the other end of the corridor; just at the entrance of the kitchen. The illumination from it was just sufficient for him.
He first crossed over to his parent’s room and pressed his ear to the door. No discernable sounds. He tiptoed towards the light. He picked up the lantern and entered the kitchen. He was really doing this. Anticipation chased most of his fear away. He turned up the knob on the lantern so he could see well. He didn’t want to risk hitting any pots or plates. One gbaga-ragaun and his mother would be in that kitchen faster than The Flash.
He took an empty pot, carefully placed the cover on the ground and set it aside. In case he heard anyone coming, he would quickly pull down his pyjamas and start urinating in the pot in an attempt to act like he had sleepwalked into the kitchen and mistaken it for the toilet. He couldn’t help but smile at his ingenuity. He sighted the pot he came for. With trembling fingers, he carefully lifted the lid. Behold his weakness; his pot of “red pottage”. A pot of thick spicy Ponmo, well-seasoned, boiled in its juices to a chewable consistency and marinated in fried peppery sauce.
He dipped his hand into the pot and picked up a soft, succulent piece of ponmo that had also had a little piece of beef. He licked off the oil that dripped down his fingers. He bit into the ponmo and tore off the beef, sucking out the juices before chewing, all the while his ears scanning for sounds to suggest if anyone was coming. He bit off a piece of ponmo and chewed it to a gummy consistency before swallowing. He licked his fingers quickly, taking in small sips of air to quench the fire on his tongue.
He briefly contemplated taking another piece but decided against it. His mother might notice. In fact, this was the first time he would take a whole piece. He usually cut off small bits from several pieces of meat. He had taken a huge risk. His mother was renowned for noticing when things went missing especially from her pot or purse. However, he had visited her pot three times this week and he hadn’t been caught. He wasn’t careless like his brothers. He left everything exactly as he met it and rinsed his hands in the sink. As he picked up the lantern, he noticed a small red stain on the cover of the pot. Had it been there before? He wasn’t taking chances. He wiped it off with a rag, placed the lantern back at the entrance of the kitchen and tiptoed back to bed.
“Seeeeuuun! Segggguuunn! Seeeeyiii! Shoooogo! ”. The four boys were rudely yanked from dreamland by the sound of their mother’s loud voice as it reverberated throughout the whole of No. 33 Adefila Street. Seun’s eyes lazily drifted to the wall clock. 6:24Am. Haba! Today was Saturday, the only day of the week they were allowed to be in bed till 8:00am. He looked at his brothers they wer no longer asleep, neither were they fully awake. They were waiting for somebody to get up first.
“Ooooh God! This woman should allow somebody to sleep now,” Seun grumbled under his breath.
“Ahn ahn! Are you counting my voice? Before I count to three all of you appear inside this kitchen now! OOOOONE!…..”
All four boys scampered to the kitchen. There they found their mother scowling; her hair bound in a black hairnet; a green “Mama-is-60” wrapper around her chest.
“Which one of you entered this kitchen last night?”
This lovely piece was written by Jemima Ojapa
The concluding part is here.. Ensure you follow up! Comments plleease.. Can you relate with this? Kindly share this post with your fellow ponmo and meat lovers 🙂
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