By: Japheth Prosper
Chapter Five (5)
To cut a long story short, I did not eat anything from that food. I couldn’t imagine myself having a taste of the soup upon which Aisha had spat in. it was better that I was dead!
My parents tried to convince me to eat but I maintained my stand.
“Remember the chicken was bought for your sake,” my mother reminded “You had better come and join us now or force every one of us to stop eating too.”
I told her it was better they threw the whole soup away because it had already been contaminated.
“She spat in it!” I cried, reminding her of what happened. Yet, my mother didn’t seem to take me seriously.
When she saw I was really bent on not eating the food, she gave me some money to go out and buy for myself something to eat.
The soup lasted for more than three days but I was careful not to let it near my mouth. It was like I was going to puke whenever I remembered how she’d spat her sputum into the ground pepper. And I was forever allergic to anything that was slimy.
Days went by smoothly.
One Sunday afternoon, I was preparing to go to professor Awal’s place to collect some books he promised to buy for me. That day, my mother had finished cooking some rice and was making preparation for stew. Aisha was as usual helping with the cooking in the kitchen.
I was already nearing the gate when I heard my name.
It was my sister, Aisha. The tone at which she’d called my name told me she wanted to show me something.
She beckoned at me and when I’d joined her, she led me to the kitchen
“Guess what we are cooking,” she said, staring into my eyes.
“Rice and stew,” I said in response.
“Good boy,” she said. “It’s rice, stew and plenty meat.”
A smirk returned to her face and I sensed instantly that she was just about to pull a prank.
”What is it?” I asked dryly.
She laughed cynically, opened the pot on the fire and made a spitting sound into the meat that was cooking in it.
Fire burned instantly in my throat .For sure, I was going to miss lunch again that day. I was going to miss the meat too! I felt terrible and miserable.
There was not point wailing and rolling in the sand again like I did the last time. I knew even if I cried my eyes out, no one was going to believe my cock and bull story. Deep in my heart, I felt a gnawing pain. Why was she doing this to me? What wrong did I do to her? Why didn’t she want me to eat? Why?
Ignoring her, I went past the small gate. I was going to see professor Awal and possibly stay there all day. I was never going to be home when they were going to eat the contaminated food, poisoned by my wicked sister. The disgusting images of her spitting in the food kept appearing in my head. And I was forever allergic to slimy and sticky substances.
“You don’t look happy Jafaru,” the professor observed when I entered his house.
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I told him my story. I told him what happened the day he bought the cocks and how I left the food for them to eat. I told him that although it was my success that brought about that little celebration, I did not partake in it.
“Oh dear,” said professor Awal sympathetically. “So, you also are not going to eat anything today?”
I nodded in the affirmative.
“That’s bad,’ he acknowledged.
“Yes,” I nodded miserably.
Professor Awal stared blankly at me. “Do you want to continue starving yourself this way like a slave?”
“Slave?” I was confused.”How do you mean?”
Professor Awal looked at me, “She has made you her slave because she knows what your weak points are. She knows you have a Phobia for slimy substance. You must free yourself the same way you did when she tried to make you believe you can never be a doctor or an engineer. You must be wise otherwise she will continue to starve you.”
“What then should I do?” I asked miserably.
“You must fight the phobia and not your sister. Come to think of it; did I not eat the food that day? Did your parents not eat the food? We all did and no one died. Go home and eat the food as if nothing happened and when you do that, she will stop doing this to you.”
I couldn’t believe Professor was asking me to eat the poisoned food. I shut my eyes and the image formed in my mind’s eyes making me want to puke.
“I can’t eat the food Professor,” I confessed dejectedly.
“Then you must choose if you want to remain her slave or free yourself from her whims and caprices. Do not give her the opportunity to turn you into her pawn in a game of chess.”
I like Professor Awal a lot. Whenever he talked to me, he made me feel like I was an adult. From our discussion that day, I knew that it was up to me to continue to let my sister treat me the way she did. To free myself from her, I must really behave like I didn’t care what she did. The professor was right. If her saliva could kill, they would have all been dead by now. How did I even know if she hadn’t been spitting in all the food we’d been eating in the past? Did I die? Certainly no.
I thanked my friend and gathered all the books he bought for me. In no time, I was heading back home. I told myself that I must put an end to this bizarre drama.
Food was still cooking when I reached home.
“There’s a lot of meat in this stew,” Aisha reminded me.”It’s a pity you aren’t going to eat.”
I didn’t say anything in response. I went inside the house and tried to concentrate on what I was reading. I told myself that I must put an end to all that madness. I was never going to be her slave anymore
The food was ready in less than thirty minutes. As usual my mother had mine in my plate with two pieces of meat in it.
Stop being her slave Jafaru! Stop being her slave now!
I could see the apparent shock in my sister’s eyes as I climbed unto the chair at the dining table and began to eat my food.
I thought you weren’t going to eat it,” she fired in frustration.
“Why?” I grunted. “You are my sister and your saliva can’t kill me. Maybe you should just grow up and learn a little about hygiene.”
“Are you implying that I am a dirty girl?” she threw casually.
“Yes,” I nodded. “Any one that does what you have done is a very dirty person. I implore you to change.”
We did not know that my mother was eavesdropping on use.
She came in and clapped for me.
“I have always said you’ll make me proud Jafaru,” she said. And turning to Aisha she said gravely, “kneel down and raise your hands. So, you actually spat in the food?”
Aisha obeyed my mother albeit she was laughing. My mother frowned and demanded what was funny. Then my sister looked at me and grinned.
“I thought you said Jafaru was brilliant. I had been fooling him by pretending to spit into the food and he has been falling for my pranks. Of course, I have never spat into food. I am not that dirty or wicked. I was just trying to get at him,” she said.
I stared at her in shock. Did it mean Aisha had been fooling me? I actually felt foolish for a moment but then, I was glad I’d followed the professor’s advice.
My mother was not happy all the same. She chided Aisha and told her that such jokes must stop. My mother left her kneeling. I looked at her and said, “Just grow up and be a good girl.”
“Come on, get out!” She said with a grin. She was very amused in spite of herself.
That was the last time Aisha behaved that way.