Whenever Mama Tade called his full name, he automatically knew there was problem.
‘What have I done again?’ He muttered as he reluctantly made his way to the sitting room to meet her. She just came back and was already screaming his name.
‘Good Afternoon Mummy’ he said from a distance, making sure he wasn’t too close to her. He smelled trouble. Tade looked around, scratching his right arm unconsciously like he always did when he felt uneasy.
‘Why is this place like this? Do you want to kill me?’ She said pointing at the toys and books on the floor as she dropped her bag on the settee closest to her.
‘I didn’t do—‘ He began to say staring at the mess on the floor but was interrupted by his mother. The look on her face and her tone has impatience smeared all over it.
‘You didn’t do what? Didn’t I tell you to watch over your sisters?’ He could swear she was starting to vibrate, which was not a good sign.
‘ I did. I just went—’
‘Come here’ she beckoned with her hand, moving closer to him as he moved back.
‘But mummy I—’
‘I said come here. I’m not going to chase you.’ She said, standing not too far away from him. Tade dragged his feet as he walked towards her with a downcast face. He understood from the tired look on her face that she was stressed but it annoyed him that she didn’t listen to anything he had to say. All he did was leave for five minutes or thereabouts to get one of his Supa strikas comics and his sisters turned the house upside down.
‘Owwwwwww’ He yelled as his mother pulled his ears for not watching his sisters. Tade cursed them under his breath. His mother was used to blaming him for things those two little brats he called sisters did. Last week, was about a torn storybook he knew nothing about. The book wouldn’t have been torn if he had kept it properly, she said. How was it his fault that Tomi decided to play with it when he left the room? It should have been in your bag, she said. You just can’t win.
‘Don’t you know you are the first born?’ was her slogan, as if that gave the pass to punish him for every single thing Shade and Tomi did. He would go deaf someday from too much pulling and twisting; did his mother think she was pulling ready to cut cow tripe? Tade thought to himself as he hopped from foot to foot due to pain. She soon released his ears but not without some lecture on how he had to be more responsible.
For God sake he was just twelve and as if rummaging through his thoughts she said, ‘Don’t think because you are just twelve, you are still a baby? You are responsible for your younger ones.’
‘But mummy it’s not fair. Why do I have to get blamed for everything.’ Tade frowned as he rubbed his now pulsating ears. He could not comprehend why his mother wouldn’t hold his sisters responsible for their own misdeeds.
‘Life is not fair. You have to learn to take care of your sisters and make sure they do the right things when I’m not around. Don’t you know you are the man of the house?’
Tade grumbled about what that had to do with anything. He watched his sisters at the corner of the room playing together and imagined beating some sense into them so they could feel the his pain but decided to wait till his mother left the sitting room. He silently plotted his revenge.
‘They wont escape it.’ He muttered, tapping his right foot in annoyance.
‘What did you say?’
‘It had better be nothing. When I was your age I used to…’ and so another bout of stories would begin on how she was mother hen to her younger ones, how she would climb Mount Everest blah blah and how her mother never had the cause to complain. Even God knows, nobody can be that perfect. He was convinced his mum added more than enough ingredients to the soup of tales she dished out to him. They say adults don’t tell lies but he believed they tweaked the truth once awhile.
His eyes watered from pain and anger, sometimes he wished his mother slapped him instead of twisting his ear for what he deemed the longest five minutes of his life. He was lost in his thoughts and did not realise his mother had finished lecturing him.
‘Why are you still standing there? Will I be the one to clear this mess for you?’ She said, making her way to the small fridge in the dinning area.
He grumbled as he picked up the vase, books and playthings his sisters had scattered around. Someone cannot rest in this house he thought as moved closer to where his sisters played to pick things up. All he did was go to his room for few minutes and they turned the whole place upside down. The pulling and twisting would have been justified if he had gone to play football with his friends. A wrinkle snaked its way to his forehead. He glanced at his mother who was sitting in the dinning area pouring herself chilled water and back at his sisters playing. When he was sure his mum wasn’t paying attention to them, he moved closer to his sisters then pinched Shade. She screamed out in pain and began to cry.
‘Tade what’s going on there?’
‘Nothing’ he replied while making faces at his sister, which made her scream more.
‘Mummy!! Tade is pinching me.’ Shade yelled.
‘It’s a lie o!’ he shouted and pulled her ear. His sister howled from pain. Tomi got tired of watching them and continued playing with the doll in front of her.
‘Tade don’t let me come there.’ Mama Tade said in a warning tone.
‘I didn’t touch her’
‘You didn’t touch her yet she’s crying abi. I’m coming to meet you.’ Mama Tade threatened.
‘Mummy will pull your monkey ears again’ she sniffed and put out her tongue at him. Tade was not amused, it angered him that she had the guts to call him monkey ears so he pulled her mouth and said ‘I’m not your mate’. She screamed, jumped up and tried to fight him but he was too fast for her. He pushed her and she landed hard on her backside, which resulted in another round of howling.
‘Tadeeeeeeee do you want to kill her?’ His mother yelled as she made her way back to the sitting room.
‘I didn’t touch herrrr’ he shouted as he ran out of the sitting room because he knew if his mother got hold of him, the end result would be unpleasant. He refused to be at the receiving end of her stressful day.