Knock knock knock?
I hadn't eaten yam and egg sauce in a long while and those knocks were very terrifying. Even if it were my crush, I would hide the meal. Unicle Barnabas pretended he wasn't hearing too. The pretence wasn't going to be for long though.
Knock knock knock knock?!
"Yes, who is that"? Mama responded from her room.
"These kids, can't you hear that knock"?
"Sister Ifuuu, it's me ooo"
I almost literally cried. Almost. I noticed Emma and Uncle Barnabas increased their pace. Emma's lips were burning but that was nothing compared to the thoughts running through his mind.
We were eating in the living room; on a retched carpet, hoping that mama would take her visitor to her room, but no, the village witches, unknown to mama pulled a trick. Uncle Barnabas began to cough and wouldn't stop. That drew their attention to the sitting room. If only a cup of water could solve the problem. But no, it worsened it.
They came into the living room and sat down. Mama asked;
"Have you all greeted your Aunty"?
Which Aunty? I didn't greet her. I managed to smile angrily at her. If she was spiritual enough, she would have taken her leave at the moment I smiled at her because that smile, was dangerous. Emma and my uncle managed to greet her. This time, their pace was scaring my appetite.
It was as if they knew the bomb was about to explode. They had good spirits. They could sense that Amadioha was after our satisfaction.
Just look at it! Mama's visitor blurted;
"Is it yam they are eating? Wow. Is been long I ate yam o. Chai".
Chai. Chai? Chai wetin? She did better respect herself. I almost cried. That was yam papa managed to buy so that we shouldn't get through that season of plenteous yam without tasting any. In fact, mama didn't get a share because it wasn't enough.
There was silence. Silence enough to buy someone respect. Tochi's eating pace worried mama.
"Tochi, is that yam not too hot?"
"Hot? Ah mama, I'm used to hot things. Besides, I don't want to give the worms in my tummy any opportunity to carry out their activities", Tochi replied.
Yet again it happened.
"And ji a ga adi ezigbo úto this period (and yam will be very delicious this period)", sister Mkpa added.
My face began to squeeze together. Annoyance increased my appetite but I was only 13. What could I do?
Mama. Mama and her generosity. Seems like she didn't know when to hold back. That was our biggest problem with her. We had severally quarrelled her for unnecessarily reducing our ration of food. That day would just burst us because that sister; sister mkpa was fond of doing that.
And finally, it happened!
Mama laughed at her response and blurted;
"Chidinma, ga wetara sister gi ngaji"....(go and bring spoon for your Aunty)
Taa! Which ngaji? Which Aunty? .
I asked Tochi to go and get it. Tochi begged me to go. Mama sent Uncle Barnabas who ordered me to go; trying to get us obey mama, while taking some time to have the final piece.
He left, cautioning us to respect mama in front of visitors. I was mad at him and could rip him of his intestines that moment. But he did what nobody called Barnabas has ever done.
He left to bring the spoon and never came back until we finished eating. His timing was perfect. He returned while Tochi was humming and eating the last piece;
"Please where did you two keep all the spoons in this house"?
Sister Mkpa was furious and disappointed. It was at that moment I began to pity her. Then she said;
"Mummy, kam bia lawa....(let me be going). Let me go and wash my children's clothes".
Chai. Anyways, uncle Barna is a mathematician. From then onwards, we often sent him to bring spoon for visitors.