Ashanti walked into the house that has been in her mother’s family for generations. Suddenly, she wasn’t happy with what life offered her at all. Why couldn’t she be like Lois? Why couldn’t she be the rich one instead of having to share a run-down house with her mother’s family.

She pushed open the front door of the house and a ball hit her on her face.

“Ouch!” She yelled.

Her cousins rushed to pick the ball but Ashanti was faster, she took the ball and held it high in the air.

“Who threw it!” She spat.

“Give it back!” Her cousin, Timothy said.

“Ha! Come and get it!” She spat and dashed off to the kitchen.

The boys followed her and watched with dismay as she perforated their ball with a kitchen knife.

“Ashanti, you’re mean.” Timothy cried.

“No one wants to own up so I had to do what is best.” Ashanti hissed, dropping the ruined ball on the ground and leaving the kitchen.

She could hear their loud wails as she raced upstairs towards the small compartment she shared with her mother.

She stepped in and stopped, the smell coming from her bedroom was quite offensive.

“What is mom up to?” She hissed, cringing her nose at the smell.

She opened the door to her bedroom and saw her mother seated at the mirror with a flat tong in her hands and trying desperately to straighten out a synthetic hair.

“Mom! Why do you have to make a mess in my room?” She yelled.

“This is the only room in our compartment that has sockets that are working.” Her mother replied, not taking her eyes off the badly damaged hair.

“I don’t wear weavons but I don’t need to be a smart alec to know that you can’t iron out that kind of synthetic hair.” Ashanti said storming towards the wall socket and pulling out the plug.

“Can you please let me try to get this hair back to function? I have a party tonight and look at me, I look desperate.” Her mother said, pointing at her badly bleached hair.

“I’m sorry I can’t help you with that.” Ashanti said rudely and sat on her bed.

“How was your outing? Hmmm…so, you have new friends in big places huh?” Her mother said with a smile.

Ashanti shrugged and looked away.

“Ash, you look worried, are you alright?” Her mother asked, tugging desperately at the tangled hair in her hands and making a mess everywhere.

“Where’s my father?” Ashanti asked.

It was as though someone had slapped her mother in the face, her face contorted with pain and anger.

“What did you just ask me?” Her mother flung.

“You heard me…”

“Let this be the last time you ever ask me that question. You’re such an ungrateful child! After all I’ve done for you! Why do you want him to reap where he didn’t sow? He never cared for you, and he never took care of you.” Her mother shouted hotly.

“I just want to know. Is it wrong to know about him? It takes two to tangle doesn’t it? I’m sure you can tell me something about him.” Ashanti pressed.

“He’s dead!” Her mother yelled.

“I don’t believe you!” Ashanti flung back.

“Do you know what? I preferred you as a little girl rather than this teenager you’ve turned into.”

“It’s a pity we can’t hold the hands of time or…I’ll stay ten forever.” Ashanti spat.

“You think you’re bold right?” Her mother fumed.

“I know I’m bold and that’s why I’m not going to rest until you tell me something about my father. Don’t I deserve to know? What if I have a sibling in the world and I know nothing about her?”

Her mother froze and stared at her.

“What…sibling? Who are you talking about?”

Ashanti looked at her mother, she wasn’t stupid, the mention of having a sibling had struck a chord but she didn’t know what.

“Look mom, I just want to know him. Who knows if he has other kids and …”

The door crashed open against the wall and auntie Rebecca, Timothy’s mother stormed in. She looked like a wild cat with rollers in her hair and her face painted with different colours of makeup.

“What did you do to my son?” She yelled at Ashanti.

Ashanti’s mother turned to face her sister-in-law in equal anger.

“Who gave you the right to scream at my daughter?” She asked.

“If you’d trained your daughter properly, we wouldn’t have to always complain whenever she comes back home from school.” Aunt Rebecca said.

“And is this your house? The last time I checked, this is my father’s house and it is mine by right.” Ashanti’s mother yelled.

“It belongs to my husband and my kids so, it is mine too.” Auntie Rebecca fired.

“Hey…what’s your problem aunt?” Ashanti hissed.

“Don’t you dare speak to me that way. If you speak to your mother like that, don’t you dare talk to me like that.” Aunt Rebecca shouted.

“My daughter is well-behaved, unlike your sons. Go and train them before coming here to speak rubbish.” Ashanti’s mother said.

“Like mother, like daughter. I won’t be surprised if Ashanti ends up exactly like you.” Aunt Rebecca screamed.

“At least, I’m better than you are. I am of good pedigree and I know that I have class and that I am sophisticated. Unlike you who’s nothing more than a sewer rat.” Ashanti’s mother fired.

Aunt Rebecca ignored Ashanti’s mother and turned to yell at Ashanti.

“Ashanti, I bought that ball in the supermarket and it sold for almost a thousand naira. If you like yourself, go and buy that ball back before the end of today.” Aunt Rebecca warned.

Ashanti laughed out loud.

“You’re kidding me!” She hissed and entered the toilet.

“Get out of here…you’re stinking the whole place.” Ashanti’s mother yelled at aunt Rebecca.

Aunt Rebecca gave her a long look and stormed out of the room.

********

Lois ate her dinner quietly while her parents conversed and laughed. Suddenly, her mother noticed her silence.

“Lois, are you okay?” She asked.

Lois looked at her and smiled.

“Yes…I’m fine.”

“I noticed that you’ve been so quiet all day, even while we were playing with Lassie.” Her father noted.

“Well…my mind has been far away.” Lois said.

Her parents suddenly looked concerned.

“Is everything alright with you?” Her mother asked. “Can we do anything to help?”

“Mom, dad, why didn’t you guys have anymore kids?” Lois asked silently.

Her father gave her mother a look and sighed.

“Why do you ask? Aren’t you happy?” He asked.

“Well…it’s not that I’m not happy but I went over to the neighbour’s place and I…suddenly wished I had a sibling, even if it’s one.” She said.

“Do you know what darling? Sometimes, we want something but we can’t have it, not because we don’t deserve it but because it’s not meant to be.” Her father said.

“Does it mean that I’m not meant to have a sister or a brother?” Lois asked.

“Let’s skip the subject Lois, it’s making your mom uncomfortable.” Her father said.

Lois looked at her mother, she was staring fixedly at her food.

“Sorry mom…” She said.

Her mother looked at her and gave her a small smile.

“Can I go up to my room now? I need to lie down.” Lois said.

“But you haven’t finished your food…” Her mother started.

Lois picked up her plate and walked out of the dinning room, leaving her parents, baffled.

**********

Amelia and Jeff ate dinner silently, each in a different world. Jeff texted Ashanti as he ate while Amelia went through her Facebook and Instagram updates. They heard the sound of a car outside.

“Oh my goodness! Those people are back.” Amelia groaned.

“They are your parents, don’t you forget.” Jeff answered.

“They are hardly around and I’ve gotten so used to having it that way. I hate it when they come home and start bugging me.” Amelia said.

At that point, her mother stepped into the dinning room and stooped to scoop a spoonful of food from Jeff’s plate.

“I’m starved…where’s Kate? How come she’s not placed my food on the table yet?” Their mother shouted.

“Good evening mom.” Amelia and Jeff echoed.

Their mother chewed her food and stared at Amelia’s plate.

“Amelia! That plate is full! What are you? An elephant? Share that food in three portions, right away!” Her mother said aloud.

“But mom, I didn’t eat lunch and…” Amelia started.

“No excuses! I don’t know how to explain to people that my sixteen-year-old wears a size fourteen.” Her mother said.

“I’m seventeen already.” Amelia reminded.

“It’s still the same. Sixteen and Seventeen are the same.” Her mother said.

Kate walked into the dinning with a plate of food which she set before Amelia and Jeff’s mother.

“I need to register you at the gym. You need to burn this excess fat.” Her mother continued as she heaped spoonfuls of food into her plate.

“Mom, you know how much I hate the gym.” Amelia whined.

“I really don’t care darling, you are slowing turning into a hippo. Look at you! You’re not even pretty anymore and you’re slowly loosing shape…what am I saying? You’ve lost shape entirely.” Her mother complained.

Amelia had had it, she stood up from the chair and stormed out of the dinning room. Jeff didn’t even lift his head from his phone. Their mother quickly turned to bully Jeff.

“And you, look at how skinny you are. Can’t you eat more that the portion in your plate?” His mother said.

“I’ve eaten a lot more than this.” Jeff said. “These are just leftovers.”

“Stop using your phone at the table or I’ll tell your dad to stop paying for internet.” His mother said.

Jeff sighed and stood up from his chair.

“Don’t tell me you’re done eating too.” She said.

“Yes mom…thanks mom.” Jeff said and hurried out of the dinning.

“What in the world is wrong with these children? They aren’t even thrilled to see me at home, instead, they’re running off like I have some sort of contagious disease.” Their mother said to herself.

 

To be continued….

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