First Class Boarder

Everyone has problems; including ten-year olds like me. My problem, that rainy Sunday afternoon in 1997, was separating those filthy beans from my precious rice. Sometimes I wonder why God created some things; things like beans, mosquitoes and flies – they are good for nothing, if you ask me.

Even though mama was well aware that beans and I don’t mix, she, for some reason, could not get enough of them. If it was not beans and rice, it was yam and beans or beans and fried plantain. As my mum got more creative with new ways to prepare beans, I got better at my skill of separating them from whatever combination she came up with. On the days she cooked beans pottage or beans soup, I’d be stranded and father, when he was around, would provide an alternative meal for me (which usually riled my mum) but when he was not, I would starve till the next meal.

Little boys are usually cats and mouse with their sisters; I had two brothers (one elder; one younger) and no sister. However, I wouldn’t say my mum took the place of my sister in my life, as regards the cat and mouse thing but she and I – we knew how to get on each other’s last nerve without much effort. It was her nerve that was on the receiving end that Sunday in August.

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