‘You didn’t have sense when you were small’
‘Gaskiya it’s a lie. See ba, okay. I agree o. But still, I been get sense pass you’ I kept on defending my position.
‘Guy, forget. Me I been get sense. You no even smell sense at all’ Osas kept on insisting.
‘How you go talk that kind thing? Wait jor, make we ask person to judge this matter’.
‘There’s nothing to ju…’
‘I already know the answer’ Ogbeni shouted, interrupting Osas, as he stepped out of his room. Apparently, our argument could be heard by the neighbours since we were sitting in front of our rooms in the compound.
‘Ogbeni abeg go and sleep’ I said.
‘Ehen, no o. Shebi you wanted someone to judge. Ogbeni come and see how this guy doesn’t have sense’.
I already knew this wouldn’t go well.
Osas started narrating the situation at hand. That he, as a kid, was told that if he swallowed the seed of a fruit while he was eating it, it would grow in his tummy. So, one day, after eating some oranges, he gathered the seeds together, went outside, packed a handful of sand and swallowed it all together. Then, drank some water for it to germinate.
I was hearing this story for the second time and it was just as mind boggling as the first, even more so; the intentionality of his dumb decision.
Ogbeni nods his head with a very serious look on his face. He didn’t laugh or break character, like an impartial judge that has just listened to the defence for the accused. He turns to me without flinching or skipping a beat and says, ‘it’s now your turn to tender your case’.
I shake my head first and begin. Apparently, all our parents sold us the same hoaxes; that swallowing seeds would make trees grow in our bellies. When I was told that as a kid, I began to wonder how that was going to play out. After swallowing orange seeds a couple of times – accidentally of course – I thought to myself how long before it would start. I remembered from Agricultural Science in school that an orange tree takes over a year to grow and start bearing fruits. What I wasn’t sure however was how the plant would get soil to germinate. Then I remembered, there were those times I ate food that had little sand particles in it. There were also times I played rough and sand got into my mouth. Perhaps, it would all accumulate and make up the soil required for the plant to grow. Worse still, whenever I drank water, I was actually watering the plant. I didn’t know how long it would take for the signs to start showing. I was getting concerned. Not because I might be pregnant with a tree, but because, we had orange trees in my house. Anyone who’s seen an orange tree knows that, orange trees have thorns. I was getting scared that as the orange tree grew in my belly, the thorns would stab my intestines, stab my throat and I would bleed and die with an orange tree branch sticking out of my mouth.
Ogbeni cleared his throat and was about to give his verdict as to whom he thought was the dumbest kid. When Osas said ‘he’s not done yet. Guy, tell him the second one. Don’t hide. Let everyone hear’. At this point, two of our other neighbours had come out to join us to listen to this Tale By Moonlight. I knew it. I was done for!
‘Okay…’ I continued. I told them how I used to love watching Discovery Channel as a kid. How my favourite shows were Mythbusters, How Do They Do It and Air Crash Investigation. I don’t know if that had anything to do with this, but for some strange reason, I believed our body mechanism was like a machine’s. Like it had gears and pulleys inside with conveyor belts taking food to our intestines for processing. Harmless right? You see, I liked putting stuff in my mouth and playing with it, especially coins. Occasionally, while playing with a coin in my mouth, I would accidentally swallow it. My mother had warned my countless times to stop doing that, but I never listened. I started getting scared, that maybe, all the coins I’ve swallowed would go and jam some of the gears in my body system and the engine wouldn’t function well again. Eventually, my body would malfunction and I would have to be taken to the hospital. I was more scared of how my mum would react if I told her what happened. So, I prayed instead, that God wouldn’t let anything happen to me from swallowing coins.
Everyone bursts out laughing and calling us different shades of dumb. Now I know, I probably just had an overactive imagination.
So, Ogbeni turns to Osas and says, ‘your situation is critical. To have intentionally eaten sand just shows how empty your brain is. Your brain is so empty, your mother didn’t even feel any pain when she was having you’.
‘And you’, he said, turning to me. ‘the angel that was in charge of wiring your brain was playing Ludo while he was doing it that’s why you can be thinking like that’.
‘Both of you still don’t have any sense!’
… and he walked away.
Photo location: Britannia Bridge, Menai Strait, Wales.
Muse: Adanna Omaka