Literary Yard

Search for meaning

My earliest childhood memories

By: Sedo Elijah Ebinne

“I remember playing outside my house with my very good friend. It was afternoon and the clouds which shielded the hot rays of the sun were a dull ash. I knew that the rains anytime now would come. We were playing in a sand box with a diameter of about a small pond in the playground beside the dining window. There were swings and slides that had a reddish brown colour on the insides and around. We were very little children of a few years old. We didn’t mind the dirt just as we didn’t mind swallowing a few pebbles and licking the sweet ruddy sand when we thought no one was looking. Our mothers were a good distance away sprawled out in a soccer mum fashion that only mothers who had given birth to children managed to pull off. It was a semi-sitting semi-lying position that made them look relaxed while all at once they were watching us intently with shaded eye while bumping away to a song on mama’s small radio, book in hand. It was a beautiful cool day and me and my best friend Mia had just finished being pushed by our mums on the swing sets that hung millimetres off the ground. We had a nice time that afternoon particularly because I liked Mia so and also because we spent a good part of our playtime ingesting red sand while our mothers sat out unaware of our activities. I was the perpetrator of this idea you see the sand licking venture because I believe every child deep down has a desire to lick the contents of the shiny floor that to our absolute horror was declared out of bounds. We went to the slides next following each other to come out of the tunnel-shaped opening and slide down the warm silver that skidded down to the bottom of the slide. The adults, Mia’s mum and mine we observed, had left their reading to enjoy their lunch which they took out of our lunch boxes. I looked at Mia with an eye of silent horror at what the two of us were witnessing. You see, I thought that our mums were getting a bite out of the snacks they had kept for us. I stared at Mia who I expected would share the same semblance of horror as I. She however went back to the assignment she had given herself which was filling the toy plastic containers we had found in the play ground with tea and dressing little sticks with leaves and twigs to resemble little girls. In fury, I waddled to the place where our parents were, a coupling of seats under a shade of mahogany tress where they sat, oblivious of my presence with juice boxes in hand. I got to where they sat and with righteous gusto, slapped the Ribena out of each of their hands. The juice boxes tumbled and fell leaving a trail of purple liquid that seeped out of the open end. I looked across the field and saw Mia watching me. She looked so innocent sitting there with her pink and baby blue dress she wore to the park that day. In front of her Princess Fiona was busy enjoying her noonday snack with her royal court of sticks and stones. My activities obviously did not bother Mia but at that moment she looked up and at me from across the park. I saw something in her eyes that day. Something that said well done in a quite almost unsure sort of way and I knew that Mia was happy that I had handled the situation even though she wasn’t too keen about setting the situation right herself. So I was left on my own when the scolding started. My mum particularly wanted to know what had gotten over me to hit the juice box out of her hand like that. I wanted to tell her, like really explain to her how she and her friend had no right to go through my things but all that kept coming out of my mouth were babblings and “baby goo goo” and words which lacked any comprehension. It was the way Mia talked but I had no idea while despising it that I talked the same babbling nonsensical way. The women looked as if they were confused for a while but then as if a puff of gas had been released into the air, they broke out laughing. Yes laughing. You should have seen them. Laughing at me while I watched, fury bristling in my lungs at the two women who just ate my lunch. My mum had long eyelashes and short black hair that stopped at her nape. Mia’s mum wore hers in an Afro and had long eyebrows that completed a swarthy dimpled face. “Go on now Bobo. Go and play, Mama said and laughing said to the other woman “I think he thinks it’s his own. That’s why he looks so upset.” ” Is that not true, bobo? ” She asked with just a glance at me and unbelievably continued her discussion with her friend as if I was not even there. I sulked back and when I came to my sand box I realized that Mia was done with lunch with her toys and had started dirtying her clothes. By this I mean that she was speedily applying sand from the ground and rubbing on her pink and blue gown. I sat on the ground silently beside her. She looked at me with big brown eyes and long lashes and smiled and held out a lump of damp sand in her hand. Sorry. I stretched out my hand and she opened hers putting the sand into it. Well okay thanks. She then looked at me and chuckled and continued with her enterprise going for her hair, her thick braided her that had ribbons tightly knotting it at the end. She didn’t care about a thing as she caked the sand around and around until she looked positively like a mudded squirrel, with her hair sticking out on end. The clouds were no longer blocking the sky and out behind the sky came sheets of golden sunlight rays that bathed Mia in light. She waved her hands like only a little girl could and fingered her now dirty ginger braids. My best friend is pretty I said to myself. A little disloyal and a big foodie but my friend every bit of it. “


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