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Aunty Rebe

  "ngwa show me your hand. " aunty Rebe loomed over me,  "gosim aka gi o'so" she thundered at me again.  shamefully and with my heart pounding, i stretched forth my oily palms displaying them gingerly for her inspection. "oh so you have started stealing okwia a?
e n'azu ohi n'ulo m" she repeated in igbo to emphasize her anger. for a mili second i forgot my pain and tried figuring out how she could tell i was a thief by merely looking at my palms. "was she into sorcery? " my mind pondered. 

   i was dumb struck. my entire oral organs failed me. my mind was telling Aunty Rebe to listen to me, screaming for her to look at my face closely and know that i was innocent of the crime her hand reading magical power accused me of, to trust me more knowing i had never stolen in my life.
but did she listen?
  the first slap landing on my right cheek grazing my upper lip and right ear turned deaf ears to my pleas and the second slap grazing my right cheek again, this time precisely, reinforced Aunty Rebe's doubt. the knock she gingerly planted on the cone of my head, the same spot Ikedi my bestfriend swore housed the most valuable part of the human brain, produced in my ears, the "shiiiiiiiiiii" noise our radio made when it was out of frequency and the beating that followed jointly convinced me Aunty Rebe thought me a thief.
that, and the pains all over my body caused me to cry that night, going to bed without eating the bonga fish abundant porridge plantain i had spent hours preparing for dinner.
 
now, nearly fourteen years later, i sat I'm front of the same house i had shared with Aunty Rebe since i was a little kwashiokored child of two, washing a pile of dirty clothes that would put "Mistuche", the local dry cleaner to shame.
as i scrubbed passionately the under arm of a once-was-white-now-yellow cotton blouse belonging to Aunty Rebe, i suddenly felt the need to ease myself. "this better not be my period" my mind whispered cautiously and completely ignoring the tell tale signs my system gave, continued to scrub the next blouse, a sky blue polo with "Adieu Mama oma, Sleep Well". my stomach ceased it's moaning for awhile and a tune of a popular makossa song came into my mind... in my own version;
"kiyamama kiyamama turururya ah weh tuuyaa. hey hey hey hey hey awilo lokomba kpeku kpeku bambam jewa lawi i really wallawalla hey i buy kulikuli dem no give me change.."
it took my strongest will to refrain from breaking out into the makossa dance,  for i feared aunty Rebe could possibly stumble on me whilst engaged in the vigorous dance. that, i knew would mean temporary death for me as she'd beat me till i ran out of breath, let me get some fresh air and continue the process till she was convinced the evil spirit of Makossa had fled my soul for good.
the pain in the stomach stung again as i felt a trickle of something thick and liquid trail my lap and fall on my panty. definitely my stupid period, i rolled my eyes as i clutched my groaning stomach. i needed two capsules of Ibuprofen to grind my menstrual cramps to a halt.
leaving the clothes in reckless abandon, i hurriedly walked to Og'emeka, the street chemist to get the painkiller.
walking back home from Og'emeka's store, i noticed an unusual silence from our house. it was the type of silence that usually came with something dark, like death or a thorough beating. it was most likely the latter i figured as i saw Aunty Rebe's black "Guchie" slippers in front of the entrance door and before i could think of a logical way to express to my aunt my absence on duty, she was out of the door.
"goo-g-goo-good aftnun ma" i stammered, eager to appear brave.
"aftunu gbuo kwa gi ebahu " she thundered in reply.
"k'ebi si abata otua? " she demanded, displaying her palms like Fada, the church priest at St. Anthony's did when he gave the prayers before communion.
before i could explain as i had constructively outlined in my head, a slap as dirty as sin, threw me off balance erasing every word of excuse i had managed to gather all these years. her hands and feet told the rest of the story with her mouth spitting out words like,  "anupama ",  "ewu", "amusu", "e bu nno itibólibò. as she kicked and hit me with every bit of dark energy she had bottled up within her.
i really wanted to endure through the assault, i knew by now my face would have been swollen and my hands and backs would capture ugly wounds to forever remind me of this day even as they scarred.
i also was feeling the most excruciating pain i'd ever felt. maybe it was because i was also going through my period cramps, maybe not. but then Aunty Rebe went and called my mother a "whore whose offspring was equally following in her footstep.  " as she dealt a blow on my back.
hearing her disrespect my late mother hit a spot in me i never knew was there. blindly i charged for aunty Rebe as she had turned her back on me to retrieve the stick she had at some point of the assault gotten hold of. i knocked her down on the ground hitting her abdomen with my fists clenched tightly. Aunty Rebe yelped, more out of surprise than pain at that moment i presumed.
by now you should know i do everything passionately and this was no exception. i put every little bit of anger, pain and frustration aunty Rebe had caused me since i began to remember; that day i was four and she accused me of stealing five thousand naira from her room when i'd clearly been eating boiled yam and palm oil in front of the house,  almost at the same spot i currently had her pinned down and had been dealing blows for minutes now.
by now aunty was making grunt-like noises with her throat because from the sight of my lips she wasn't able to move them let alone talk.
tears, hot tears harassed my eyes as i looked at my red palms, at my aunt and what i had done. i got up from her unmoving body and sat beside her crying, allowing the tears harass me. "why are you even crying?"  the angry voice in my head, the same small voice i'd neglected these fourteen years plus and which some minutes ago grew in strength bellowed. "she deserves this, she deserves what came to her",  the angry voice continued.
and with this strong conviction, i went inside the house, gathered my things and left for the lonely road.
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