I'm taking you back to the days when my cheeks were chubby and it was 150 Naira to a dollar. The trees were green and the roads were good and everyone had 2 pieces of meat on their plates.
Those were the days I'd peel my dry eyelids open, shove myself off my mattress and crawl under my mosquito net, to the sweet sound of Mommy's tambourine and sekere. I'd awkwardly limp onto a couch, dressed like a caveman in my wrapper and my over-sized slippers, and sink myself into the poky couch on the far right of my mother's room. I remember that my siblings would be lined up, one swollen face after the other; red eyes, and cold frowns, all (not) very excited about our morning prayers.
Every day followed the other in simplicity and blissful repetition. I took comfort in the monotony of things, but not in the things themselves.
With this one Saturday, came another beautifully orange Ogun-state dawn. The birds chirped, the wind blew, the okadas honked, and the children of the house-young as we all were, found ourselves with brooms in our hands and dust awkwardly kicking at our noses as we swept the compound the way mommy had said we should.
I distinctly remember having remembered a scene from "The passion of Christ" which I had probably watched during devotion that morning, and looking straight up at my mother. After the icy chill in my back had just run down and finally out, I patted the broom and wiped my nose.
"Can I get nailed to a cross?” I asked mommy, with such a determination in my heart that she hastily replied:
"Of course you can, but we don’t have any crosses here”.
Intent as I was on being the mini-messiah, I came up with two nails, my dad's toolbox and a fairly rigid wall to which I wanted to be nailed. My hands were barely as large as the icy metal of the hammer, but I picked it up and carefully gave it to mommy.
"Are you sure you want to do this?”
She accompanied me to the wall, and raised both hands to look like the
crucifix, which was perfectly appropriate given my request. She placed the sharp edge of the nail on my palm, and paused. Mommy stared straight into my eyes as if asking if I was ready, and I eagerly-or should I say stupidly-nodded with such glee, that I could barely conceive what would come next.
My heart was set on feeling what Jesus had felt. The first wave of pain came as mommy slowly pressed the nail against my palm.
With every millimeter it travelled, I felt myself begin to twitch. My palms were sweaty, and my heart was racing. The pain grew to become very strong, very quickly. Mommy saw my eyes water, but she still drove that nail straight into my palm.
I went from battling my doubt in my endeavor, to battling the tears that would come soon after. I quickly lost both battles. Mommy, on the other hand, was winning her battle-against the comfort and general well-being of my palm. Eventually, my battles became unimportant and I screamed for her to stop.
So she stopped, took off the nail, covered up the small opening I had on my left palm
and explained to me that I wasn't expected to die for my sins. This explanation, in my opinion, came much too late.
If you found this funny open your back account and convert your current balance to dollars at 150 Naira to a dollar. Now convert it 400 Naira to a dollar. Wow right! It's my turn to laugh.