I woke up excited this morning; I’ve never been this happy in my life. Everything seems just perfect. The usually hot Kano weather seems cool today. Wondering why I’m this excited? Here’s why.
My name is Obinwanne and I am from the eastern part of Nigeria. My twin, Obinna and I were born over two decades ago to our parents after thirteen years of marriage. Growing up, our parents made sure we had everything we needed. Obinna was my brother, best friend and confidant. Our parents never allowed us play with other children in the village for fear of being hurt. Ours was a closely knit family. As busy as papa was, he usually made out time during which they told us lots of interesting stories, taught us songs in our dialect, etc. They taught us to be there for each other. Unlike many twins, they rarely brought up the issue of who, between the two of us was older or younger.
Things changed shortly after we turned six. Mama called Obinna and I into the hut and broke the news. Papa had committed an ‘aru’ and as tradition required, we could no longer live in the village we had grown to love. We had fallen from being the family many people admired to being outcasts, ‘osu’ as they called us. None of us slept that night. Papa remained on his chair all night while mama sat on the floor weeping and lamenting. Obinna and I sat next to her and at some point, we joined her in crying. We were crying, not because we understood the situation at hand, but because we had never seen papa and mama in that state.
Early the next day, we took as many of our belongings as we could and left for mama’s village, just 3 villages away from ours. This was to become our new home for the next four years. With time, we settled down but our family never remained the same again. Papa’s health took a drastic turn too, our once very strong father became sickly. Fortunately, mama was a hard working woman so she assumed the role of bread winner of our home. She would go to thefarm, go to the market to sell her produce, cook, take care of papa and somehow, still find time to play with my twin and I.
One morning, we were awakened by a piercing scream from mama. Our father had died in his sleep. Papa was gone! Mama’s sorrow knew no bounds. Soon after that, family members began to troop in and burial arrangements were made and few weeks later, papa returned to Mother Earth.
Mama was worst hit by papa’s death. She became a shadow of her former self. She could no longer provide for us and in no time, feeding became a problem. Her relatives began to mount pressure on her to re-marry so she could take care of us and move on with her life; but she refused. She kept saying she needed more time to mourn her husband. Things got really difficult, so mama brought up the idea of going to live with relatives in the city… An idea which we opposed vehemently. After much persuasion, we agreed to it, not knowing what was in store for us. We later found out we were going to have to live away from our mother and from the other twin! Obinna was sent to Lagos while I was sent to Kano.
In Kano, I stayed with an uncle who was a trader in Kofar Ruwa market. I followed him to the shop everyday and in no time, I had learned the tricks of the trade. Years later, my uncle got married so I decided to get a place and start my own business with the little money I had gathered. That was how I got a room in Sabon Gari, a suburb of Kano. I also got a stall in Sabon Gari market.
With time, my business began to yield profits so I began to take in young boys for apprenticeship. Nnamdi was one of my apprentices. He was known all over Sabon Gari for his violence and the very notorious company he kept. Each time I scolded him about getting into trouble, he always had a story to tell, never forgetting to add that it was the devil at work.
During this time, mama re-married and gave birth to two children for her new husband. Obinna and I rarely kept in touch, I missed my family. Sometime last month, I spoke with Obinna over the phone… Imagine how elated I was when he mentioned his plans to visit me in Kano! I began to prepare and look forward to it. I was going to see my twin at last! We chatted late into the night, from family to business to spirituality and most of all, mama’s attitude towards us since she re-married. That was how I woke up in this mood I’m in this morning.
We still have lots of catching up to do. Fourteen years away from each other is no child’s play. We have missed each other!
By the way, Nnamdi was involved in a huge fight with some other boys in the market so they were all taken to the Police Force Headquarters in Bompai. Contrary to my wish, I decide to go bail him. I quickly have my bath and prepare to leave for Bompai. Obinna asks to accompany me but I insist he stay back to relax after a tiring journey the previous day.
As I dash out of the house, all I can think of is everything my family and I have been through in the twenty five years of our life. I’m excited… God has finally answered my prayers. I can’t wait to be done with the station and head back home to my twin, the only person I have left in the world. I alight from the okada in front of the Police Force Headquarters and I’m met by the usual hustle and bustle that obtains there. Then I enter the compound and there’s this loud and ground-shaking blast…
(All characters, names and events in this story are fictional and a creation of the writer’s imagination. Any resemblance to any real persons or occurrences is simply a coincidence).
Oghogho Omorotionmwan is a freelance blogger who enjoys gisting, sleeping and surfing the net. She is also very interested in fashion. she is currently a Geology major at the University of Benin, Benin-city. You can also follow her on twitter: @owggee