Oju Yobo: Episode One

-1-

If you happen to be born in a typical comfortable Yoruba family, you would probably be able to relate with the feelings I had bottled up within me right now. 

My name is Abike, I am the youngest child of my parents. I have three other siblings and we do not ever have to struggle to fit into the same pairs of shoes, skirts, or even share menstrual pads as I happen to be the only girl. Two of my elder brothers are in a university in the North leaving just I and my immediate elder brother at home with our parents. 

How dare I think of menstrual pads at this point? 

I was doomed for, my mother I was certain would not forgive herself. She was a teacher in a government owned primary school not too far from our home. My father on the other hand would shout with that voice of his that somehow always shook me to my bones. I was sure he would kick me out of the house when he was done with his shouting spree. He would also call me an ingrate and tell every of his co-workers at his tailoring shop of my disgraceful act. 

I know this because my immediate elder brother Tunji had fallen victim when mother caught him hanging out with some guys who seemed to be thugs. The guys had been smoking and drinking and he had sat in their midst playing the popular game of cards – Whot. 

My parents had taken it to a totally different level. Tunji had been forced to have a talk with the Reverend after Sunday service the following week. Mother had gone on lamenting about how she could have done a better job at training him. Father on the other hand had done practically all I am sure he would do again. 

And this was despite them not catching Tunji smoking or drinking.

I was almost home and I knew just what to do. It was sad, hard and painful but it was for the greater good.

Spending my lunch money on the popular otapiapia was a decision I had made after much thought. My mother had always gone on and on about how the popular insecticide was dangerous, she was always particular about the proper washing of our hands after any physical contact with otapiapia. 

The light weight of the three bottles in the nylon I held was a huge contrast to the heaviness that filled my soul. I had made it a conscious effort to remind myself ever since I made the decision that this was all for the greater good. 

Everything would get better, things would be different after all this. The pain would be gone, the sadness would be a tale of the past. This mess would no longer have me entrapped. 

How could I be in this mess? I was only seventeen, scratch that. I was going to be seventeen in two months time, but two months is as good as now, was it not? 

“Oju yobo,” 

I knew that voice, and talk about your worst nightmare, this was mine. I quickened my footsteps even though somewhere in my head I knew it was pointless. 

“Oju yobo,” the voice screamed, sounding much louder this time. 

I hated that name but somehow it had gotten to stay, everyone called me that, even my family. My big eyes that appeared to want to escape the comfort their sockets provided was the sole explanation.

Personally I do not agree that my eyes are that big, at least Iya Sikiru who sells amala on our street has more prominent eyes. Even Kehinde who used to be our neighbour before his family moved to Akure had bigger eyes. My parents and siblings on the other hand have really small eyes which leaves me to wonder where I inherited mine from. 

My late grandfather was the first person to call me Oju Yobo, it was more like he had then given every other person the license to call me same as well. 

You do not want to witness a scenario when my father calls me this name that has come to stay. There is this annoying smile plastered on his face each and every single time. Believe me, I am not exaggerating when I say his smile is annoying. 

I sometimes manage to smile back at him but of course the smiles I return are simply to earn extra money or favours. It irks me more whenever he calls me ‘Oju Oju’. I mean, who does that? 

“Big head.” 

Her loud voice sounded like she had directly positioned her mouth into my ears this time.

“Didn’t you hear me calling you?” Fisayo asked amidst pants. 

I knew she was going to catch up with me, I had not bothered looking back to check how far away from me she was initially. I was not in the mood for her antics, she was my friend but sometimes she gave me some extra headache as homework after my encounters with her.

“Answer na,” She spoke with a plea to her tone, this time placing her left hand on my shoulder. 

“I heard you, sorry,” I replied. But why did my voice suddenly sound weird?

I had not spoken to anyone since I left Azeez’s house. I had not met him at home and could not call him as I had a flat battery on my Nokia palasa phone. My father had abandoned the phone for over a year and I had dismantled and tweaked it back to life some months ago.

Which reminds me, I am yet to tell you about Azeez. He is the reason I am in this mess, it is so him.

“Were you crying?” Fisayo asked and raised my head while wearing a look that seemed like she was trying to analyze something. 

It was similar to what my mother did a number of times with my brothers especially when she suspected that they had gotten into a fight. 

“Tell me jooor, you know I’m your best friend.”

I gave her a stern look, she was not my best friend even though she always claimed to be. I had no best friend, all I had were few friends and my family. 

Fisayo was however the only friend I had known for a longer portion of my life, but that still did not make her qualify for the best friend position as far as I was concerned. 

“Why does your mind keep traveling?” Fisayo asked, “I know you have been crying, I can tell from your voice.” 

Her persistence was annoying. 

“What’s wrong Abike?”

She called me my real name.

I immediately felt a contraction in my heart almost at the same time when I felt warm from the stream of tears that greeted my face.

“I want to die, Fisayo.” I cried loudly. 

I totally did not care that we were on the road and people could be watching. All I wanted was to let out this pain. 

“I just have to die.”

To be continued

You can read the complete story for free on Okadabooks. Visit: 

https://okadabooks.com/book/about/oju_yobo_/13576

Episodes will be uploaded on blog every Monday and Thursday, 9am (GMT +1.00) πŸ˜‰

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6 thoughts on “Oju Yobo: Episode One

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