274 members, 100 topics. January 19, 2019, 9:57 am
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Kitchen littered, green peas, diced carrots scattered on the tiled floor, diverse scents of spices caressed my nose leading me to look in the large pot. My face scrunched up in confusion as soon as I came to the realization of what they had cooked.
“Fried rice and chicken again?" I scoffed. This was our national anthem every passing Christmas and to be sincere I was getting fed up of it.
“Mom why fried rice for Goodness sakes!” I demanded.
Mom turned to me with a scowl etched on her brown face.
“Melinda, you should be glad that you’ve got something to eat!” she turned back to dish her food.
I groaned stomping my foot in disgust. I wasn’t going to eat fried rice with them again.
"I should have eaten the turkey meat and Chinese, Charley's mom offered me. " Charley was my childhood friend and we lived in the same neighborhood only that his parents were quite wealthy and so they could afford to travel abroad while we stayed here in Kubwa, Abuja.
To me it was annoying. I wanted their life. I wanted my parents to be wealthy so that i could afford to go anywhere I wanted thus my anger on Christmas morning when I woke to see mom cooking fried rice and chicken.
“You are so ungrateful. Many people wish they could eat rice today but you are privileged to be alive to even eat...." Molly my younger sister said.
“Just shut up! What do you even know!" I screamed at her.
Molly was always the ‘good' child while I played the bad part which made my parents prefer her more than me.
“What’s going on here?" dad's voice boomed in the kitchen. I could feel all eyes on me. But I didn't care.
“Melinda was just complaining about the food we cooked.” She said slyly, her eyes running over my skinny features.
Dad looked at me with disapproval in his eyes. “Prepare, we are going to the orphanage in an hour.” His eyes stayed on mom who was already wolfing down some spoons of rice.
Orphanage? I really don’t understand these people. When there’s no Shoprite, malls, and parks to go, my family, has decided to go to the Orphanage? I was irked.
I walked back to the blue room I’ve known as my bedroom for twenty-one years now. I picked up my Samsung gh360 and dialed Charley's number. I needed to leave the house.
But after three rings, he didn’t pick the call. I became frustrated and bored. I wanted to go elsewhere asides from the crazy suggestion my dad made. After ten minutes of rummaging my contacts, I realized there's no one to spend the Christmas with.
Somehow in the middle of chatting with my instagram contacts, the letters began dancing in my eyes, things became blurry and i drifted into sleep.
I stirred in my sleep; it was as though my name was called from afar. I squinted my eyes, adjusting to the sudden brightness in my room. I wondered why my room was this bright last I remembered my curtains were drawn down to prevent light from entering the room.
“What are you still doing here? Get up! We’re going to the shop.” The voice said.
I jerked up. I wondered what she was talking about. In the first place, we didn’t have a shop. My parents are civil servants. Another thing that amazed me was my mother’s clothes. Even though we were of the average class of family, my mom has never worn what she was currently putting on faded Ankara skirt and blouse. In fact, i had never seen her wear such things.
I sat up on the bed, putting my feet down I felt something pierced my feet.
Glancing down, my mind raced on seeing the Concrete hard floor, my room was small with only one window, and it had lots of clothes hung on the walls of the room like it was a farmer’s room.
“This...this isn't my room," I whispered.
“I hope you aren’t dreaming? The room you’ve been living in, for the past twenty-one years. Will you get up now let’s go to the shop. It’s Christmas and we just might get enough customers.” She walked off, banging the door.
I extended my hands to pick the outfit I had laid on the bed before I went to sleep. But instead of jean and a silver blouse, my eyes fell on some old pair of shorts and a faded pink blouse.
I was perplexed. Not only did the state of my room confuse me but my outfit also confused me. I used the opportunity to touch my head. True to my suspicion, instead of the curly Brazilian weave I had bought for #25,000, I felt plaited cornrows on my head.
Putting on my clothes, I walked out of my room. Still awed by the state of my room, I walked into another surprise that startled me. I realized I was presently living in a one bedroom flat instead of the four-bedroom duplex we lived in.
By the time I stepped out of the house with my mother I became more disgusted with the surrounding I found myself.
“Iya molly happy Christmas o!” A dark woman who would be in her late 40s chanted from the front of her house. My mother waved and shouted ‘Merry Christmas’ in reply.
“Since when did we live in a house filled with many neighbors?" I asked my sister.
“Since when did you start asking dumb questions?” she threw back angrily.
I wondered why she was angry. She had probably found herself in the same situation as I did.
“Let’s go girls.” My mother commanded.
Few hours after we got to a small red container located just within the local neighbourhood. Mom opened the shop and brought out the wares in the shop.
“We sell tomatoes and pepper? No, I can't believe this. This is way too much for me." I placed my hand on my throbbing chest.
“What is wrong with you Ehn? What exactly is wrong with you?” mom dropped one of the containers filled with tomatoes aside as she faced me squarely. I could see anger blazing in her brown eyes.
“You’ve been acting weird all morning. First, you mentioned that your room was not yours, and all that. What’s wrong with you?”
“I...i can't just explain it. I slept in a beautiful house a few hours ago and now I woke up in..."
“In a wrecked, dirty one bedroom apartment?" Molly asked.
I was dazed. I wanted to say something but somehow the words were stuck in my throat.
“Cat got your tongue? What's really wrong with you Melinda? Why are you suddenly asking questions as if you just woke up on another planet?" Molly asked.
“Maybe I did... I did wake up on another planet because this is just not my life!!" I screamed. The whole situation was driving me crazy.
When I saw I was getting nowhere with my questions, I decided to leave the shop to clear my head. I passed by some group of dirty kids who were playing in what I assumed to be their Christmas clothes screaming ‘Father Christmas’.
I couldn't imagine myself living in this place even if we weren't rich enough. The environment was stinking and rugged with an untarred road that raised dust if a vehicle passes.
Few minutes after roaming aimlessly about, I sat under a huge umbrella tree that faced a large refuse dump. What got me surprised were the thatched houses built close to this dump.
I didn’t know such houses still existed in 2018. While still thinking about the state of the houses, a range rover 2017 model drove past me and stopped by the dump.
Watching closely, a middle-aged woman stepped out of the car. I could tell she must be the wife of a rich man because even her fair skin glittered in the sun. She threw something wrapped in black nylon into the bin and drove off.
Just then, about five to six kids ran out from the thatched house towards the dump chanting ‘Happy Christmas!’
I wondered what they were up to. And to my amazement, the kids picked the particular nylon bag and began to bring out what I assumed to be spoilt/remnant food and meat.
But they didn't care, they ate like they hadn't eaten for days. What amused me was the way they sat in a circle and divided the spoils among themselves happily.
I was almost moved to tears when another kid ran out of the house crying. The other kids called out to him and gave him out of what they were eating. He took it happily and sat with them.
I was disappointed in myself. some few hours ago, I had fried rice and chicken at my disposal and a few hours after...
The kids played happily after their meal. I watched them play until nightfall. It was when I found my way to the house I had woken up from that it dawned on me that I was stuck in this world as a pauper.
“Where have you been?” mom asked amidst mouthful.
They were all seated round with a stainless dish at the middle. That was when I noticed dad. He still had the same facial feature only that he looked older.
“I went to clear my head," I replied dully, trying to catch a glimpse of what they were eating.
“Melinda sit and join us. This is what we can afford for Christmas.” Dad added.
I wanted to go back to my room to sleep when my stomach growled reminding me of an empty stomach. I sat beside molly that was busy wolfing down concoction rice and fish.
I almost got angry but I remembered the kids I saw eating at the dump few hours ago. After eating the first spoonful, I realized it wasn't that bad.
So instead of getting angry, I was grateful with the little I had. After dinner, we all went to sleep in the room. Dad slept in the sitting room, mom slept on the floor, while Molly and I slept on the bed.
I could feel Molly's breath grow heavy by the minute. My thoughts drifted to the kids I saw at the dump. I began wishing that I had enough to give to the kids to give them an enjoyable Christmas.
“If only i had the opportunity to go back to my previous life...” i said aloud before drifting to sleep.
“Melinda! Melinda wake up!!”
I squinted my eyes adjusting to the fairly bright room.
“Mom says you should get ready or we will be late for the Orphanage visit.” The voice cut through my thoughts bringing me back to reality.
Realization dawned on me when I sat up. The first thing I felt for was the floor. It was smooth, not rough. My room was painted in beautiful patterns and colors. One more thing, there were no hanging clothes on the wall.
I did the very next thing that came to my mind, I screamed!
Moll, mom, and dad came barging into the room.
“Sis are you okay?”
They chorused. “No..No...I mean yes! I’m just happy! I can't wait to go to the orphanage!" I gestured with my arms upwards.
They simply shook their heads, looked at me strangely and left. I was glad to be back to my real and normal life and I also learned a lesson. I learned to be grateful and share whatever you have with others.
That's the spirit of Christmas! As I wore my clothes to prepare for our visit, I reminded myself to tell Charley about my paranormal Christmas.
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