KESANDU (Part 1)
'Kesandu!...Kesandu come and eat o.'
He reluctantly got up and tucked his shirt in properly. He ran a finger through his tangled uncombed hair,cursing under his breath as he navigated his way through the muddy ground which was now slippery because it had been raining nonstop all morning.
He scooped water with his cupped hands from the broken paint bucket that stood beside the house which his mother had used to collect the water from the rain to rinse his feet.
'Who is there...Kesandu is that you?' He heard his mother ask.
He sighed, ' Yes ma.'
'Aren't you coming to eat?'
He hurriedly washed the mud off his feet and hands and splashed some water across his face.
'Are you deaf?!'
'I'm coming ma.'
He stood in the doorway of the small dingy room that strongly reeked of urine because his little sister Kenu had wet the bed the previous night and the mattress couldn't be taken outside because of the humid weather.
'Move you are blocking the light Kesandu!' His mother commanded,turning from her needlework to look at him for the first time since he arrived.
He moved away from the door and stood near the window where his three siblings were crouched over a bowl of porridge. The way they ate ravenously and with filthy hands made him want to throw up so he looked away.
'Aren't you eating?' His mother asked,studying him.
He slowly shook his head.
'No,I'm not hungry.'
She eyed him suspiciously.
'Let me guess,you ate in Tunde's house again today...right? Beggar!'
She seemed to spit the word at him.
'I didn't go to Tunde's house.'
'If you didn't go to Tunde's house Kesandu why are you not hungry. You were the one lamenting that you were so hungry you could eat a horse before you went out and now you are suddenly not hungry?'
He looked from her to his siblings who were now all staring at him seemingly waiting for a fight to break out between his mother and him and turned towards the door.
'I'm going out.'
His mother scoffed.
'You are not stepping a foot outside that door until you tell me whose food you ate,beggar.'
He knew his mother didn't mean it that he was a beggar,she was just fishing for answers as was her style,but it didn't stop the word from stinging so bad.
' I said I didn't eat ma,why won't you believe me!'
'Are you yelling at mom?' A little voice smirked.
He turned to face the little girl that spoke. She was staring wildly at him,her lips puckered in mock anger. Trust Kenu to add embers to burning fire.
'Mind your business miss loose bladder before I jab your face in that bowl of porridge.'
'Let him be,the disrespectful thing. His own children will yell at him too,then he will know how it feels.'
Kenu sneered and turned away from him,a satisfied look plastered on her face. Kesandu shook his head in disbelief. How was it possible that his mother fell for Kenu's tricks over again when it was common knowledge she was the queen of scheming.
He turned towards his mother.
'I'm sorry ma,I wasn't trying to be disrespectful.'
'You sure weren't trying...' His mother muttered.
'May I go out now?'
She looked up from the cloth she was mending and seemed to stare him down.
'Can you not stay in your father's house? We make you uncomfortable? Is that it? Other children are happy to spend time with their families but not my son,He must always look for where to go to avoid helping out. Do you want people thinking you are homeless?'
Kesandu shifted his weight uncomfortably about,refusing to meet her angry eyes.
'No one thinks I'm homeless.'
'How would you know what they are thinking eh?'
'I wonder o.' Kenu remarked,beaming with joy that he was in trouble.
Kesandu felt his fists clench. One more word out of her little mouth and she wouldn't know what hit her.
'I'm just going out to help Ma Ireti,It's stopped raining now.' He said,scouting for his slippers in the somewhat dark room.
'Is that why you are wearing your church clothes? Do you know how expensive those are?...'
'I'm sure it's not that expensive,it doesn't even look expensive.' He muttered to himself checking out the cloth on his bodice.
'What was that you said?'
'Ma she doesn't let me touch her stuff unless I'm properly washed and dressed and she always complains that my clothes are dirty,so-'
'That should teach you to wash your clothes better,don't you think?'
'I know how to wash ma,it's just...some stains won't go off,no matter how hard I scrub because they are old,I need new clothes ma.'
Kesandu felt his heart race,why did he just say that? He looked up to find his mother still staring at him,expressionless.
'You want new clothes?' She let out a muffled laugh.
'Well,I'm sure you know life doesn't always hand you what you want. If you want new clothes,make some money and buy yourself new clothes stupid boy.Now change that shirt and get out of my sight before I change my mind and lock you in.'
Kesandu moved quickly,way before his mind could process if he was still in trouble or not. The thought of being locked in was far from appealing. He hurriedly removed the shirt he was wearing and picked up his second best option. He flung the new shirt over his shoulder and headed towards the door,groping with his feet for his slippers.