I remember that day like it was yesterday. Actually, what I should say is I would never forget that day. For who can forget a day like that? It was literally, imprinted into my being, etched into my memory.
I remember that it was morning, and the chickens were done crowing and were now wandering around the compound, cacophonously demanding their breakfast. The kids in the house would have done so with just as much blustering too, if they had any energy to muster. They sat hungry around the kitchen, looking at everything and nothing. They knew better than to complain. My mother, in the midst of preparing the morning ogi, hurriedly pressed a hundred naira bill into my palms to get our usual akara from the street’s confectioner, Iya Basira. I ran along as I did so, inhaling the musty scent of the dust my feet disturbed. I loved mornings.
I remember the familiar sights I saw on the street. Mallam, grinding his chewing stick vigorously in the mill of his mouth, hanging the baba dudu seductively around his small shed like Christmas lights. He spat a murky brown mess and it narrowly missed Aunty Kate, a teacher, who always swept the road in front of her school every morning. She would get up and curse at him, as she would always do, and he would rain hausa tainted abuses on her, starting with ‘I’, as he would always do. I skipped past them all. Baba Funke was sitting by his radio, with his threadbare Ankara wrapper loosely tied round his waist, flaunting his distended belly. He was listening to high life and cleaning the glass bottles he would eventually sell to groundnut sellers. I remember I was waving at him, trying not to notice the other body parts his torn wrapper failed to conceal, when it happened.
It was like the slow motion effect in movies. I could even hear the soundtrack of a whistle, as the launched missile flew towards me. It hit my head with a gusty splat, spewing its contents all over my face. Some of it started to trickle towards my mouth, but I did not move. No. I stood there, arm raised, still, like the statue of Jesus in church. I knew what it was; the stench was familiar. I didn’t even need to look down to know that it would be tied up in a black nylon. I and my friends had done it before, it was common practice. There were no toilets back in school; there were no toilets here either. How were we expected to relieve ourselves? Thousands of times I have shit inside a black nylon, wrapped it, and thrown it with all my strength into the bushes. We even gave it a name: shotput.
Today, I stand at the Mobil filling station, clutching my empty jerry can. It is the only one I can afford to fill. My eyes blur as I stare at the bold newspaper headlines- Fuel Subsidy Removal. I have been looking at it too long. All I can think of is what Toju and Tosan’s school fees would look like next week. Not to mention the cost of their transportation. Food. They would need new shoes, new clothes…my head starts to ache, calculating the new cost of living that my barely-there salary would have to cover. That familiar feeling starts to rise.
I remember that day like it was yesterday. Actually, what I should say is I would never forget that day. For who can forget a day like that? Not when the government stays continuously shitting on our faces.