He was four years old when he accompanied his mother to a school which she taught at. She taught grades one and two. Pupils just loved to move their hands on his orange hair whenever he was with them in class. Poor sod had to pretend to love what they did because he had no one to be with, no friends back home. He’d listen to sounds which animals made, tractors and other automobile sounds. He never knew why there was school, why the class was always packed to capacity or why there are children older than he who had to attend school, or why he had to be alone, as a child, with his grandmother. He felt alone because there was no one his age to play with or to talk to.
Sometimes, he looked at the learners, watched as they moved their hands on his hair and thought like screaming so as his mother should punish them, but he knew if he ever did that, he may be the one to get kicked out of the school’s premises because he was a minor. Also because he had the knack of being a nuisance to his parents and brothers.
He lived with one brother who attended school with mom every day of the week except on week ends. Desperate times called for desperate measures and he could hear his family lamenting the fact that he went to bed too early so as to wake up early and cry when they’re about to leave for work and other commitments. Though young, he like the attention bestowed on him by The Kids.
Yes! The Kids became the term he coined for people who made him forget most if not all things precarious. He was tired of running straight into the house whenever he saw a bull. He had seen eat gorge other bulls and it wasn’t an exciting sight. He had nightmares of it and his grandmother told his parents it’ll be better if he spent some time at school with The Kids.
From the day he had heard them discussing the possibility, he found himself waking up at four like he was going to work. But at ten in the morning he’ll be sleeping tight like a baby he was and the kids found him very cute in his sleep. That he realised after he pretended to be in deep sleep. He never got to spend most of his time with them because he had to be at home whenever grandmother was around.
He hid under the shade of the mud-house and watched aeroplane, hot-air-balloons pass in the sky. When the sun shone in his face, he knew once and for all, that he had to move. There was history behind his family’s mud-house and he never knew or cared. All he knew; it was mom and dad’s home. This he told his father’s friends when he felt like they wanted to take him for a ride. They, never cared about what he said to them. All they saw was a kid trying to know more about people and life. Or vis-a-vis. He just loved to have fun and whenever he brought attention to himself, he sometimes missed the mark. A bull’s eye mark. A mark of a beast he feared the most.Since his secret was out, he never wanted to hear any man mention it. He soiled himself playing with toy cars ‘til he had enough. The only time he got called in-house was when he had to be served. He loved food and his passion got to be seen whenever he tucked into some juicy-bits.
His elder brother only got to see them when there was civil-unrest, when schools were closed for the holidays. When he was around, he’d be very glad because he knew how to make kids feel special. He also liked him because he protected him from the bull. Thus whenever the brother from the city was around, he could play wherever he liked. One evening after their family had finished eating and washing the dishes and were about to go to sleep, his mother saw a car moving slowly by the road — about a kilometre where their house was. She quickly instructed everybody in the house to get ready to run to school because she had just spotted a suspicious vehicle parked at the road. When they all looked at the road, indeed, the car had parked on the edge of the road and was facing east.
Kids cried while running after a brother from the city. Told them to be quiet but they kept crying ’til they arrived at school. They knocked on the principal’s door and told him what was going on. He opened his study room and told them to hide in there ‘til morning comes. Their mother and grandmother came minutes later — to their relief. One person was missing though; their uncle. He was said to had been stubborn and chose to hide somewhere in the bushes than risk being caught by thugs.
He had drunk himself to a stupor and could barely move. It was month end and they had to have fun. They had fun every month end because during the month, they had no choice but to work hard. The following day the went to the house and found it was ransacked but upon close inspection, they found all their belongings intact. It was like the would-be thugs were nothing but; wet-behind-the-ears-chancers.
No more than six moths after they were nearly robbed that they moved out of their community to a more secure neighbourhood with their relatives nearby. Orange-Hair’s boredom became a thing of the past as he now had friends to play with. But his naughtiness never ceased to cause his family pain because every other week came people complaining to his parents about his unbecoming behaviour. All he ever heard was;
‘He’s naughty and we don’t know when he’d be old enough to attend school.’