𝗧𝗛𝗘 day we left our village for Ore, it was raining heavily. The rain in its long silver strokes hit the asphalt and shattered like broken china, as they did, they rose like small fountains on the road. I rested my head on the side screen of papa’s car and counted the fountains as mama and papa chatted excitedly. They were discussing the new house . That we would have to repaint the rooms and fix the ceiling , we aren’t going to use pit toilets , the bathroom would be shared with the family of a tenant , the market isn’t far from the house …. It all ran in my head, throwing me into a mixture of excitement and wonder. The township i and Teju chatted about didn’t include all they had listed. I expected much from the township but to an extent. When we arrived at our new house(has i still call it when speaking with Teju on the phone), we met our co–tenant, she helped us with our packing without us asking and said : don’t mention, countless times. That day our relationship started and it grew delicately.
After many weeks papa had settled in his new school, mama had put up a shed in the front of our yard where she sold fish and raw foods, the woman that helped us turned out to be mama Dare, papa dare ran the little shop in front of the house , Tutu and Dara were the children of mama Dare, the house next to us was our landlord’s. I was happy with everything we had, shared in the house. Our house would fit perfectly into the picture of a flat but we didn’t have water in the house, we fetched from a well in the front of our house and we shared the bathroom and toilet with mama Dare’s family with their house next to ours on the same compound owned by a landlord. The space between both houses is just wide enough for a medium size freezer , the space we kept our waste bin and a wooden platform where we wash our cloths.
We called Papa Dare ‘the tailor’ and when we did , he would smile showing his gaped teeth. My father and him became friends and they loved to chat at the front of our house in the evening when mama Dare and my mother would sit in her shed and discuss things on the street , i would sit on a low stool and play ludo with Dare and his little sister would play with sand. I am five years older than Dare but we were friends. He ran errands for me at times and i help him out with his home works when i had the chance. Aina was the name of Mama Dare’s cousin. She was lived with them and walked in a medicine store down at the next street to ours. My mother was very cheerful and open handed to mama Dare when she needs anything. ‘ Mama Joshua give me three rows of fish’ she would say and reach for it on the table where rows where arranged. My mother would smile and beckon on me to add ‘that’ cup of crayfish for free to what Mama Dare got and mama Dare would say : Thank you, God bless. Papa Dare was a plus to us. My father and i mended cloths for free at his shop and last Christmas ‘𝘢𝘨𝘣𝘢𝘥𝘢’ was sewn at his shop with no penny to it. We were happy people, i begin to feel we were designed to meet. Aina was only a thorn in flesh, she was the one who won’t return greetings, stay longer in the bathroom and come out wet with water and pass by you with your bucket. It all happened when our landlord fixed a tap and connected it to his house. We were glad because it brought a lasting solution to the water. Our well was deep and dry at some times , so we were happy.
For many weeks we shared the tap , we fetched from it on turns. I filled our water drums during the evening and in the morning. Mama Dare did her fetching in the afternoon .
Aina helped her with fetching of the water most of the times and on some days Dare did.
On this early morning, it was cold and the floor of the ground was wet with dews, i gathered our buckets to fetch water from the tap. To my astonishment Aina was fetching from the tap( she doesn’t wake at early hours), i greeted her but she didn’t respond, she was filling a bucket and the next bucket was on the floor. When the bucket she was filling was filled to the brim, she set the next bucket and walked to their house. I stared at the bucket as it was filled to the brim, i carried it and set it on the ground. I put my bucket under the tap and began to fill it. I was engrossed in what i was filling when i heard a light sound and an hotness on my cheek and pain spread through my body. I turned to see Aina who just slapped me hiss. ‘ you removed my bucket from the tap, so we can’t fetch water again in this house’ she said and i tried to tell her what happened when my parents came to see what happened, as if they were waiting, mama Dare and Papa dare came in. When i told them what happened and what i did. Mama Dare broke my confusion , she said that the bucket Aina was using was broken at the bottom and the water was gone due to leakage.
The air of the incidence dragged on for weeks, it wasn’t because Aina didn’t apologize , it was because the landlord blocked the flow of water to the tap due to the fight. Whenever my mother made reference to dry tap and the role Aina played in it , mama Dare was on the defensive. It wasn’t long when Mama Dare stopped chatting with my mother and papa Dare stopped speaking to my father . it was as if we were the reason why the landlord blocked the tap. After some times they began to return greetings but our bond of friendship was shattered and the pieces were never in place again.
Oladejo Victor Olayemi is a budding artist and a secondary school
graduate. He lives in Ore, Odigbo, Ondo state and wrote in via email@example.com