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Beautiful Colors of Sin 1: Literature : Nigerialog.com - Nigeria's Premier Online Forum

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Beautiful Colors of Sin 1

By: naijarian (F) |Time : October 14, 2016, 06:12:56 PM
 I am Alice Adeola Bryn, the eldest child in a family of four; my dad, mum, myself and my younger brother, Sean. Back when we were young, people said I looked a lot like my Yoruba dad but did things like my mum. This was something that always left me wondering whether it was a compliment or not. They however claimed that Sean was more like my mum in physical resemblance which also baffled me as mum was a very petite American and Sean was a lanky boy with little freckles.

I grew up with my parents on a quiet street in a suburb town somewhere in western Nigeria called Ibadan. It was a street where everybody minded their own businesses even though we were the only mixed-race children there, no one noticed. The street had rows and rows of buildings so identical that the owners often confused their houses with someone else’s. Lawns and fences, barbed wire and bamboo sticks, shrubs and hedges; all in a neat row like soldiers on parade just to identify which was whose.
Growing up with my parent was fun. Even though we were not rich, our parent did everything they could to make us comfortable and happy. We often traveled to Queens-New York to visit my maternal uncles, it was safe to say we had all we wanted. We attended the best school in the town and our parents showed us great love and affection. We didn’t really care how rich or poor we were because as long as we asked and were given, we were happy.

Everybody on our street addressed themselves as Mr. A or Mrs. B. They went about their various activities with due concentration while their children only looked at themselves over shrubs or through openings in such shrubs or fences and even through the window of their parents’ cars as they drove along the street. We, as what was popularly called half-caste kids, often got the most stares mostly because mum was a white woman.

Ours was a street where the only playmate we had were our siblings, our pets, and our nannies. The longing to go over the fence and play with Mrs. A’s children or shout at Mrs. B’s boys whenever they made their happy noises was ever present. There were times when Sean would crawl under the hedge surrounding our house into the next house to play football with Elijah, our neighbor’s son.
Sean always tuned his frustrations on me whenever dad scolded him for going under the hedge. The reason for this can not really be far-fetched because my brother would have loved to have other brothers to play with instead of being stuck with his overbearing older sister. Eventually he would content himself with the time he played football with dad and played house with me.
The only times we ever had real fun with children of our age, apart from the school and the parks or the zoo, was in our dad’s village where our grandpa lived. As kids, we grew up to know only one grandfather and he was the most wonderful man on earth to us.

We used to look forward to the visits to grandpa’s place because it was the time to pride ourselves in our smart clothes, our toys that the village children had to put money down before they could touch or play with. Sean was always the one to coach a team of big-bellied, nose-running, ring-worm and rash invested boys that were always hovering around us whenever we visited the village. It was fun and games till our most precious grandpa died. That is however a story that I hold very sacred and will always retell for as many times as I can.

The day our uncle came to our house to tell us about grandpa’s sickness will always be fresh in my memory. We were having breakfast when he arrived and because we knew that he never actually visited unless he needed money; we didn’t let it bother us.
My dad had excused himself from the dining table and went to sit at the balcony with uncle Syl while mum set the table for him to join us. Uncle left hurriedly without eating and said something about a woman that needed stitches and dad entered with a worried look on his face. I sensed something was wrong.

“What is wrong?” Mum asked as she parked the unused plates to take back into the kitchen.

“Papa is very ill. He had been taken to the town hospital where they were told that he had to be transferred to a General Hospital,” Dad replied and sat down dejectedly.

“Is grandpa going to be okay?” Sean asked from the dining table.
“Yes, dad. Will he be…?”

“Eat up and get ready for school. Don’t you have a paper by nine?” Mum directed at me with a stern look on her face. I apologized and parked my used plates to the kitchen to wash. Dad was ready when I returned and I took my bag and off to school we went with the matter left unresolved.
***************
My school was like any other so called private schools with buildings painted white and green. The school had rows of storey buildings with classes filled with smartly dressed students in their green uniforms. There were a number of European and American kids in my school, kids mostly sent down by their parents because they wanted discipline for their children and an in-depth knowledge of their heritage.
I quickly ran to my class. It was my last day and I had the last paper to sit for as a high-school student and I wanted to do my best. Dusty Amarachi Russ waved at me as I entered the class and I went to meet her; she was the only daughter of a wealthy politician and my best friend. Her parents were waiting for her to finish high school before taking her to London where her mum lived.
“Hey girl.” Dusty greeted as we hugged, “Why the long face?”

I told her about my grandpa’s sickness and my fear that he might die.
“Well, I will advise that you put that aside and concentrate. You can worry about it after the paper,” Dusty said and walked to her seat. I did as she advised. I dropped my bag and tried to put it all out of my mind till someone says something different about the situation.

As hard as I tried to put the thought away I couldn’t really do it. It was a very long day. I was moody all through the school hours and everybody avoided me that even Dusty who was known for her chatty nature got the cue and kept her wisecracks to herself. Before long the school bell rang and Dusty came over to say goodbye. I was too preoccupied to say a proper farewell knowing quite well that she might be leaving soon. I said a hurried goodbye though and went looking for Sean. I knew Dusty would be unhappy that I reacted that way but I decided that I would apologize when we have their our usual Saturday sleep-overs.

I found Sean playing football and I yelled at him to meet me at the school gate where Dad normally picked us from. Dad came later and drove us home still refusing to make any comment on grandpa and his health. I felt the urge to ask him how grandpa was but I couldn’t because I knew I wasn’t really prepared to take any negative response. Our parents didn’t discuss it with us and I zeroed my mind that everything was okay, if it wasn't they would have said something.

Days after however, while watching the news of a plane crash that left many people dead and several injured I summoned the courage to ask what the nature of grandpa’s sickness was and if he was better. Dad had looked at mum and mum had looked away. I saw their reaction and my heart sank and then I wished I had never asked.

“Your grandpa is dead, Alice,” Dad mumbled. I shook my head; Sean screamed.

“That cannot be true, Dad. If he is dead, how come you didn’t tell us?” I asked, “You should have said something. Someone would come...no one came.”

“We know how you would feel and had to wait for the right time,” Mum consoled me and pulled me to her bosom. Sean got up and went outside. Dad followed him. I knew he would go over the shrub to tell Elijah about the news. Dad didn’t have the heart to scold him at that moment so he just went into his bedroom instead. I left mum in the sitting room and went crying into my bedroom. It was so sad and heavy for me. I wept bitterly. I heard later that Dusty was one of the few people that died in the plane crash on the news and I wished I had said a proper goodbye to her.

The holidays came. We had nowhere to go. No grandpa to visit and no Dusty to invite over for little gossips in the weekends. Mum and Dad decided to take us to spend a weekend at Aunt Betty’s house; she had a girl of Sean’s age. This visit was meant to replace our yearly visits to the village. But it had something else planed for our family.

I lost my parents.

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