Sunday, September 4, 2011
Kwesi and the other kids were allowed to burn the toilet papers but I wasn’t. My mother said I couldn’t go to back of the house to play around fire. She burnt the toilet papers herself whenever it was our turn to burn till I got to JSS 3. I was now a senior, I was 12years old! and I was grown. Burning toilet papers became my favorite chore. Every night I stole toilet papers and burnt them after I took my shower.
I preferred the smell of smoke on my body to the foal odor from the catchiest with the smelly mouth. Sometimes the smoke failed me, the catechist smell was stronger. His order got stuck on my skin, in my nose, in my mouth; but I kept burning, his smell was better mixed with something less revolting like smoke than nothing else.
Kwesi caught me one night as I walked behind the house with stolen toilet paper.
“What are you doing Brema?” he asked.
“I’m just going to burn the papers”, I said, “what are you doing following me?”
“But it’s not your turn!, I’ll tell…”
Before he could end his sentence, I begged, “please Kwesi don’t tell my mother… you can burn the papers if you want”
“No, I don’t want to, it’s late, what if a snake bites you?”
“ah Kwesi, a snake will not bite me, my mother says there are no snakes in this area”.
I lied; my mother and I never discussed snakes or any other reptiles. Maa was sacred of snakes; she would abandon any movie that had snake scenes even if her favorite actor, ‘Araba Stamp’ was lead character.
Kwesi waited for me as I watched the fire burn all the toilet papers into dark ashes.
“I burn every day; do you want to come with me tomorrow?”
“ok”, he said.
Kwesi become my burning partner but he never got close enough to the fire. He didn’t feel what I felt; the fire burning the little hairs on my skin, the smell of my burnt hair blending with the smoke that rose. Kwesi just waited by the side till I was done, always. We walked back home every night with him trying to convince me a snake might sneak up on us one day to bite us hard in the behind. I would laugh at his fears while pretending to kill an imaginary snake. Even though each trip made Kwesi more frightened, each trip was also more fun. He was always at the gate before I got there. He never told my mother about our nightly flames and I learned to trust him.
One evening I took my shower later than usual, it was past 8.pm, the time we usually met by the gate to go burning. Kwesi came to the bathhouse.
The catechist with the smelly mouth sealed my lips with his palm.
“Brema, I can smell your soap, stop playing” Kwesi said, “are we going to burn today?”
The catechist with the smelly mouth started muttering “shit shit shit!”
Kwesi, snapped the bathroom door open. The catechist with the smelly mouth spoke;
“I have caught you two!, I am reporting you to your parents, you bad children!”
He held Kwesi by his shirt and grabbed my arm, shoving me naked to my mother. Kwesi’s chalewotey slipped of his feet.
“my chalewotey my chalewotey”, he cried.
The catechist with the smelly mouth just dragged us both to our door. He knocked and my mother came out.
“I caught these two in the bath house”, the catechist with the smelly mouth accused.
Kwesi’s cry was intermitted with “my chalewotey, my chalewotey”
“Maa, it’s a lie”, I said.
“shut up! , what do I do with you heh?, she said, “I wish your father were here”.
I was glad my father had gone back to Togo. My mother scolded but she never hit me.
“get inside” she ordered.
I looked at Kwesi. He was still in the grip of the catechist with the smelly mouth. It was all my fault, I thought. I wanted to tell Kwesi, I was sorry but I knew I would cry if I opened my mouth again.
“thank you very much catechist, may God bless!”
My mother thanked the catechist with the smelly mouth and walked him to Kwesi’s parents.
Posted by Nana at 1:23 PM