Efe was returning home from school that afternoon, looking extremely worn out and exhausted. As he thought about the pile of assignments that Mrs. Efosa had given him, distress clouded his mind, but at the same time, hunger gnawed at his stomach, leaving him uncertain about what to eat. His fellow students were going home with their parents in their rides he’d just smile and wave most of them.

However, one of his shoes on his left foot come loose, and he struggled to remove it along with his socks. The scorching sun beat down on him relentlessly, fôrcing him to hurriedly seek refuge in one of the shade that was close-by to catch his breath and ventilate himself. Luckily a young lady that was selling some provisions sighted him and he requested for a sachet of water from him of which he drank.

Efe was a thirteen-year-old student, attending Egonma secondary school. His father worked as a fisherman in the village, while his mother was consistently roasting plantains (bole) by the roadside near their house and they all reside in a small flat. Efe’s parents tirelessly hustled to provide food for their family. He was the last born from their three siblings. Additionally, they had spent a significant amount of money to ensure the well-being of Efe’s elder sister, Sandra, who was a stickler (sickle cell anaemia). Despite this, Sandra’s condition was fluctuating during that period.

Efe got home, opened the pot of soup that his mother had prepared earlier and it was empty. He went close to the remaining sack where they had some leftover garri, packed some and began to soak.

Later on, his eighteen-year-old sister, Kate, unexpectedly appeared and without warning, she angrily threw away Efe’s plate of garri. She began to haràss him, striking him on the head and relentlessly beating him up, all because he hadn’t informed her before eating the garri. “Oh, so it has come to this!” she exclaimed. “You think you can just come here and take garri anyhow you like?” Efe sobbed uncontrollably on the floor, feeling completely powerless.

It seemed as if Kate had her own share of hatred for him. “Sister, I haven’t eaten anything since morning, please,” he pleaded. “Shût up! If I hear your voice again! Now cover your mouth!” Efe obeyed, silencing himself as she coldly locked him inside his room and departed. She had completed her secondary education in the same school as Efe, although she had started before him. Sandra stopped at Jss3 due to her health, she was the eldest of them all and also the quiet type.

As time went on, Efe gathered the courage to confide in his father about Kate’s continuous torment, hoping for a resolution. However, his father only offered reassurances that he would address the situation. Days turned into weeks, weeks turned into months, but the promised intervention never materialized. Finally, when his father did confront Kate, she vehemently denied any wrongdoing, and to Efe’s disappointment, his father chose to believe her.

Their mother would start each morning with heartfelt prayers and teachings for all her children. She would remind them about the promising future that awaited them and the importance of treating others with kindness and compassion. “My children, remember to love your neighbor as yourself,” she would say. “You never know who could be your destiny helper, which is why it’s crucial to always be good to others.”Sandra and I took her words to heart and made a conscious effort to follow her advice.

Efe grew up to the extent where he began contributing to the family’s income by joining his father in fishing at the river. That was few years after completing his secondary school. Some days, they would have a bountiful catch, and Efe’s mother would smoke and sell many of the fishes. Meanwhile, Sandra, because of her health condition, often found herself confined indoors. To ensure her well-being, Mrs. Rose, a dedicated nurse, would visit her three times a week to check up on her and give her some mèdicàtions..

Efe’s dedicated hard work and diligence made him earn the love and admiration of his parents. However, his sister Kate seemed to have taken a different path, becoming lazy and resentful towards Efe. She was so bittered that her parents loved his junior than her. No longer able to bully him as he had grown up, she desperately sought every possible way to ensure their parents turned against him. One very night when efe was asleep, Kate crept to meet him with an egg 🥚…….

Nicholas Stephen

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