ajan kolo kolo.
eleshi shi lori.
They all chorused around her.
Making fun of her hair.
Fuming with a childish ire,
I ran into their midst.
Swinging the stick in my hands with a view of defending her worth.
I was six and already in love.
Her upper incisors were far apart.
People called it eji when she smiled.
I told mama I wanted mine like hers.
Perhaps she would notice me then.
Mum cooked ewedu the night before.
With tiptoed steps, I paid the pot a visit in the midnight.
Wrapping the stolen meat in a nylon bag,
I slept with anticipation of the joy the next day would bring.
Morning came, I danced around in gleeful preparations for school
Mama was confused.
*Is this not the same boy that cries all the way to school*
She never noticed the sour taste of the soup and one missing occupant.
Arriving at school, I ran to the vendor.
*Bread and butter 15 naira*
*lolli 5 naira*
*Okin biscuit 10 naira*
I was going to declare my intent that day.
I was going to confront my Goliath that day.
Like a soldier,
With a well ironed shirt.
Gator lined shorts.
And,thanks to mama,
Already laundered boxers
Lord knows I did not want to be called *atoile* bedwetter.
I marched towards primary 1b.
*I have a gift for you o*
Raising her *pineapple* plaited head from her book,
My Ayo smiled at me.
Her cheeks adopted a brief tint of pink.
*What do you have for me?*
With a brisk eagerness,
I brought out the nylon wrapped meat.
Not sensing its rotten smell while gingerly placing it on her desk.
She said adopting a disgusted look as she surveyed my gift.
Heart Racing at the prospect of losing this chance to impress,
I quickly brought out my other gifts.
*See this one*
Nudging the Okin biscuit her way.
For I had noticed she loved eating it.
Her eyes brightened.
I had provided the spark.
*You are fine*
Her heart softened.
I had provided the magic words.
*Will you be my friend?*
I asked with an expectant look.
*Okay* She replied.
The assembly bell rung thus ending our batter.
Two weeks later.
Ayo and I patted ways.
Who could blame her?
For I had broken her Hb pencil approximately five times.
I had pushed the playground swing too much while she sat on it.
And I had failed to solve her multiplication table homework.
Who could blame me?
Ayo always wanted to use my money to buy Okin biscuit.
*As if her mommy did not give her feeding money*
Ayo always wanted me to play *tinko tinko* with Titilayo and Tinuke her friends.
Ayo had made my mum spank me much for my informal visit to her pot of ewedu soup.
I was six and this was my first encounter with love.