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.

*Iya bisi*
*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.

*Hh-ee-lloo Aaa-yo*
*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*
I said
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*
I said.

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.

okonta kosi