When your mother arrived that afternoon. The expression on her face showed shock and surprise. She couldn’t fathom what exactly led you into doing what you were doing. You were not even apprehensive nor did you stand to welcome her.
For Christ sake, she was carrying pregnant polythene bags on both hands with a handbag dangling across her stomach.
“Child, what are you doing?” she asked.
You answered in a muffled voice and kept your posture. She suppressed the emotion rising within her and led you away from the position. She wasn’t angry. She rather felt pity for your soaked body. The sun was scorching yet you stayed in that position.
Leading you into the house, she asked the reason for your behaviour. You heave, wiped the sweat off your face and began telling the story.
It was a week ago when your dad planted the seed he didn’t know would soon germinate. The light was out in your vicinity. Mubi Road, Jimeta, Yola. Adamawa State. You lived in a mini apartment; a sitting and a bedroom. In the street adjacent to one of Vice President Atiku’s houses.
In your sitting room, a television and cassette recorder sat on the shelf. Aside from that, your dad had a long Toshiba radio. A device he switches on mostly because he needs to hear more of his tribe. He was a man far away from home; who prefers listening to viewing. That afternoon when he plucked his radio from its hanging position and switched it on. The sound it emitted was terrible. A cacophony of noise. He switched to various channels, from AM to FM but the result was the same. The sound of a crashing car.
After a series of taps on the radio, your father turned the radio, opened the back plastic panel and extracted the big tiger batteries. He touched each of them with his tongue and shook his head. You looked on, even with your notebook spread on your laps. He stepped outside and you followed him. You wanted to know if he was about to dispose of it so you could use the powder in blackening your board in school. He didn’t, rather he pulled a stool, placed them on it and set them facing the sun. You weren’t sure what he was doing and you inquired.
“ Father, why did you put out the battery in the sun?”
He smiled and ruffled your hair.
“Child, the batteries are dull. The rays from the sun are meant to sharpen them.”
True to his word, after three hours under the sun. He inserted the batteries. And they came alive. Crystal clear.
That was a week ago.
Now your mom hugged your sweat-soaked body. She spoke in a cracked voice that showed how hard she was fighting the urge to cry.
“What has this story got to do with you sitting under the sun and bowing your head?” she asked, fanning you with the side of her wrappers.
“Mom,” you began, batting no eyelids.
“Today, my teacher, you know Miss Aisha now? She called me a dull boy. She also said I have a dull brain.”
“Sorry, my child.”
“ My classmates kept laughing and calling me a dull boy.”
“Don’t mind your classmates. They don’t know you’re my hero. But what does the name calling have to do with you sitting under this hot sun?”
It hadn’t registered until you said.
“ Mom? Have you not been listening? Last week dad spread his dull batteries under the sun and they became sharp. And since my teacher called me a dull boy I decided to stay under the sun so that what happened to the batteries would happen to me.”
This is you but you’d never admit it.