THORNS IN MY BOOTS 5

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5

Before the Crowd dispersed that night, our house was filled with variety of food stuff brought by the Villagers to assist my Mother in taking care of her guest, me.

I went to greet the Kabiesi that night; I went still dressed in my Military regalia. He was so happy and proud of me, he felt honoured that I paid him homage with the Army Uniform. My Village is a small one and I do not know any serving Military personnel that hail from my Village, my people are scared of the Army and Soldiers generally. Before I got returned home that night, Kabiesi had sent a bag of rice and some tubers of Yams to my mother.

It was a different me that wentto the Village, I seldom talked and People thought I had become mean and ruthless. My Friendskept distance from me as they do not know what they may say or do that would unleash the supposed inate beast in me. But it was just me, the fresh experience from the depot had made me to see life differently, life is a battle field and not a Market place as some people say, but I was not mean, I have never been, I was just cautious, I observe my environment and listened more than I talked.

Mama started talking about marriage but I reminded her that I was just nineteen years old, she had forgotten. She now sees the Man I have turned into instead of the Boy I really am. She started calling me Oko mi (My Husband) instead of Ojo my name, also her name in the Village changed from “Iya oloju kan” to “Mama Soja” (A Soldiers Mother). She received a lot of Visitors during my five days stay in the Village, she had suddenly become popular, and who visits my Mother at home before? She had no friends! No one associates with the Pauper. Now, those that owed her money for services she rendered to them years back readily paid up! I know my People, I was the reason.

Mama began to eat well; she ate three times daily throughout my stay. Baba Miko suddenly assumed the position of my Father, he had being of great assistance to Mama during my absence and so when I came home, he was the only one that was bold enough to talk to me like the Child he used to know, I owe him gratitude. He furnished me with information on things going on in the Village; he was also revered for being the God Father of a Soldier. Mama told me that Baba Miko uses my personality to threaten his debtors and any ensuing opposition.

On the fourth day in the Village, the Kabiesi invited me for an evening stroll, we strolled together, I was dressed in my Army branded Sportswear, a track suite on Canvas, I did not have Clothes to wear save for the military attire I got from the depot, my old Clothes in the Village were all under sized. Together we went down to a drinking spot close to the Dam build on the popular Osun river that flowed through my Village, some of his Chiefs and friends were there already and I was given a warm reception.

They asked me several questions as we palm wine and gnawed at smoked Grass cutter meat in peppered sauce, I laughed as I attempted to answer most of their fallacious and ridiculous questions about the Army and her Soldiers, I was able to clarify many of the wrong impressions they had about the Army.

In all, I gained respect! I brought back respect and honour to the name of my Father, a name he had soaked in Palm wine. Whenever I walked down the street, I hear Children hailing me, waving and shouting “Morning Sir!” I waved back at them; even the Girls began to smile at me and seek for opportunity for acquaintance, but was a totally different scenario ten months ago. I now dine and wine with the likes of Kabiesi and titled men in the Village, I was just a common private Soldier!

Kabiesi gave me a hectare of Land to do whatever pleases me with; I told him I would love to farm on it for now pending when I am fully settled in the Army.
I was to come back and pick my mother to Enugu after I must have collected my bulk money and furnish my home in the Barracks. But that was not to be, it never happened, the world was not done with us yet

To Be Continued

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