I was running, my heart raced...
"Meeeennaaaaa! where are you"
Adrenalin surged through me, my chest was tight, my legs kept at pounding the floor, she wont get me that easily..
"Memeeeenaaa, answer me, i will killl you today"
Ouch, she used my full name? I kept running, jumping over feeding bottles, toys and over our pet dogs. I could hear the clear sound of running beside me, a skinny figure.. it was my younger sister rhomu, we ran for our lives..
"RHHHHOOMMMMU, where are you, better come here ooo, where is your sister's feeding bottle?"
We ignored her and kept running. My baby brother mirrored everything his sisters did and just ran along with us
We got to the foot of our tree, and started climbing. My brother was too young to climb, so he sulked away to report us...luckily he could not speak yet!
My sister and I whispered nervously at each other:
"dont step on this branch, its weak'"Yes I remember but this one looks stronger""Eeeyama, there are soldier ants on this branch""dont worry when we get away from the weaker branches and finally get to the top, there will be no ants"
We climbed quietly to the very top of the tree..and watched..
My mum came out in her wrapper and my crying sister. Tall, light skinned, energetic and skinny..so we knew she could run..very fast..She screamed out:
"I will kill this children today!" Then she changed tactics..
"Menayoyo Rhomutata, where are you? I have something for you. If you dont come on time, your brother and sister eat it all up"
From the top of the tree I could see her head but couldnt quite see her hands to be certain she had something in it for us.
Rhomu started climbing down. "Mum said she has something for us, the babies will just eat everything, so lets go"
I believed her and so we climbed down steadily and ran towards our mother.
"Mummy what is it you have for us?". Rhomu asked excitedly..
Rhomu was the only child for a while, and therefore got the attention of my parents, I was the first born...I wasnt as forward as she was...
Mum was smiling, she said: "come closer, come and take dont you want?"
"We want! we want!!" chanted Rhomu.
"Twakpa", she gave rhomu a knock, before i realised what happened "pasa", she landed one on me too.
"ooooww!" I said in shock. Rhomu started crying, and the conversation went thus:"So you left your sisters feeding bottles outside?""We didnt leave it, she crawled and left it there by herself.""Dont you know you are seniors?""I dont want to be senior" said Rhomu. "Its not good oh, she left it by herself. She should stop leaving it." she finished with a pout.
Mum snapped: "Shut up there dont you know she is still a baby? Before I count to 5, go and look for her feeding bottle".
The baby had mysteriously stopped crying, she was smiling. My younger brother, toddled to my mum, simpering, pouting, arms outstreteched for a cuddle, desperately trying to report us. My mum had one baby on her arm and another tugging at her dress and she certainly was in no mood for emotional blackmail.
"1!... 2"I raced off. Rhomu was slower and was bawling"3!" I found some feeding bottles and toys by the garden"4!" I ran back with them to give to my mum.
"Something is wrong with you! Will you go and wash it?! Cant you see it is dirty?!"
My heart sank! "Mummy like to send plenty messages". I said while walking very slowly to wash it. Rhomu was still crying but she walked behind me..
Mum had not finished:"Yes, you have to learn how to be a senior child, afterall you decided to come out first". Then she walked indoors with our siblings in tow.
I washed the bottles and learnt my lesson for the day..and so we had a relatively peaceful day..
Sadly the very day, it started again..
It was the next day, I woke up and went to kiss my baybee sister and noticed she was awake. I also noticed that her feeding bottling was not beside her.
Immediately she spotted me, her eyes started to fill up with tears, and her lips started pouting..I knew what was next, so I put her pacifier in her mouth and walked away quickly..rushing towards the door that led to our grounds outside.
"yeen...yeeeen..yeeen". I could hear her initial bursts of a deep sob,and walked very quickly. Rhomu saw me and joined me. By now she knew that if I wasnt around, the workload fell on her.
"yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!" The baby had gathered steam
"Meeeenaaa, come and help me!!"
I ran with all the might and force my legs could carry, Rhomu was beside me, we headed for our tree.
"Mena lets try this tree." Rhomu suggested, taking off towards that end. That tree was bigger and wider and was in an obscure part of our grounds. It was also close to our banana plantation where lots of wide, sturdy leaves, almost as long as my baby siser, gave cover...we ran
"Meeena, I will kill you today, where is her feeding bottle, let me catch you first I will..."
We climbed very quickly and easily got to the top and watched from the distance.
"Meeeeeena, Rhomu, come quick, I have something for you".
Once bitten twice shy. But we watched her, she had her hand behind her back like she was really hiding something for us.
"Maybe it is chocolate, this time? The type that had smarties in it?" asked Rhomu. "Me I dont believe o". I replied her and kept climbing.
We lived in detached bungalow that had a huge garden all around it. It was a child's dream place as there were so many places to hide. Then the trees were sturdy and very tall (At least to our child size back then) and this was were we played creative games all year round. That fateful year, we discovered tree climbing due to the Enid Blyton authored books my mum used to buy for us..Books which spoke of Jack and the bean stalk, or how children climbed through a tree and discovered an alternate world.
We wanted to find this world! We didnt want our mum to catch us so we can clean yukky feeding bottles! We believed that if we kept climbing we will see the enchanted forest with the fairies and gnomes and grandmas who served milk and cookies...or at least we will get away from our mum and baby sis and chores.
Well at least at that point, I didnt want to be caught, Rhomu however, was more interested in the promised surprise..
"So you think its not chocolate? Can you see her hand?"
"No I cant but lets keep going"
We climbed higher up to the level that the tree branched out to other trees. It was dangerous as some of the branches had begun to rot so that if we were heavier we could easily fall. We climbed and connected to other trees, till we were literally in the branch over our mum and then behind her. At this vantange point, we could see her hidden hand. There was a ruler there! Her favourite instrument of torture. We kept still.
"Mena and Rhomu so you wont answer me, I will give it to your brother and sister oh, dont come crying o, cus I will say oooyin."
We ignored her, but rhomu had doubts.."But Mena maybe she has something else inside her plalms?"
Not me though, I had no doubts "No, I only saw a ruler!'
My mum walked back in to tend to our younger siblings. We got bored, climbed down but stayed in the grounds, swearing we will start living outside the house..and so it was another lovely day tree climbing.
--- END ---
* Memoirs to be continued :)*