JOURNEY TO CALVARY
I had always been skeptical about being friends with Ademola. He wasn’t a friend to be proud of. His khaki shorts were always torn with map impressions from various stitches. He is an “ambassador” from a very poor home. Despite the fact that our school was government owned, his parents still couldn’t afford to pay the little amount charged for school development levy.
Ademola had his good sides. He is caring, loving, accommodating, brilliant and fun to be with. His selling point of course were the tales he told us during break time. Pupils would gather around his feet and he would dish out as usual from his wealth of interesting fables most of which he claimed originated from his grandmother.
This role made him the most popular personality in the school coupled with his poverty stricken status.
“Ademola, that patch patch boy that tell stories” – fellow pupils would often describe.
Ademola’s story one very day was touching. It was a tale of how an obviously poor boy became rich by helping an old woman to carry her heavy load. The woman unknowing to the boy was a spirit and she blessed the little boy with so much riches.
Ademola preached benevolence after narrating it, stating categorically that the particular story wasn’t fictional.
The story got to me; it penetrated into by body and made its way to the deepest of my body cells. I vowed within myself that I would inculcate such benevolence so that I would someday help an old woman and become rich. My parents at least would be proud of me for the first time.
I was returning from school one very sunny afternoon. I had to trek home since I spent my transport fare on ice cream. I walked on the pedestrian lane in a haphazard manner. I got tired at a point and had to rest along the lane by sitting down on a big stone.
Just while I sat resting, an old woman approached, walking like she was going to the place of the skull. She was obviously tired. She had a sac on her head containing pieces of wood. I guessed they would be firewood.
While I sat and analyzed the woman and the load, I quickly remembered Ademola, the story and my vow. I picked my bag up and decided to help the old woman. She reluctantly objected, probably considering my small size. I insisted, I was sure there would be greater rewards after the act. She placed the load on my head while she assisted with my small school bag.
The sac was heavy; I was feeling like Simon of Cyrene. She in fact pitied me and offered to help me but I refused seventy seven times seven times.
“It’s the hut there” her broken voice vibrated as she pointed at the hut between two bungalows. I hurried briskly with the load and finally dropped the sac in front of the hut anticipating my sudden transformation into riches. She hurried inside the hut and promised to tell someone to bring me water while I waited for her.
Ademola suddenly approached with a very old cracked cup and offered me water. I was still confused until my brain calculated. I took the water, drank with skepticism and I questioned him. It was his grandmother I helped.
I was extremely disappointed in myself. The old woman approached from the hut and stuck a ten naira note into my pocket thanking me repeatedly. “This is scam” I thought within myself.
I suddenly remembered I was supposed to be on my way home. It was late already and my parents would be worried already. What would be my explanation? I only got ten naira richer! What good can come out of Ademola and his Calvary?