A BUCKETFUL OF REGRET

Drop
noun (plural drops)
“A small mass of liquid just large enough to hold its own weight via surface tension, usually one that falls from a source of liquid.”
The English Dictionary – Android Mobile Version.

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“Little drops of water, make a mighty ocean.” – Unknown

A drop of water falls from the sky, and falls quite a distance before splashing against a leaf on a tree. It drips down the green, broad surface and coalesces into a drop again, gaining sufficient weight and momentum to obey once more, the law of gravity, falling from the leaf down…

to the head of a playing child.
Tunde is out in the rain again. His parents do not know this, of course, and they might never know, as Time would be sure to clean up all evidence of having disobeyed their instruction. And the neighbours wouldn’t say a thing. Oh no one dared say anything where Tunde is involved. They’d be verbally torn apart!

But we all know it’s wrong to play in the rain. Why, we deliver the warning frequently to children in our care.
“Don’t play outside when it’s raining!”
An instruction often offered with the accompanying pull of an earlobe to emphasise the point. It’s bad. It can cause cold, and pneumonia. It could kill.

Some things are just better together- bread and butter, rice and beef stew, instructions and pulled earlobes- but we digress.
Back to Tunde.

Tunde, that wilful child, knows that soon his parents would return, so he sprints from the tree where he had been playing to the house. Getting in, he towels himself dry. All he has on is his boxer shorts, easily discarded and replaced.

He does just that and picks the clothes he had been wearing before the rain began, clothes folded on the chair in front of the antique television set, and puts them on too.

With the wet boxer shorts hidden, the muddy foot prints cleaned up and his skin and hair toweled dry, Tunde looks like he was never out in the rain. No one saw him play, no one at all, just you and I, and we wouldn’t snitch on him now, would we?

We wouldn’t. He’s such a beautiful child and we don’t want him spanked. He would squeeze his face and cry and that would be so so sad to see. So we let him be, like everyone else does. And when we see the wet boxer shorts and know that the warning has been disobeyed, we chuckle and shake our heads.  Children, always thinking they’re smarter than you. Yet we do nothing about it. Just chuckle, that’s all.

Tunde is a plump dark-skinned, angel-faced twelve year old, with a sweet singing voice, a beautiful smile and such pretty dimples, he has an absolute disregard for rules and instructions-
He is a spoilt child.

Fast forward two years later, even more wilful and set in his ways, Tunde is the adorable deviant.

Tall and skinny in the way of teenagers, he is still our Tunde, and we know him.
Now he breaks even more rules. And he is not alone. He sneaks out of school to play football. We know, yet we turn a blind eye. He is but a child… we were also a bit naughty at that age weren’t we? He will grow out of it.

One day at school, he is caught with the rest of his gang, passing a cigar around. We are shocked. Scandalised.

Goodness! We never thought he would go that far! But at least it’s just one cigar. It could have been worse! So we suspend him for a week and let him back in. He’s so smart, so bright, surely anything more would be just plain wickedness. Wouldn’t it?

When Tunde starts dating, we still don’t talk even though we know he’s far too young. We reason he needs the freedom to explore, so we pretend not to notice his increased demands for money. We don’t notice he now sags.
We also don’t notice the way his lips turn black or the nicotine stain on his fingers.
We were “sleeping” that day when he stumbled into the house, as drunk as a skunk, and we were there to give him aspirin the next morning so he can get over his “headache”…

We give him everything he desires and defend him, even when Chiamaka, the girl down the street comes with her mum to point fingers.
They accuse our Tunde of having impregnated Chiamaka, they cry and wail, and of course Tunde denies it.
He didn’t do it.

Because we want to, we believe him. We sic the dogs on hem and rid ourselves of their nuisance.
How dare they blame our Tunde?
Our sweet little boy? Surely he can’t be responsible. Everyone knows Chiamaka is loose, she hops from boy to boy, and after leaving us, we hear her loudly claiming another boy down the street as the father.

So we rest and smile, our fears assuaged, ignoring that nagging little voice that reminds us that Tunde and Chiamaka were very “close” we did catch them kissing the other day did we not? There might be some truth to her claim and- Firmly we tell the voice to shut up. All is well.

More years flow down, like sand in the hourglass of our lives. Tunde has grown. We cannot discern any actual, considerable source of income, but we get lavish gifts from Tunde all the time. Who cares?

The boy is rich now, and he is our child and we love him. So we collect his gifts and pray he prospers in his “business”
Which we know neither head nor tail of.
He is our Tunde after all, he can do no wrong.
And then it happens.
Police come knocking
They arrest Tunde
He’s an armed robber, they claim
He has caused loss of lives and property
We can’t do anything to stop them
They take him to court
He is found guilty
Condemned to die by the firing squad…

We weep, cry and lament. Where did we go wrong? We trained him well! We loved him. We taught him good morals. We took care of him. Sent him to the best schools around. Never let him suffer a day of hunger. What he asked for, we gave. Why did this happen?
But we forgot.

We did not spank him when situation warranted it.
“Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.” – Proverbs 22 vs 15

We did not let anyone have a say in his upbringing.
“A couple can give birth to a child, but it takes a village to raise him.” – African Proverb.

We failed.
This is a cautionary tale. Raise your children well. Don’t make another “Tunde”

The name Tunde is quite popular among the Yoruba speaking people of Nigeria, West Africa. This is in no way an inferred slight on anyone named Tunde or nearing any variation of this name. This is a work of fiction

©Laolu_Olowo 2016

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