I was often misunderstood as a kid like the time the boys got the neighbor’s cat to sit on Mrs Samuel’s footmat and I’d pressed the bell to report the unruly kids and as she opened the door the cat ran in and she shrieked and she and her husband and three children were screaming like banshees and jumping on the sofa and the poor cat was confused and scared shitless and I was at the door, mission forgotten laughing my eyes out till I thought my sides would split. The laughter promptly died as the cat sighting the door ran towards me and I ran for dear life. I too was afraid of cats and this fear had been enforced after a visit to Mrs Okemme’s house. she was the owner of the cat and had placed the big furry animal on my lap and asked me to stroke it while she checked her burning stew. She was gone only for about 10mins but it felt like two lifetimes. I died so many times and every time I awoke the cat would still be looking me straight in the eyes with it’s strange unblinking grey eyes and it’s weight on my lap seemed to increase till I thought I was carrying a car. By the time help came my way I had peed in my panties and was shaking like a leaf, even her famous ginger biscuits couldnt salvage the situation. The evening of the cat on the mat story, Mrs samuel knocked furiously on my door& reported me to mama. I had pretended to be asleep when I heard her voice. Mama was so embarrassed, she made me say I’m sorry to Mrs samuel and write her a long apology letter with my rather limited vocabulary. Thankfully daddy didn’t get involved. Daddy was the good guy. He worked late and always filled his pockets with sweets for my siblings& i on his way home. He never beat us though rather than that spoiling us, it made us fear his verbal reprimands even more while we wouldn’t care a hoot if mama shouted since she was always shouting, we only paid attention when she brought out daddy’s belt. Sometimes she’d pluck a branch from the bushes at school and skin it and the whole school would know we were going to get beaten that afternoon or if she had 5naira to waste she’d buy a cane from an ugly old woman who sold canes& brooms by the roadside on the way back from school, we secretly called the old woman a witch. I heard my dad really angry once. I never actually saw him cause I was pretending to be asleep and had my eyes tightly shut. I’d been bored that evening, they had interrupted the kiddies program to show sports and it was raining outside. Mama was sewing a hole in the curtain&I’d taken the blade, gone into the dining room with the white leather chairs and decided it’d be much easier for everyone involved if our names were written on the chairs with a biro, then I had a brainwave, engraving our names in the chair would be finer and neater and daddy would be so happy I did and so I designed my father’s leather chairs. When my mom saw it, she screamed, all she said that was coherent was ‘Let your father come back, you are in big soup’ I was so scared I went to sleep at 7pm so I wouldn’t have to see him. I was the first to hear his car outside, I waited and waited and soon I heard the shouting. Daddy didnt wake me up because he didn’t believe a sleeping child should be disturbed. By morning he’d left for work and in school I wrote him a long letter, I’d become quite the accomplished writer. Daddy had almost completely forgotten by the time he returned from work and he laughed when he read my letter, hugged me and gave me two sweets and I was happy again in my perfect little world. I love you daddy!!!