#Article (Archive)

Growing up

Jun 17, 2010, 1:24 PM | Article By: Isatou Dumbuya

I must admit that growing up was one hard-nut to crack that nearly brought me down. My father was a stern man and we occasionally locked horns and that would get me some fierce beatings and kicks, and make me to be eventually curled into a ball with an aching body and few broken bones.

That would not stop me from being rebellious; Now that I am 22, I can laugh on all those years as I relive them again and again. I can remember breaking into his safe. It was one fine and sunny day when my ma had gone to the market and dad to work when I thought it perfect to break into his safe. I had seen him opening it before my very eyes when he had punished me and ordered me to stay in his house for the rest of the day. I watched him come in and out without even a glance at me. Then he came again and opened his safe. It took me all my willpower to concentrate on him because my body ached in many different places. Then I saw him clicked the numbers on his safe and I strained my eyes to pick the numbers up. As quickly as I could, I took in all the numbers as he turned them and finally the door to the safe made a loud 'click' sound, and I saw so much money. I gasped, my eyes opened to capacity and I gaped. He took the amount he wanted, closed the door to the safe and left the room. My dad was always careful not to be seen with so much money so that we won't ask him for it. I bid my time for the perfect time when no one was around. I slowly opened the door to his room and the door made a loud click that sent me panicking. I slowly closed it and crept toward his bed. When I stood right in front of his safe my heart made loud successive thuds, threatening to deafen my ears. I was afraid that people outside would hear its loud pounding. I moved toward the safe and my heart jumped to my mouth when I saw it. I turned the code lock and turned the numbers one by one, all that while I kept watching my back and listened keenly for sounds.

193723, I clicked until finally the safe made a deafening sound 'Cliiicckk' and my heart threatened to jump out of my chest. And pop I saw the money. I nearly froze. At first I didn't know what I was going to do with the money, but thoughts about what to buy came flooding. I made plans to give my mother and little brother, Modou some and some for my own personal use. I carefully closed the door to the safe, left the room and locked the door. I held my cool, dressed to kill and hit the streets. It was time to party!

Early the next day I saw my dad fuming, raving, and ranting. Something about his disposition gave me reason enough to know that it was about the stolen money. And my heart jumped to my mouth. He lined us all questioning us with his stone glare. When he stopped in front of me he locked eyes with me. His large eyes were red and the veins threatened to burst it as they sized me up and down.

My tiny being trembled under his angry glare. Then I saw him move and stood before Modou.

He clicked his tongue, knotted his hands and tugged them under his ribs. He paced forward and backward sucking his teeth. The veins on his neck threatened to burst and his Adam's apple bobbed up and down. All that while, I waited for my fate. By this time I was sure that I was going to be dead; dead and forgotten, because I had caused so much trouble to my parents.

He gritted his teeth and stopped abruptly as if he remembered something.

He stood in front of me and said, "You were here the day I opened the safe."

I squirmed uncomfortably and started stuttering, "I..I...I," but he stopped me in mid-sentence.

"I don't want you to say anything, but think again, remember you were there that day," he pleaded on, "think again."

I kept quiet.

"Modou you can leave."

Modou thanked his lucky stars as he hurriedly left and gave me a pitiful look as if to say, wish you all the luck you will need.

For a moment our gaze locked and we shared the love we have taken for granted for a long time before he made his exit.

As if he had magic, my dad suspected only me, but decided to take his time.

For the following days, he urged and persuaded me to give him back the money, but I always stood my ground. Nothing about my act gave me away.

I haven't taken much from the stolen money so I wanted to return it as soon as possible to stop my father from breathing down my neck.

I waited again for the perfect time. This time around my parents were sleeping. I tip-toed into the room and as if by instinct he tossed and turned, facing the safe which was beside the bed. I knew that when I did not play my cards right, I would be in deep trouble. I moved on while he snored loudly. My ma slept like a log and beautifully. I was sure she wouldn't hear me, but that of my father, I wasn't sure. As if by magic, he tossed and turned again, and turned again facing the safe. I hid behind the bed and breathed uncontrollably. I made a silent prayer. Then it occurred to me that I haven't said my prayers for a long time and I wasn't sure if God would even want to hear me. My dad scratched his beard and bald head and gave the loudest snore I have ever heard. I braved the possibilities and slowly, ever slowly I crept toward the safe. I slowly clicked the numbers and finally the safe made a loud Cliiicckk and my dad moved, popped one of his eyes open and closed it again. I couldn't believe my luck, but the adrenaline in me wouldn't let me continue what I started. I was in a fix.

After some long seconds, I reached for the money which I stuck under my shirt and quickly removed it placing it back in the safe. I closed its door, mixed the numbers and made for the door. My heart kept making loud rhythmic thuds even after I had found myself in the comfort of my room.