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ACCOUNT OF A DEBUTANTE

My home was robbed last night. It was not how I had imagined a robbery would be three years ago,
when I was a freshman and I was seventeen and silly.
Three years ago, I had the robbery scenario perfectly drafted out in my head. It would be evening, probably between 8 and 9 pm. Ezeh, my immediate brother would forget to lock up the kitchen door, I would be in my room reading a novel, preferably one by Grisham, my parents would be in the sitting room watching Telemundo, analysing each character's role and then the robbers would come in.
After several attempts at playing and replaying the robber's entrance in my head, I finally concluded that the robbers would not knock. They'd barge in, giving my family time to anticipate the worst possible kind of horror while I'd have the time to hide in my big wardrobe. I had practiced hiding in the wardrobe so I'd be noiseless and fast. They'd be five of them; the robbers, and the leader would ask my parents in a horrifying tone, to "bring out the valuables", but on second thought, I scrapped that out.
The robbers could not be educated. They'd just ask the question in pidgin, " may una bring out the money". My father would shakingly lead one of them to his bedroom to get the valuables while my mother and Ezeh would lie shaking on the floor; they'd be shaking out of fear and worry about my whereabouts.
They'd pray to God to keep me safe, promising to shower me with more love if he kept me safe. When the robbers would be about to leave our house however, I'd come out of my hiding and boldly ask to speak with the leader. He would grant me audience and I'd go ahead and give a long speech about how they could become better citizens if only they would quit robbing and lead better and honest lives. They'd be wowed and thank me for the wonderful counsel, give us back the stolen items and commend my bravery. The press would carry my story the next day, with headlines like, " Brave teen displays outstanding courage in the face of danger" and "Superteen". I would be the talk of the country and every parent would want their children to imitate my action. That was what I had imagined a robbery scene would be like three years ago.
  Last night, the robbers came in through the front door. My father was sitting outside the veranda with Mr Tom, his colleague, discussing politics and the economy, when according to my father, there was a loud bang on the gate. It happened so swiftly he said, and before he knew it, the robbers had surrounded them and commanded them to quietly lie on the ground.
My mother was still at our neighbor's and Ezeh had not returned yet from visiting his friends in the next street. The robbers seemed to know where my father kept his money because they were through in less than ten minutes. This was my father's version of the incident. My Tom's version was slightly different though.  He said he had been discussing with my dad at the veranda when the robbers crept up on them and asked they lie on the ground. My father had hesitated, probably calculating a move to escape, when one of the robbers sent him unconscious by hitting his head with the butt of this gun.
My father had passed out. I think it was his ego that made him ommit that part of the story. He has been pale and quite shaken since the incident. I preferred my father's version of the story because it kept the doubts in our minds masked. It was obvious Mr Tom had had something to do with the robbery but we couldn't say it to his face. What if we were wrong? We pretended we were oblivious of this possibility.
It was just like in Js3 when my seat mate, Shade had taken my yellow HB pencil from my school bag and I had said nothing about it. I had wanted to tell her that taking other people's pencils could land her in jail in the future but I didn't say a word. I watched her use my yellow HB pencil for two days before someone else must have taken it from her too. The only difference between the two events was that I was sure Shade stole my yellow HB pencil but I wasn't sure about Mr Tom's involvement in the robbery.
I would have been really sure Mr Tom had been responsible if only i had not been asleep throughout the incident. Yes, I had been asleep,dreaming of a delicious meal of Afang soup and pounded yam. So much for witnessing a robbery. My family did not just ignore the fact that my father's colleague was likely responsible for the incident, they also went ahead and reported the case to the police as if that would solve anything.
I had been thrilled five weeks ago about coming home for the holiday season but now, I wasn't so sure I was thrilled anymore...


g.o.

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