Beans, Toothpaste and Blood Ties

toothpaste-sandwich

“Ketna Oganda!”

Aaah! The routine never changes does it? Aunt Sue was demanding for beans, not the kind to eat, the kind you watched. Rowan Atkinson was at it again as Mr. Bean, and my aunt was in desperate need to watch him. She was nice; she never had any qualms with people. She wasn’t the Aunt you would confide in, she was the Aunt you wouldn’t mind letting do all the house chores. Well, she liked it!

She was always in the kitchen willing to cook and clean, she never liked letting us work, she always said that we were children and shouldn’t bother with adult things like cleaning the house. Who was going to complain? Any teenager’s dream is to get a chance to skive house chores.  My siblings and I came up with a schedule that would avoid us getting caught by our parents for ‘lazing’ around and using our Aunt.

We would play and an hour before our parents rocked in we would be in the kitchen helping Aunt Sue out. It worked well for a few months, up until one Saturday in July. I made the lethal mistake of choosing to delegate cooking Chapatis to Aunt Sue. In my defense, she offered. She had these beautiful light brown eyes accentuated by her puffy and kinky jet black Afro. How can you say no to that? Huh?

I whipped out the packets of flour and placed them on the counter, she began to tap on the counter in excitement. “I will. I will. I WILL!!!!”

“You will what Aunty?”

“I WIIIILLLL” She said, eyes closed, feet marching off beat and enthusiastically as she pointed at the packets of flour. Who was I to say ‘no’? That behaviour should have given something away. But when you have, Beatle Juice, Little Shop of Horrors and Aladdin from the video library lined up for a great night of movies. Why say ‘no’? An early start to leisure was a plan. My siblings and I left cool Aunt Sue to enjoy what she loves doing best, cook. And cook she did.

About an hour before Mum and Dad returned, my brother and I quickly stewed the green grams. It didn’t cross our minds to check the outcome of the savoury Chapatis we could smell from the living room.  Like clockwork, Mum and Dad waltzed through the door, changed and came down stairs to a sumptuous meal.

“For Health and strength and daily food we praise thy name Oh! Lord! Amen!” We all chorused wrapping up grace and opened the serving bowls. To our surprise out of the 4kg flour, which normally made close to 50 delicious Chapatis, five emerged. That wasn’t enough for one per person. And these five Chapatis were like elephant ears and as thick as a 50 page novella.

“Akinyi!” My mum called out from across the table. “What did I tell you about cooking?” Before I could respond, “give your brother your share.” And like that, I was left to drink my green gram stew and wash it down with water watching my Aunt wolf down her share of elephant ear Chapati. When she finished Aunt Sue stood up with a smile of satisfaction, the rest of the family eye-balling her and me.

I really should have paid more attention; when you bust your Aunt eating toothpaste like a bar of chocolate, maybe, just maybe, that should trigger something if not her occasional psychotic bursts and strip teases around the house. Needless to say my butt was whopped, but I wouldn’t have it any other way, Aunt Sue was such a gem.

First published on http://blog.storymojafestival.com

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