I don’t know for a fact what I am about to tell you but my suspicions are strong.
I lived with my father, growing up and it was very hard for him to take care of us after our mother walked away following several years of abuse.
Now, I really do not know the full story between my parents because it was difficult, still difficult for me to hate my late father; he was a loving father. How come he and my mother couldn’t live peaceably especially as I know my mum loved us, too?
I really don’t get it; when I asked my dad, he told us my mother was a stubborn woman who because she was making money felt too big for her shoes; my mother on the other hand said my father wanted to take her money but keep her subdued and when she refused, he would beat her.
So when mum left us; I guess out of pride, my father refused to take anything she offered; I remember we had to be pulled from our private schools and enrolled in government owned schools. I didn’t mind because I made lots of friends and I met my best friend there, so it worked for me.
But over the years, things became hard for my dad and those were the years without GSM. My mother was transferred , yes she worked in a bank, she was transferred from Akure to one town in Benue state.
In fact before she left, she told me, being the first child that she asked for the transfer as it would also come with a salary raise and since my father was being too hard headed, she was going there to start a new life.
At that time, the only means of communication was Nipost, she gave me a P.O box address through which I could write her if I needed anything and in those days, Nipost took like two weeks to get there, and another two weeks will pass before you got a reply.
But we lived, you know, it was hard, my dad worked for the state’s ministry; he wasn’t making much to feed four children and send them to school but he was trying his best.
The worst part though was that naturally, the quality of the food we ate dropped!
No longer could we afford the lavish meals we had when our mum was around, and all of these began to happen like, a year after my mother left; it wasn’t long at all!
I mean, as you should expect; my dad would go to the market and buy stuff and at some point, he would buy just bones, you know the fat filled types; if you opened our pot of soup then, it would be watery stew and bones!
And me, I was a serious meat eater before then.
I was about 12 years old but still too young to connect the fact that the breadwinner of the house was gone so we would have bones for meat!
The funny part was, when we ate on Sundays, when everyone had to be present, my father would be chewing on the bones as if, it was the best bones in life, as if they were the best food to it.
My siblings and I couldn’t eat the bones, we complained it hurt our gums; after that, my father started bringing home, chicken feet and head to cook for us; and those spooked us so much we would be afraid to go into the kitchen; imagine opening your pot of soup and you see several chicken heads floating…
It’s now hilarious but back then, it spooked the hell out of my younger ones; they would say, ‘give me eba but no soup.’ And they would gladly eat their eba dry.
Then my dad began to bring a smelly kind of meat; as in, as if the meat had gone bad; when we complained, my father would say we were kids who knew nothing; he would spice up the meat, fry it and tell us it was a special kind of meat.
I never liked it; in fact, it cured my love for meat! it didn’t smell like meat, it didn’t taste like meat…you know
My dad told us it was goat meat… but when we boiled it, the whole house would stink!
Before then, I had never eaten goat meat nor smelled it but we hated ‘goat meat.’ It stank in our breath; in our sweat, so much that our school friends started calling us names…naturally, it wasn’t long before we told our dad we didn’t want ‘goat meat.’ We would do without meat on the days fish was not available!
One day, I went to an aunt’s home and after eating, I overheard her, just saying casually. Something about goat meat. So I asked her why she too liked goat me, telling her that I hated it, she said, ‘but you just ate it.’
I went like huh?
She laughed at me and told me I had just eaten goat meat I claimed to hate.
But this isn’t goat meat, it didn’t smell, I knew the awful nauseating smell I was referring to…my aunt looked at me for a while when I told her that’s the meat my dad had been buying…she suddenly burst into laughter and told me not to worry.
I got home and told my dad about the ‘meat.’
My dad was just calm, he later said, ‘meat is meat, be it goat meat or dog meat or any kind that men ate!’
Did he stop bringing home that meat? yes, he did. we just didn’t like the smell and the taste!
That’s why I believe the awful smelling meat my dad had been bringing home was dog meat. I had cause to catch that smell once after several years at one of those stop by restaurants you eat at Ore, if you are travelling by road.
Please understand my story is not to mock anyone, especially people who eat dog. No, I just wish my dad had warned me before then, to date, I don’t eat meat and I do not like dogs!
(Series Written and edited by Peju Akande and based on true stories)