Fear

It was the time I joined my neighbor's children around their mother as she talked about ghost stories. I listened like always but was no longer afraid like the way I felt at first.

I remember me squatting at the bush I usually go to push and imagining a ghost coming from behind me, like the way she put it in the story - and then I would be turning; looking at all sides. Sometimes I would leave without completing the business that brought me there.

I also remember one other night, it should be around 2 am or 3 am; I was pressed and I didn't want to do it at the back of our house, because of pride and shame: for God's sake I am a big boy. As I hurried with my leg twa twa twa to the bush. It was in such a rush I accidentally kicked an animal. I said animal because I felt like my leg hit something as big as an elephant. The need to push vanished to thin air as I shouted, "Eeeeh!" with my eyes wide open and feet shaking - as I ran back. I can't remember again if I later went back or continued my panting to the house.

From childhood, I had always been afraid. I remember another night like that when after mama left the house to work in the hours of 6 am if I remember correctly - I would feel something like a snake crawling around the cloth I used to cover my body. Sometimes I would be quiet and pretend it was a lie, but other times I would scream, "Ehhhh!" Jumping outside. At another time, when mama would be bathing me outside the house at that hour; I would look away from the hot water running towards my spine and be picturing the trees that curved close by like snakes. I didn't jump because my mother was there. When I think of those days now and seeing my small brother scared all the time - I wasn't worried to join those saying, "you too dey fear," because his elder brother understood better.

The last I dealt with fear as I could remember was one day when after hearing those ghost stories from my neighbor, went to push as usual and then it started sneaking his way inside of my mind. I started turning my head at all angles - as if something was going to come after me. Then, I laid hold on something - I don't know where it came from, but it sounded like this, "So Stephen, tell me what's going to eat you up here. Which ghost is going to do something to you when you haven't done anything? Or better still, who would God allow to hurt you?" For that reason, the fear vanished. I also learned to keep my hearings fragile and I don't go to listen to ghost stories again from her; and even when I do, I shake it off.

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