THE BONE THAT GOT AWAY by Chika Eneanya

We had a dog once, a Labrador retriever; loving, jolly, smart, energetic and amazing. He loved to play fetch, only we called it catch ‘catch.’ I’d throw the stick a little distance away and enthusiastically, ears drawn back, he’d race and return with the stick in his mouth which I’d have to wrestle from his canine clench and throw again.

Teddy was spoilt rotten by my mum. At least once in a month, she’d go to the market and buy biscuit bones and make this bone pepper soup for Teddy. Lucky dog that Teddy; sometimes I wished I was Teddy, maybe I’d get my own monthly special of doggy pepper soup.

Teddy had this funny habit of slurping the stock, eating all the bones except for one, which he would drag away from the plate with his mouth and going to a corner he’d drop it on the floor. If you tried to pick it up to put it back into his plate, he’d growl at you. On one such occasion I screamed at him, “I’m not a dog! I don’t even want your bone!” but he didn’t care. Sometimes neighborhood dogs, hungry dogs that had no one to make them doggy delicacies stood afar, eyeing the juicy bone and then taking cautious steps towards it. Teddy without fail would spring into action, attacking the dogs viciously till they fled with a yelp and tail between their legs; yet he returned back to his position, far away from the bone but close enough to gaze disinterestedly at.

This would go on for days; the bone would lose its moistness, get dried out by the harsh rays of the sunlight and turn an unappetizing brown. He’d bury it in a shallow grave sometimes, then dig it up at bored moments, gnaw at it for a few minutes and then drop it as if its lack of flavor finally repulsed him, finally tired him out but I’d dare any one to show the minutest interest in that bone. His disinterested gaze would have turned ferocious in a flash!

It’s been years since Teddy went to doggy heaven where all dogs are the masters and get to walk men on leashes. I kid! Yes, years since I thought of him, but something strange happened to me that jolted me into realizing that I was not so different from Teddy! An immature, spoilt dog of the female kind.

There I was by my little corner observing the world with bored disinterest when someone who saw the value of the precious bone I didn’t want and denied others from having, trundled in and made away with it. Finally my bone would get what it deserved; a dedicated chew to nothingness while I returned with my tail between my legs, not regretting the loss but irritated that I couldn’t stare at it from my distance. A conversation I had in my early twenties with my close friend suddenly flashed in my head.

“Do you know when a guy loves you and you know you will never love him back but you want him to always love you and you feel angry and betrayed when he suddenly stops chasing after you and walks away?” echoes of the whiny youthful voice of my friend Aiseosa seeking approval from younger me. “Yes, how dare he move on? He should be your fool forever, okwa ya?”

“Yes!” I join in her laughter.

“He said he’d love me forever! What a liar! He sure bounced back quickly after all my Nos and asked someone out so fast it means he was cheating on me sef!” Aiseosa half accuses and giggles; the irrationality of the conversation isn’t lost amidst our giggles.

“You never dated him! You don’t even like him! You are a psycho!” I throw my hands up as we share a hearty laugh which quietens suddenly

“Seriously though, I know what you mean, you don’t want him yet you don’t want anybody else to have him, I understand.” We share a look, it makes perfect sense and our smile turns wistful.

I think of young me now, years later, sporting more scars and wiser; having abandoned all that nonsense of youth and yet a single thought creeps in, the last word, a mischievous tongue out to me. I wasn’t so far off from the girl that giggled in agreement with Aiseosa. It didn’t help matters that the woman he left me for is prettier, it stings for a second. It’s all good though. It’s my payment for treating a man who loved me so shabbily.

 

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The opinions expressed are entirely those of the writer.

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About The Author

Osigweh Lilian Oluchi is a graduate of the University of Lagos where she obtained a B.A (Hons) in English, Masters in Public and International affairs (MPIA). Currently works with 1stnews as a Database Manager / Writer. [email protected]

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