“So, you see…it doesn’t matter what they put behind our surname, as long as the ‘Adesan-‘ remains there, the Crown will always pay for it. If the Crown has paid for it, we won’t have to pay for it anymore.” She concluded.
I smiled at her.
She smiled brightly in return.
“Do you understand now?” She asked.
“Yes!” I answered with vigour.
“Next time they try to make jest of your names, you must tell them what they means. Tell them you are a child of a king.” She said.
“Yes! I will!” I replied, grinning.
She squeezed my shoulder softly before using the hem of her sky-blue khaki school pinafore to wipe the remnants of my tears away.
“Won’t you guys come out now before you make everybody late for work again!” Father’s voice boomed from the sitting room.
“Come on, let’s go!” She said, holding my right hand and leading me out of the bedroom.
“Don’t forget to wait at the school gate after closing time! I don’t want to start searching for you guys all over your school again before we can go home!” Father literally shouted at us above the loud screeches of his car’s tires.
We both looked at each other, smiling knowingly. Then we started to walk towards the school gate, holding hands. As soon as we were inside the school gate, she skipped away from my side to meet her friends. I shrugged slightly and started to walk towards the classroom to drop my backpack and foodpack.
I was nearly at the flower hedge in front of my classroom when I heard him.
“Èmónú!” He shouted from my back. Raw sarcasm was evident in his voice. I turned around and saw Charles and Kelvin walking towards me and grinning mischievously.
“Kelvin, good morning; Charles, good morning” I greeted them politely.
“Èmónú!” He shouted again, ignoring my greetings. Charles stood beside him, folding his arms.
“I bear the same name with Jesus Christ…and ‘Emmanuel’ means ‘God is with me’. It doesn’t matter how you call it.” I replied calmly.
The puzzled look that took over his face that moment could only have been involuntary. He was silent for some seconds before he spoke again.
“It’s a lie! It’s a lie!” He exclaimed, “Liar…liar!”
“No! It’s the truth!” I retorted, “Ask anybody…even Aunty Evenlyn” I said, referring to our class teacher.
He opened his mouth as if to reply, but he closed it again, probably unsure of what to say.
“Okay then! AdesanWood!” Charles chipped in, eyeing me venomously.
“Yes!” Kelvin took it up, “Adesangbe…Adesanstone…Adesanpencil…Adesan…what else?” He asked, turning to Charles for inspiration.
“Book!” Charles replied.
“Yes! Adesanbook! Adesaneverything!” Kelvin said, a look of triumph spreading all over his face.
“My surname is ‘Adésànyà’ and it means ‘the Crown has paid for my suffering’. So, it doesn’t matter anything you put behind it, the Crown has paid for it.” I said to them calmly, repeating the same words I once heard spoken to me.
“But…” Charles said…
To be continued…