by Eunice Oladeji
Right after my parents died, I was packaged to my brother’s home. I was still in shock from watching my parents burn to death in a fire that I started. At an age where everything was fascinating and worth trying, I had lit a match close to a leaking gas cylinder. The explosion that ensued flung me against the edge of our kitchen table. My father was the first to get to me. Mother was upstairs, ill in bed. He carried me out and told me to run to our neighbors. He ran back inside to get mother, but neither of them made it out.
So, when father and mother died, there was nowhere else to go, except his house. Gabe and I were never close, so it was just strange and awkward at his place. It was worse with Faye, because I saw her as just one of the random girls that Gabe moved with, and not his wife. I desperately needed comfort and someone to share my grief and guilt with. I needed assurance that their death was not entirely my fault. I desired a hug to take away the pains that tore at my six-year-old heart. But, Gabe could offer me none of these. Things got worse a year later when Gabe and Faye divorced. Gabe said he could no longer cope with taking care of me. He put me up for adoption. I thought it was a joke, until my first foster parents walked up the front porch of Gabe’s house. I can’t recall the surname they came with, but I remember the cigarette smell that clung to them. After some hasty handshakes between the adults, I was taken to their green truck. I remember the color of the truck because I so much dislike green and that made me conclude I was not going to like that couple either. I was right.