Picture this. A six-year-old, running down the street playing with her siblings, her neighbors and their dog, picking sunflowers in nearby bushes and laughing recklessly.
Fast-forward years later, an adult terrified of dogs (and turkeys- there’s no background to this, those creatures are terrorists).
Let’s start from the beginning.
• • •
Once upon a time, there was a dog named Lucky.
The irony, because when it came to Lucky, I was always unlucky.
I don't remember if he was a white dog with black spots or a black dog with white spots, but he was a dog with spots.
We had two close neighbors. One to our left, separated by a fence, the other adjacent to the first, on the other side of the street. We all lived in peace and harmony. The children from all three houses coming out to play together in the evenings, the adults having a good rapport. It was a pretty decent neighbour-neighbour relationship.
Dogs are popularly considered the most loyal animals, so tell me why Lucky switched owners from one neighbor to the other who had a bigger house. You see why dogs can't be trusted?
I've been chased by dogs five times in my life. I'm talking forget-your-slippers-and-run kind of chase.
One of those times may or may not have been in a dream but that's not important.
Two of the five times was definitely by Lucky.
The other two were shared between a homeless dog and another called Boosky further down the street.
The first time Lucky chased me, in the famous words of Divine Oduduru, ‘I never esperred it.’
• • •
Chinecherem was our next door neighbor's child, Lucky's original owner before his migration, and my play partner on this fateful day.
Her name in the Igbo language means 'God thinks on my behalf. Lucky must have been thinking of her too.
Chinecherem and I were in her compound playing house the best way six-year-olds could.
I was cooking some makeshift Egusi soup with lemon grass, some palm oil my mum would later find out was from her kitchen, some white sand, salt and seasoning cubes. Chi was left with the responsibility of making the Eba out of white sand and water.
We were slaving away in our imaginary outdoor kitchen when Chi cut her finger whilst turning the Eba in an old tin container we found laying around.
Just as I was nursing her finger and consoling her as tears flowed from her eyes, Lucky was taking his routine afternoon stroll past his old owner's house, whose gate was wide open.
This might sound dramatic, but I and Lucky must have locked eyes for a solid one second before I realized I was being chased. My heart jumped out of my chest.
How do I communicate to dog that I wasn't hurting it's owner, but helping her?
No explanation was needed, because as soon as I clocked what was happening, I had taken to my heels and was half way down the street and in my father's house in no time, panting and having a nervous breakdown trying to explain to everyone why and from whom I was running.
When it came to inter-house sports competitions, I always came in last. Was it the fact that I was in Yellow House? Or I just wasn't fast enough? We'll never know.
But if there's one thing I can boast of, it's that no dog has ever caught up with me in a chase. Not even in my dreams.