(It’s Saturday afternoon. Mrs Kuforiji is busy doing some house cleaning; Ronke is in the kitchen washing the dishes. Femi (in a t-shirt and knickers) is at the garden staring at the green vegetables with a black keg inhis hand. He sighs and then pours the liquid in the keg all over the garden. After a couple of minutes, he lights a matchstick and drops it in the garden! The whole place catches fire in a twinkle of an eye. Femi breathes heavily; his mother perceives the murky smell from the sitting room and looks towards the garden.)
MRS KUFORIJI: (shocked) Oh my God!
(Femi is on his knees in the sitting room while his sweaty mother is standing in front of him with piercing eyes. Ronke is standing by the door that leads to the kitchen.)
MRS KUFORIJI: (softly) Femi, what did you just do?
FEMI: (sharply) Nothing.
MRS KUFORIJI: Will you answer me?! Why did you do burn down our garden?!
FEMI: Stop shouting on me! Why won’t I? (Ronke is shocked at his fearless response) I came back from school yesterday with bruiseson my face but nobody noticed, not even you! Everybody is so bothered about what happens to Ronke in this house that I do not really matter…
MRS KUFORIJI: Femi, what are you saying? Are you out of your mind? I have always loved you and your sister equally…
FEMI: And that’s why you don’tcare about what happens to me?
MRS KUFORIJI: Oh…so what happened to you? Someone beat you at school? Is that all? But if you were considerate enough, you wouldn’t burn down that garden because that garden has saved us a lot of money in these hard times! Your father lost his job and had to settle with brick layering whilemy business is not doing well. Everybody is struggling! We have to pay rent, school fees and other expenses; it hasn’tbeen easy. Don’t you get it? Isthis how you should pay us back?
FEMI: (rather softly) Just like what I said…you don’t care about me. All you did for the past five minutes is talk abouthow you and dad are struggling while I’m the ungrateful son.
MRS KUFORIJI: (tearfully) Not atall. I love you, but what you’ve just done is too damaging to a family like ours.(Hugs him tightly) I’m sorry if I wronged you but always knowthat I love you. You and Ronke are the best thing that ever happened to me. (Ronke leaves for the kitchen, perplexed; Femi bursts into tears)
MRS KUFORIJI: Aww…my little boy is crying oh. But your father won’t take it lightly when he is back. We have to cook up something. (A motorbike enters the compound) Oya clean your eyes and sit right. Let me tell your father something like I was…
(Mr Kuforiji enters, looking worn out.)
MRS KUFORIJI: Dear, welcome. How…how was w-work today?
FEMI: Daddy, welcome.
MR KUFORIJI: (sits down, fanning himself with his hand) Work is just there. Laide, tell me what the problem is. Because I know when you stammer, there is surely one.
MRS KUFORIJI: (sighs deeply) It’s nothing much. Em…em…it’s the garden…
MR KUFORIJI: hm-hm? And…what’s with the smell I perceive…?
MRS KUFORIJI: It got burnt.
MR KUFORIJI: (shocked) What?!How?!
MRS KUFORIJI: Em…em, I…I was tired and so wet the vegetables unknowingly with fuel thinking it was water….andthen, it just…
MR KUFORIJI: What are you saying? You did what?! You wasted the fuel to my bike in consuming what sustains us? Are you okay?
MRS KUFORIJI: It’s God that sustains us, not a garden.
MR KUFORIJI: Keep quiet!
MRS KUFORIJI: Don’t you think you’re overreacting? It was a mistake.
MR KUFORIJI: Mistake? Come on, listen to yourself. How canthat be a mistake if not from awicked heart?
MRS KUFORIJI: Excuse me?
MR KUFORIJI: I hope what I heard isn’t true because I don’t know how a woman won’t want the progress of her husband…
MRS KUFORIJI: Jesus Christ! Nosane woman would do that.
MR KUFORIJI: Oh really? And is that why you made me lose myformer job? Is that…is that why you tricked me into having Femi after I warned you we don’t have enough resources for two children?! (Femi instantly leaves for his room; confused)
MRS KUFORIJI: Are you out of your mind? You shouldn’t say such in front of him.
MR KUFORIJI: Or is that why you ensured my relatives stayed away from me? What awicked heart you have!
MRS KUFORIJI: I am disappointed in you…
MR KUFORIJI: I am also scared of you. I won’t watch you ruin me! Nonsense. You poured fuel instead of water? (Scoffs and angrily picks his bike keys and leaves the house.)
MRS KUFORIJI: (sobs) Oh my God. What kind of accusation is this?