‘James! James! James! Wake up!’
I sit on my brother’s bed and shake his legs.
‘Stop pretending. I saw your eyes twitch when I opened the curtains.’
I tap him on his back. He rolls over and pulls the sheet over his head.
‘Wake up – one, wake up – two; wake up – three… I’m not joking with you o.’
I’m beginning to tire of his nonsense.
‘James, wake up!’ I shout in the general direction of his ears but get no reaction.
‘Ehn ehn, this is how you want to play it abi? Okay. No problem’
I leave his room.
I return with a cold glass of water and start to sing softly.
‘Happy Birthday to you, happy birthday to you….’
As I finish the song, I dump the water on James’ head.
‘Blood of Jesus!’ He shouts. He nearly takes out my eyes when he jumps out of his bed and lands face-first on the floor – strike one, I cheer silently.
‘Blood of Zachariah and John the Baptist nko.’ I taunt as I drop the cup on a chair and turn to face him.
I can’t help but giggle as he tries to mop the water on his face with his lucky shirt – mum bought it for him a long time ago.
‘You are very wicked. See, my blanket and bed got wet – it will start to smell.’
‘Nothing new about that, my dear.’ And I laugh so hard until my sides start to hurt.
“You are laughing?” James blurts out in disbelief.
“No o. I’m crying.” I say mockingly.
‘If I catch you, I swear I will remove all your teeth.’ I move out of reach just as he lunges for me, murder in his eyes. He loses his balance and lands like a sack of sweet potatoes on the floor. His legs had been tangled up in the sheets when he fell out of his bed earlier.
‘Strike two.’ I yell, laughing and jumping like a werey. Tears fall from my eyes and I have to lean against the wall to keep myself from falling. Today, the theme color of his room is warm and earthy. I like it. His creativity and design sense never ceases to amaze me.
‘This is not how you handle a big man like me, especially on my birthday. In fact, you are manhandling me.’ He looks like an Egyptian mummy on the floor.
‘Big man ke? Since when. Bros you just turned twenty, who is deceiving you? Shebi it’s those girls with small bum-bum in your school.’
James opens his mouth as if to protest but I put my hands up.
‘I don’t want to hear pim. Before you say anything, let me tell you now that I got us tickets to the music festival downtown. Ah! I see your eyes are already shining. Oya! You can talk now, but mind what you say or I will just misplace your ticket.’
‘My sister, my sister.’
‘My brother, my brother.’
‘My favorite big sister in the world.’
‘Correction. You mean your only sister in the world – make that your only sibling.’
‘Ehn ehn na.’
James picks himself up from the floor and detangles his legs from the sheets. Unexpectedly he pulls me into a tight hug.
‘Happy Birthday J-boy.’ I sigh into his neck. I try hard to hold back the tears this time.
‘Thank you, Jane.’
‘And thank you for the tickets. What will I do without you?’
‘I see that you’re not a mannerless human being after all. Good. To answer your question – nothing.’
‘Happy Birthday to you too, stubborn goat.” James says and nips my ear.
‘Ouch! Stop that.’ I pull away from him and cover my ears with my hands.
‘Well, it’s nice of you to finally remember that I am your twin – your older sister, and not the house-help.” I say sarcastically.
‘Please. It’s not like you will ever let me forget that you entered this world a minute before me, Madam Jane.’