How do I begin? Well it all started on a Saturday afternoon, 14th of June to be precise, 4:03pm(earth time). I was riding on my favorite pet (an elephant we named Pluto cos he was just so cool, like d planet exactly!) with my twin sister, God had told us we’d be going to earth pretty soon and we were both ecstatic. We had our lives all planned out, I was going to be born into the Middleton family so that in future I’d be married to a very famous prince and become a princess just as I was back home; my sister on the other hand just wanted to be with some guy in the Dekker family who would become a famous writer, telling the whole of earth about God and our kingdom. God had told us that though we wouldn’t be born in the same family, we would meet on earth, that was good enough for both of us. So when God finally said it was time, we couldn’t wait to get going, so we went or rather came.
The first word I heard was PUSH! then I stuck my head out, yay! earth! I thought. I hadn’t opened my eyes but there was something horribly wrong with the air that greeted me. It was just so hot! and so unbritish!, I knew, even though I had never been to earth. Ah! (the Nigerian version) God why? I suddenly remembered the mischievous grin He had on his face just as we left heaven; it was the look that said “I have a prank up my sleeve” but this wasn’t funny one bit! I was out with another push and prayed immensely that the joke was over.
“Madam, you don born girl”(pidgin english), the nurse said to my mother and I cried out hysterically- “What language is this?, where am I?” no one understood me and I would not be consoled. In the midst of my lamentation I suddenly cried out, AH!(our version again) and the room fell silent; in a second, the nurses were out of the room with lightening speed and I was dumped in my mother’s arms who was screaming something about me being her mother-in-law coming back to live with her son. What? Didn’t these people know that there was nothing like reincarnation? Oh my God! I must have traveled back in time, this must be the dark ages!
The doctor came into the ward to find out what the commotion was about, how could his nurses believe they heard a new born baby speak? My mother hurriedly handed me over to him and it was a miracle I didn’t fall. The doctor took me and scowled, whoever scowls at a new born baby? I wasn’t enjoying this experience at all, no one has been nice to me since I arrived and that wasn’t fair. I managed to get cleaned up and my mother shed tears and mumbled prayers as she fed me; what she was so scared about?, I’m the one in a strange place with strange people acting weird yet I’m calm enough to eat.
My father and the rest of the family came by in the evening and it was just horrible. With everyone who peered into my blanket it was “hmm”, “na wa o”, “mba”, “ahn ahn” (all Nigerian expressions), some would just shake their head like all hope was lost. My father didn’t say a word, he just paid the bills and left. We were discharged the following the day, when we arrived home, it was like someone had died and the family was mourning. I didn’t understand this strange tradition that mourned a baby’s arrival, why did they have babies then? this didn’t make sense. Once in the bedroom, my parents got into a big fight. My dad wanted to know how come I was so different and didn’t look like any member of the family, not even my mother. I was so relieved that someone had noticed the mix up and I would soon be returned to my British family.
Unfortunately, my relief was expressed as a cry and my mother trying to calm me down, carried me. That’s when it happened… I saw my reflection in the mirror and I understood the sadness and mourning, I was BENJAMIN BURTON! The movie was just an exaggeration to make it seem original but it was really my story. YEH! (9ja) I cried out, as usual, pandemonium again but that was the least of my problems. My real family wouldn’t accept me like this, even if they did, Prince William wouldn’t marry me, what would become of me?. Well nothing became of me, I was just a plague quarantined except when I was to be fed. My only companion aside angels was my three year old brother who was just fascinated by the little creature everyone else claimed was from his mother’s tummy.
On the eight day as was customary, I was to be named. My siblings had beautiful names like Michelle, Alexander, Anthony, Gloria, etc, at least these people had an amazing taste in names, I thought. After the prayers (which was more of an exorcism) and passing me around, I was finally handed over to my maternal grand mother who looked at me, smiled and said “AUGUSTINA (which is my name) after Saint Augustine!”. At this point, I’m too exhausted to throw a tantrum. My only consolation is that God always has a beautiful end to His pranks, I just pray I’m humoured else He has some explaining to do when I get back to heaven!, I say to myself. I hear Him laughing (He obviously heard me), when I look up, He’s there smiling at me. Who can say no to LOVE Himself?, I smile back , my first smile in eight days, probably my only till God knows when.