On the way from school, Miri found a little dog. The puppy followed her home. Her father was very angry about it. He accused his wife of buying the dog for Miri. Later, he believed that the puppy willingly followed her home. He informed the police about it. Miri believed that it was God who has given her the puppy. She named it Velocity and Victory. The dog soon became very popular. It understood sixteen languages including Esperanto. It could solve problems in mathematics. That special talent earned it the name, the little angel. At the 3rd International dog competition, it won nine gold medals from ten events. That made the police become interested it the little but wonderful dog. Three police officers visited Miri's parents, and asked them to lend them the dog. After many months of refusal, they sadly lent it to the police. After a few years, the police organised another dog competition. They invited Miri to go with them. On the way, something incomprehensible happened. Miri, Velocity and the police found themselves in an incomprehensible equilateral triangle. The rain, like their tears, began to drizzle.
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Miri, an eight-year-old girl, loved house pets like many of her friends did. Visiting her friend, Janina, to play with Janina’s pet, was always a joyful moment for her. And there was absolutely nothing that could replace the die-hard urge and calling for her to also have a house pet.
For children, the pet in their house was like their first friend and playmate. They would share everything with it. That was the first proof that children were not close-fisted. They really never saw animals as animals but as living entities like themselves. Forms and shapes were of no significant importance to them. Someone was always bigger, fatter or taller than the other. That was an undeniable fact. It would be seen clearly that young children love young animals more than the older animals because of the rapport between them and young animals.
Children seemed to be in the same world of innocence and play with them. It was joyful for them to play and laugh all day long, and to stay awake at nights, until they involuntarily would be taken away by sleep. All children wanted to have a pet in their parents’ house, be it a butterfly or something else.
Miri was not different from the other children. She could stand or sit, looking at a young animal for hours and hours without being tired or getting fed up with her constant look and admiration of it.
Luckily, Janina was living close to her. She only needed to walk for about three minutes to be with her and spend the whole time in the garden, goggling and talking with her pet. They would not only laugh with their mouths but with their eyes, too. The laughing with their eyes was expressed in their joyful look, with their eyes as big as car tyres!
Janina’s house pet was a little tiny tortoise which was about three years old. The joy in looking at the small creature creep and wink its eyes was wonderful and indescribable. Its name was Moonlight.
The two friends would sit and watch the creature with endless smiles and laughter. Their joy was real and great. They had nothing to hide whenever they laughed and clapped their hands for a little creature because they laughed and clapped their hands out of the fullness of the joy in their hearts. Their laughter and applause stood for openness and simplicity with the world around them. Such was their world every day. And every day, the world became bigger, wider, stronger and endless.
In their own eyes, the world stretched into eternity. That was why they were always happy. Apart from, sometime, being afraid of their parents, when they misbehaved, children feared nothing about their future in all its ramifications.
Miri and Janina believed that Moonlight never slept day or night. For them, the tortoise understood them, every bit of what they said to it. And they felt that it was talking with them, too. That was a beautiful world to behold and experience. The world of smiles, laughter, simplicity and understanding belonged to them. The world of care, caresses and tenderness, to all and all, was their free gift from the almighty God. The world of children was full of innocence and happiness. And that was a world without woes, worries and fears. Such was the real world to dream about and live in.
The world was incomparably wide and endless. No wonder that the holy book said that the kingdom of God belonged to children. Those who wanted to go into it and inherit it had to become like children. That was why the bible says, “If angry, beware of sinning. Let not your irritation last until the sun goes down.” That was a biblical examination. Only children could fulfil that biblical urge and law and inherit the kingdom of God. That might mean that all adults would fail in the exam and consequently would find it easiest to get a doctorate degree and a free visa to go to hell! And the gate of hell was happy, waiting to receive those adult males and females who sinned when angry, even after countless years.
Janina was one of Miri’s best friends. But Miri visited her more than she visited Miri. They really loved each other. In the end, it was difficult to say why Miri actually visited Janina. Was it to visit Janina or to visit her house pet? Of course, Miri was visiting Janina. She wasn’t visiting the tortoise. That was a known fact. Who was Janina without the tortoise? What was she to Miri without the tortoise? Of course, a friend was always a friend, despite some misunderstandings between friends. And here were three friends, together, once again to smile, talk and laugh with one another.
As usual, Miri and Janina sat down, talked, laughed and sang songs. Sometimes, they shouted very loud and clear as if they were enjoying an echo, where there was no echo. Nothing else. Nothing else? That was what lay men said whenever children began to play and shout at the top of their voices. And they would stop, only when they were interrupted by something or somebody.
Moonlight seemed to enjoy their shouting and yelling about. Moonlight was a special name chosen by Janina herself. The name was soft to say, and it was really soft in the ears.
Once again, it was time for the friends to part. They were very sad because it was too sudden and too soon, although they had spent six hours together. So it was always, always too soon to part. It was never too soon for Miri and Janina to visit each other. It was only too soon for them to leave each other. With sadness, Miri told Janina and Moonlight a hearty good night. And the talking, laughing, shouting and singing waned into oblivion, hoping to continue it again another very similar day.
It would be good for Miri to also have a house pet, so that she and her friends would also play with it. It would be a dream come true. It could be any kind of pet. But it should be a pet with which one could stroll, play and talk.
She already had made a long list, including and deleting some names many times. She wrote the name humming bird thrice and she deleted it thrice. For her, humming birds were some of the most fascinating birds the world was blessed with. Their super mastering of flight, backward and forward, was glorious. She deleted the name because she wanted what could creep or walk on the ground.
She had just finished her homework. Her mother went to her and gave her some biros, pencils and erasers. “Mama,” she called, “I want to have a house pet like my friends do,” she told her. Enibokun looked at her for a very long time. “It is good to get your own house pet. I support it. But first, you have to discuss it with your papa,” She advised. “No, mama, you have to discuss it with papa,” Miri riposted. Her mother explained to her that papa hated house pets but that she would try to convince him to buy one for her.
In the evening, as Miri had gone to bed, Enibokun went to Ife and sat down beside him. They cracked some jokes and laughed together. “Miri would like to have a house pet like all her friends do. She would like to have a dog as a house pet,” she said. On hearing that, Ife covered his face with his left hand. For a long time, the hand covered his face. Later, he moved the hand and covered only a half of his face. His right eye was open. Later, he removed the hand from his left eye and placed it on his mouth. “Is all ok?” his wife asked him. He gave no reply.
Enibokun went back to Miri and saw that she was already fast asleep. The following day, Miri asked her what her father had said about the house pet. Her mother replied that her father said nothing because he was too tired to talk, after working nearly throughout the whole day. His silence was also a sign that he was deliberating on the issue.
Her mother knew very well that Ife would object to any discussion about having a house pet. Nevertheless, she decided that Miri should talk with him personally about it. She advised her to thrill her father with some piece of music, dance and her paintings before telling him that she would like to have a house pet.
Miri could play violin very well. She also could paint imaginative objects very well. Her father was always very pleased to see her sing, dance and play violin. He also was very happy to look at her paintings. She had a lot of painting skills. That was why her mother had advised her to thrill her father with some of her talents before asking him to buy her a puppy.
She told her that when her father would be in a happy mood,she should perform some music and dance. She advised Miri to play a special tune with her violin. She should play a cowboy tune because her father loved cowboy films, cowboy’s dances and their songs.
Secretly, Miri rehearsed her music, songs and dances. Crowning them with her best paintings, she went to her father and told him that she had a surprise for him. She packed out her violin and played a soothing note. Her father clapped his hands and shouted, “More! More! You are wonderful.” The praises from her father gave her the impetus to ride on with more music and ballet displays.
In the end, she brought out her paintings. Her father wondered how she had imagined and painted the images. Miri, noticing her father’s joy and satisfaction, looked at him for a long time, her face brightened with a smile. “Papa,” she called, “buy me, please, a puppy. Papa, please, I need a puppy like my friends do.” Her father looked at her briefly, got up and asked her to wait for him.
He went straight to Enibokun and accused her of planning a coup in the house. ‘What coup? What do you mean?’ she asked. “A coup with Miri, to declare war in this house,” he said. “What coup?” she asked again. “Are you feigning ignorance about the show? Go on and on and feign your ignorance. You know how this show would end, and what
it would cost both of you. Your planned coup will receive an absolute nay from me. And this I tell you, when Miri weeps because of my reaction, you have to blame yourself for it,” he said. He went back to Miri, hiding his anger. Enibokun was petrified. How could a father react to a little girl’s wish that way?
Ife sat down beside Miri and asked her who planned the show for her. “My mama. Mama said after I have played my violin and danced, I should ask you to buy a house pet for me,” she said softly. “I know. You see, I was angry. But now, my anger is over because you told daddy the truth. You really played the music very well. You are a genius. Play me another cowboy tune again,” he told her. Miri played a nice tune again. Ife looked at her for a long time, and told her that he would think about her wish.
Miri thanked him, got up with happiness, and went to her mother. “Papa has agreed that I should own a house pet,” she said with an infant joy. Her mother sighed for relief and said, “Papa always needs a long time to decide.”
Enibokun was very happy. She went to her husband and hugged him, thanking him for the great gesture. “What great gesture?” he asked her. “The great gesture that you’ve agreed to buy Miri a house pet. She told me that you’ve promised her one,” Enibokun said. “I never told her that I would buy her a house pet,” he replied with a little anger on his face. “I told her rather that I would think about it.” Both of them sat in silence. The silence seemed to be positive and encouraging.
At a very busy bus stop, Ife sat down on a bench, waiting for the next bus to arrive. Beside him were two little girls of Miri’s age. With them were two puppies, very young puppies. They seemed to be a few weeks old. The girls carried them on their shoulder, cuddling and singing them some sort of lullaby.
Ife had feelings of disgust about the girls and their hateful puppies. He felt like grabbing the dogs from them and smashing their heads on the asphalt. With such a feeling of disdain, he became mad.
Soon, the girls began to talk with each other. From their discussions, Ife understood that they never knew eachother before. Said one to the other, “Who bought your puppy for you?” With an air of pride, she replied, “My daddy bought it for me. I’m very happy that my daddy is my daddy.” Then, she looked at her dog and asked, “Is it not true, Generosity?”
As Ife saw how grateful the girl was to her father, something like a bee seemed to have stung him in his heart. He could hear it buzz in his heart, ready to sting again. The second girl asked the first girl who bought her dog for her. She replied, “My mother bought it for me. I’m very happy that my mother is my mother. Is it not true, Infinite Love?”
Ife thought more about the names of the puppies. One was called Generosity. The other was called Infinite Love. They were sweet names for ugly animals. Ife was like a dead man. A more wicked bee and a scorpion seemed to have stung him hard again. From the mouths of children went out praises and adoration for their parents. It looked like the kingdom of God had come upon them in a perfect bliss. They became the children of the great kingdom.
Ife left the bus stop, looking dazed, as if his head had suddenly become heavier than the rest parts of his body. He thought about the two girls, the two dogs, their two statements and the two names of their puppies. Each girl was as strong and resilient as the other. Each statement they made was powerful.
Ife was now far away from them. Still, he could hear the tiny voices repeating their statements into his ears. He tried to wave off the tiny voices of the children who were praising their father and mother in the name of dogs. The more he tried, the louder the voices became. They haunted him up the hill, down the hill, up the hill, down the hill and across a psychological hill.
The girls never laughed at the bus stop. But now and again, in his imagination, Ife could hear them laugh, laughing with their dogs. It was like a dire hallucination. He began to imagine that Miri was also laughing that way, laughing with the two girls, full of love, happiness, vigour and life.
How would Miri qualify him as her father? Was she happy like those girls at the bus stop, that her father was her father? Here, Ife was greatly perturbed. Was he robbing his daughter of her childhood wish and dream, happiness and joy? Had he gone too far by blocking his little daugh
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