Egusi Soup

Describe one of your quirks


It begins with an itch, a malignant rash of fire and ice water running down my neck and arms. My heartbeat is a steady rhythm in my ears and my tongue is coated in lead. I have told a lie: an act that is contradictory to my nature.

I was six years old when I first discovered the consequences lying inflicted on me. "Who didn't eat their egusi soup?" My aunt's voice boomed through the living room even before she had appeared. She stepped out of the kitchen and looked at each of us in turn, her face contorted in annoyance. “Not me.” My cousin said, hastily. “Not me.” I echoed. My infant brother merely glanced up from the television with a mask of ignorance. “I think,” I asserted into the silence that followed, “I think I saw him throw his meal away.” My brother continued to gaze blankly at us. My aunt glowered. She picked him up by the arm and whisked him into the kitchen, where she proceeded to force feed him a cold meal of egusi and starch. The truth was this: I greatly disliked egusi soup but feared the indignation of my aunt even more. I did not anticipate the crippling waves of guilt that continued to plague me long after the incidence was forgotten.

As I grew older, I began to understand why I detested lying. The utterance...

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