Written by Alexandra Akinnadeju
I was at home nursing a terrible headache following a day of haggling and roaming in the sun, all in the name of shopping. I just wanted to unwind when I heard these screams, taunting and loud! I tried to ignore but it wouldn’t stop till I couldn’t bear any longer. I had to go ask if anyone else could hear what I was hearing because everyone around seemed unperturbed. My siblings informed me it was a daily occurrence, usually lasting hours. So I went to investigate, of course with a personal bodyguard – my brother. After several minutes of eavesdropping, we discovered the noise was originating from the neighbour’s. After a series of polite knocking without response, the screams stopped. We left for our house.
Then the screams resumed!
So I stood at the window closest to my neighbour and threatened to call the police if the screaming didn’t stop. I juiced up my half-empty threats with some unfriendly lines (not proud of myself). You wonder why I’m such a busybody. Truth is, gone are the days of “it’s her mother beating her up”. The list of bizarre things that could be going on at the neighbour’s is endless; from Sexual harassment, child abuse, kidnapping, just name it. I refuse to tag this the story of Adamu crying wolf without proof!
There had a been a scream l had ignored a few months back in a flat that I shared with two other guys; and while I was being convinced by my girlfriend to mind my business, an underage girl (whom I had seen around) ran out of one of my over-aged married neighbours’ room! “Have I made things worse for the young screaming girl in my neighbourhood?” I am still wondering.
Gone are the days when being able to scream “thief, thief!” was synonymous to dialing 911. People no longer bother to investigate strange noises. Ladies have also made matters worse–a very lovely gift– they scream, a tragic movie—“screams”, a funny post on Facebook—“screams”. If you’ve run into a friendly zone where a lady was simply screaming for excitement or surprise only to leave with both relief and an air of ‘wasted efforts’, you’d think twice next time before responding to what might actually be a distress call. Needless to say the street was empty, except for me and my brother.
Growing up in my home town, there was a code in every noise. In a case where the victim needed help, he/she would interject his epileptics/cry for help with the word, “Alade o” (calling every person in Alade Idanre to the rescue) “ayajo” – was for I’m merely ranting, calling unto God! Children cried, not scream when beaten (I blame this on too much TV) and any other noise was tagged insignificant.
There was a child screaming in my neighborhood behind an unlocked gate, I did not know if he was in trouble or simply practising for the days of trouble? Do I ignore or dig deeper (1 Corinthians 14:8-9)?
If you are a habitual screamer or false alarmist, you know those dramatic queens and kings (yes men scream too, some of them), you had better create a different tune and tone if you are really in distress, lest your neighbours think it’s just another episode in your season of theatrics.
If you hear a scream or what sounds like a distress call, do check if you can. Better to err on the side of caution, the trouble far away might just be headed in your direction.
Alade Idanre – a place in Ondo State, Nigeria.