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“Fa`idah! Fa`idah! Wake up, Let`s go play with the other children!”. Shouted my brother, Danalami, pointing outside.

I had to wake up from my peaceful nap on the now-hard mattress that I’ve slept on for about my whole life.

“What do you want?” I asked. He pointed his hand back out the jagged hut door. I looked at the children in their expensive uniforms. “Private School,” I said in my mind. They were boys and played with the dirt on our farm outside. It took us long enough to make that farm and now, some stuck-up boys in expensive private school uniforms are trying to ruin a month of my life`s hard work. Ever since papa left and Mama died, I`ve had to do just about everything for us to survive. I’m practically Danlami`s mother If you ask me.

I walk up straight to those richly-rich boys, Sand rising at the stomp of my feet. I point a finger at one of them`s chest. He just stared at me blankly, as if he`d never seen a dark, dark girl like me with the black curly strands of her hair still sticking out of her hijab. “Now you listen to me…” I started fuming. “Don`t you ever step onto this property EVER again!” I shouted. The boy receded backward, slowly. Clearly still stunned and still staring blankly. Fa`idah had thought she won this round, but one of the boys decided to speak up; “Or else WHAT!!” asked the bot “you are just a schoolgirl who can`t afford to inform like these” he said”. Backing away with his other friends, I was furious, but I didn`t do anything because the boys were right.

I slithered back to my jagged hut and buried my face in my hands. There was this disturbing little bluebird that kept chattering around my window. Noticing we had no food to eat, I planned on using it for food. That`s when the bird did the most miraculous thing. The bird sang this ridiculous song, that said; `Faidah! Do not kill me, for something great awaits you if you don`t! I was shocked but willingly listened. The bird told me that he was magical, and that he could give me whatever I wanted… if I promised to keep him a secret. I agreed without hesitation. I sounded simple. Well, boy was I naïve.

About two years past, and Danlamin and I lived well-off, private schools and all. We dealt with those richly-rich uniform boys well, yes, sent them straight to the workhouse. But one day, I did something terrible, my so-close friend, Zainab, came over to my house which was now a huge mansion. She asked me where I get all my money and things from if I don`t even have parents. I bit my lip. I was just about to answer when the bluebird came singing that annoying song. Zainab left, the bluebird had this angry expression on his face. Almost human, he chattered on and on about how selfish and vain and monstrous I was. Not to mention the fact I betrayed him RIGHT IN FRONT OF HIM. I tried to explain but he wouldn`t listen. He told me I wanted to be understood but not understand. That was the last I saw of him. Nowadays, I like to think my little bluebird would come back.

Yeah right, I wish. I still have my brilliant mansion and a little money left behind but there is not going to be more. There never will be.

Maybe… all this was just a misunderstanding. After all, I do only like to be understood and not to understand. I would shade myself under the huge palm trees while the tropical Nigerian sun still bathed my legs and recall the day my little bluebird left me.

What can I say, AM I misunderstood? Or should I say, Miss Understood.

By Karina Ighali