During my brief stay with mummy, she asked me not to disclose to anyone in the neighborhood that she was my mum. She said she didn’t want anyone asking her silly questions. I was compelled to call her by her name -Carol- instead of the usual ‘mummy’ that I was accustomed to. Though it felt very strange, I had no other option.
Mummy also pleaded with me not to mention to anyone that she was making plans to travel, at least, until she left. She was incredibly superstitious and believed that some forces were probably going to thwart her plans if the news got to their hearing.
Mummy was so excited to make the big journey. The ‘guy’ making the arrangements for her to go abroad happened to be a rich chief. He had lots of wives and concubines and it was no news that he always puts his money where his mouth is. Therefore, mummy decided to take full advantage of the opportunity. Her plans were really falling into place.
Mummy could not wait to leave for the United Kingdom. I could tell from her mood and expression that she was happy.
“I’m going to a land flowing with milk and honey and I have no need to worry” was her new slogan.
As mummy dressed up to leave, her phone kept ringing at intervals.
“This na hundred thousand naira. Take am do anything you want. If you wan commot the belle, you commot am, if you no wan commot am, na you sabi.”
Mummy slammed a bundle of naira notes on the table as she put finishing touches to her makeup.
“I don’t need your money.” I yelled out in frustration.
Mummy looked from the mirror to me. She eyed me and hissed.
“I no blame you! No be because I wan help you?”
“I don’t need your help and I don’t need your money! I just want to feel loved- you know, to be wanted, to feel like someone cares about me- and, sorry, money can’t buy that!
I’ve always longed for you to be there for me. I’ve always tried my best to reach out for your love….but you don’t care one bit about me. What kind of a mother are you?!”
I paused and allowed tears to pour carelessly down my cheeks.
“I’ve heard stories of how you wanted to abort me. How you nearly snuffed out life from me before I could see the light of day but I refused to believe them. I convinced myself that those stories were all lies! But you have proved me wrong. Behold! You are advising me to do the very same thing.
Here you are, already set to fly away and leave me behind. You only think about yourself!
I don’t want to end up like you- never! It may not be convenient, but I will keep this baby. That is what I have decided to do.”
Mummy was silent. She never uttered a word in her defense.
I snatched the bundle of naira notes from the table in annoyance, counted five thousand naira and pulled it out from the rest.
“This will be enough to take me back to Lagos.”
I motioned to a corner of the room, faced the wall and sobbed even more.
Mummy walked towards me. With my back turned against her, she placed her hand on my shoulder.
“I’m sorry…..but I can’t stay any longer. I just have to go.” Whether she was really sorry or not, I couldn’t decipher.
I watched mummy as she walked out of the room. She wheeled her big blue box behind her. She wore a skinny jean and a black top with a high ‘fro on her head. Her high heels knocked against the ground with every step she took away from me and towards a parked black SUV.
“Can a mother forget her child?
Can she feel no love for the child she has borne?
Even though she forgets,
I will not forget you!
I have written your name on the palms of my hands……”
As the car zoomed off, I saw figures of people in the vehicle. I could hardly see their faces through the tinted windows and teary eyes. I never saw or heard from mummy.
to be continued…