It was another boring day to stay at home alone. My siblings have gone to school, my mother has gone to her business place and my elder brothers were prodigals who only breezed in once in a while to check in on us. I was confined permanently to the house because I just finished my WASSCE exams. So instead of roaming about I was stationed in the house.
I know and everyone around also knew I was a stubborn and smart ass but little did they know that I have made up my mind to turn a new leave.
During my solitary confinement days, I took the liberty to read some the novels my late father left behind. (May his soul rest in peace) book she if starting with “the chicken chasers” by Chukwuemeka Ike. I then read the Radiance of the king by Camara Laye. I read them with keen interest and hungered for more. There and then I drew a map and read through them ranging from Nigerian Authored to African Authored then finally settled for foreign authors.
The content and context of these books varied from each other that I understood that their perspective differed even in books that have the same story lines.
On one faithful day, there was no book I could read neither was there anyone or anywhere to visit as I barely stay around (Boarding school). I got in touch with the encyclopedia on that day and saw a different kind of dictionary i.e. a colourful pictorial dictionary. I have gone through three (3) voluminous copies and retired on the fourth which ranged from J-L and dozed off. It was the sharp sound of the door bell that woke me up. My mum and siblings were back.
It was just 7pm, it’s unlike them. I hurried opened the door and said welcome. They all entered looking haggard and tired. Next I heard was sprinkles of water from the showers. They were taking their bath. They needed it I thought.
It was not long my mum entered the kitchen to perform her motherly duties of preparing dinner. “Ifeanyi; please go and buy me tinned tomatoes from the junction”. My mother called. Handing me a
N20 note she said “buy me two tins of tomapep (a kind of tinned tomatoes) and please hurry”. I hurried out and got to the junction but it was N 15 per one, I went to 3 other stores and they also sold for N 15. I decided to buy one and go back home, on getting home it was war for me. “Where have you been, how long will it take you to get to the junction and get back here” as if that wasn’t enough she went further and said “you good for nothing boy”. I got angry, dropped the tomatoes and the change and left for my room. But the war hasn’t ended. She pulled me back with the collar of my shirt and said “what is this” pointing at what I dropped. “Its N 15 per one and not N 10”. I replied her with a water logged eyes. “You thief, lair, stupid boy”. . . . . . as is she has waited for this day to come, the curses were much and still not finished when I felt my head aching due to the accumulated construction encyclopedia and the destructive rain of curses trying to force its way into my head. I was just muted in her presence with nothing to say. The tears dropped uncontrollable and I left her presence. She called out my name but I opened the door and went outside and was crying.
She asked my sister to continue the cooking so that she would go with me to the junction and confirm how much I bought the tomatoes. I walked ahead of her while she followed me with stories of my past misdeeds. We got there and she took charge of the situation. I stood two feet away from her, my hands crossed behind me and head bent down in shame. She started by greeting the woman then pointed towards me. This boy is my neighbor’s son, (I looked up in surprise; my mother just denied me) and the mother has been shouting that he was supposed to buy something of
N10 instead be bought N15. Sounding as if she was innocent in the matter. So I was going out and I decided to help confirm is he was telling the truth” she concluded. The woman replied her saying “Yes, a tinned tomato is now N 15 the price has gone up”. She walked past me without a word and I looked at her and nodded my head in astonishment.
When I got home, I went straight to my room, cried a little and slept on an empty stomach. My sister came in and said she was sorry for my mum’s mis-conduct but I told her it was OK; that am used to it. She offered to bring me my food but I told her I wasn’t hungry. She left and I locked the door and went back to sleep.
The next ay was a Saturday, I rose up early and went for morning Mass. There after I waited to see the Rev. Father and we discussed. I told him what transpired between me and my mum. He held my hands in his and said “my son A GOOD DEEDS DOES NOT ERASE THE BAD ONE”. Just give it time it will pass”. We ended the session with a prayer and went back home.
Breakfast was ready but I was not enticed. I took my bath, dressed up and left the house.