“I have three childs” mother continued, pointing at the apartment she got for me three years earlier. “This one is the oldest one, Ayinde. Her junior ones is in Lagos university. Please is he around?”
“Mama, I have told you, there is nobody called Ayinde in this hostel. Just walk down the street and check other hostels” Brown, a friend replied her with great irritation.
I stood at the window of my apartment and watched my mother struggle with five of my friends. What is this old woman looking for. I thought to myself. Something in me wanted to walk out through the back door. But the anger in me kept me pinned to the point, I somehow enjoyed watching her struggle and sweat. It served her right. What was she looking for.
I caught myself shaking. Probably as a result of the much adrenaline that had saturated my body. Why should a young man like me not want to see his mother. The answer was simple. I had a reputation to watch after. After my three years stay in the university, I had grown to be a megastar. I wasn’t just a rich boy, I also was the president of FMF, Fresh Men Family. A famous clique known for class and swiss.
“Please do not obstruct me from seeing my child, please my children” she pleaded almost dropping her arthritis inflicted knee to the stony ground as another batch of sweat dribbled down her wrinkled face.
“Mama, hahaha… So you know the meaning of obstruct..hehe. Small small oo, we no sabi big grammar sha” another friend mocked her.
I remember that word, that was the first big vocabulary she taught me as a child. The ecstatic pleasure in her eyes that night was priceless as I finally pronounced it. Mother would teach me the little she knew every night. Yes, every night throughout my secondary school years, after which she would sneak out to work her third job at where only God knows so as to pay Mr. Know all, the very expensive master she employed to coach me in all subjects.
Her wrinkles deepened with frustration as tears swelled up her eyes. Strangely, I was happy. The more she suffered, the more satisfied I became. I couldn’t wait for her to leave.
“I have not see her in two years, I remember this house I take for him when he said he wanted a good place” Her hands moved in pleading motions like a beggar asking for alms.
She then stretched her hunger stricken neck as she managed her last strength to close up the distance that separated us despite the restrictions and called out
“Ayinde! My son…. Ayinde are you there? Your mother is here o. Come out and take me from this people that are obstruct me….”
Gesturing to the black nylon sac that had been sitting on her head all the while, she proudly said “look I have garri here for you, and what you like very very well, dry fish with yam.. Mama kunle our neighbor say I should give you this …..”
As she spoke, she pressed forward, almost getting to my entrance, Brown with great anger then pulled her back with her wrapper. She fell and her white undergarment showed face. Not just that, the black nylon fell and all it’s contents found their separate ways. Everyone was amused and laughed.
My mother just sat on the floor too tired and confused to talk. I saw it all over her face. Later she initiated to stand. Her facial muscles squeezed in pain as she held her now stained wrapper while rising. Almost gaining her ground, her buttocks instantly hit the ground again. A friend had pulled her down.
“All these witches, you won’t relent in pursuing innocent students!” another friend said. They then marched closer to her and took positions around her. I suddenly realized what these people could do to my mother. They would strip her naked and give her some beatings.
I immediately rushed from the widow side towards the door. I reduced my speed as I got out.
“Tiger! Tiger! Baba Tiger …Tiiiiiiger ” this was what filled everyone’s mouth as I strode forward like a real tiger, with eyes bulged.
It took time for my mummy to know it wasn’t a real tiger they where proclaiming, because the fear in her eyes manifested by vigorous shakings and urination was award winning. She kept scrambling aimlessly to escape from the jaws of a Tiger. Then she saw me.
The joy I saw in her was unspeakable, just like the one she expressed when I got my admission. Our eyes locked. I immediately broke it.
With one hand in my pants pocket, I stared around for a moment then started like a VIP, speaking one by one
“What is happening here guys, what is the challenge in this cool of the day”
Mother, who was still on the floor thought her savior had come. She just kept on nodding “Yes… Yes! Yes Ayinde…talk to them…they don’t have common home training! Useless Childs! ”
She then stretched her hand forward, towards me expecting to have her lifted. I just totally ignored her and continued. Pointing my left fifth finger towards her
“…and who is this? what is she selling? Guys, instead of rigmarolling and merry-go-rounding like a bunch of stupid kids, can’t you just throw her out of this premises! Hun!”
“Tiger baba! No vex… She said she is your mother, that’s why…”
“That’s why freaking what bastard! Told you my mother is in the US! Please clear this riffraff from here and make sure she tidies up this place before leaving” I said gesturing at the floor around us and walked away. Deep down, I knew I had bitten more than I could chew. But what could I do? I had to protect the image I spent years building.
Mother was too shocked to talk. She was passed a broom and she swept every single grain of garri after which she lead out to the road like a lamb to the slaughter to find her way.
All I thought of as I walked away was traveling back to the village that night to apologize to my widow Mother.
Some hours later, I sneaked out of the house to get to the motor park, I wouldn’t want to drive into the night. I walked for some minutes and then glimpsed some set of people wailing. I moved closer to see the object of their sorrow. My heart froze as I saw her, my mother on the road, crushed beyond repair.
Oh Lord, punish me. Here on earth and in heaven. I beg thee, have mercy and deal with me.