‘This is the same thing that happened twenty five years ago’ Mama said with a deep sigh, looking very attentively at a spot in the impeccably white coated roof, as if there was a picture of the twenty five years in it and she was trying to give a vivid description. Or perhaps, she was only occupying the passing minutes with a game of discovering a speck in the white sea of fresh paint above. She laid on the same bed that had occupied her for ages.
‘But Mama, how possible is it that, he left you twenty five years ago, you never remarried but you bore me twenty-three years ago.’ A concerned look creased my face. I was trying very hard to maintain my calm gesture, but the story she was now emotionally telling me was quite incoherent. I could already think of the several possible reasons she could give – definitely unfaithfulness. Perhaps the neighbors’ husband, or a visiting business friend, or perhaps, and worst possible option, a mechanic or common public driver. Now I wouldn’t care if she slept with any of those unimaginable persons, she owned her life, and everything that belonged to it, but to think that was the process that ushered me into this world is demeaning. Worst of all, I have lived the past twenty three years reflecting the proud character of my one time sweet sweet mother, believing her first false that I was the son of that prominent SAN – Gani Fawehimi. When in actuality, I was just the daughter of a common road side mechanic, a common public driver, or whatever else she was going to say. I winced.
She let out a quiet cough that didn’t send me running for water.
“Mama, so Gani Fawehimi is not my real father?”
“…Nnnn…Nnn…No my daughter.”
Fury gargantuaned inside me , waiting impatiently for a reason to be ousted.
“Get…mmm…me some…wa…wa…water?” She requested in her quietest voice and for a moment observed my deep disgust.
“Who is my father mama? The water can wait.” I wasn’t going to give her emotions some unnecessary considerations. I have been deceived for several years, against my wish, against my consent. I felt cheated. The years I had personally taken pride in the fact that a famous Gani Fawehimi who surely didn’t know that he has a daughter somewhere was self satisfying, even though mama had claimed that we must not tell anyone about that, it still didn’t relieve me of the pleasure I felt anytime I tried imagining it. Now she was telling me that the while was false, and guess what? The joke is on me. How unfair!
“Water can wait mama, stop coughing.” I advised, still with a fierce look, slapping down her hand which she was now using to point at the fridge, a simple indication that I was to go there and pick a cold drink for her. She no longer took interest in identifying the number of specks in the ceiling. She kept coughing quietly, as if she was going to die.
I stood at last, and headed towards the giant fridge which she had gotten into her life far before I became born. A strong jelousy overwhelmed me. That fridge had been there for her the whole time, witness her thoughts, and possibly even seeing her actions. The actions? The fridge had been all the while , staring at her, as her frame worked itself in the hands of another frame on the bed.
In that moment, everything else became completely better than me in my own estimation. The fridge for instance, has all the while been standing there staring at every bad thing she was doing, and the shelf and every other thing that she didn’t tell em, and above that too, there was no single attempt form these inanimate objects to let me into the secret. I felt starkly betrayed.
To be continued