In loving thoughts of a friend who I Love and a child whose progress I cherish
“Tolu please try to come early today”. Ibimina said to her husband of five years as he dressed for work. Although she said this ,She prayed he wouldn’t snap at her this time. For the past two weeks he had been distant and irritable.
He cast a glance at her before resuming his dressing. She continued “Remember we need to take Tami to the hospital”. She added to fill the uncomfortable silence that had descended in the small space between them.
“Last week I did not go to the hospital with you both and you survived, why should I come this week? What makes this week different?” He queried
Shocked but not surprised by his response, she began to burn with anger. She hated when she was angry because it made her stammer and cry “Bu-tt But…..” She trailed off
“But what!” He snapped, impatiently
She took a deep breathe “But but but- you said you only missed coming with us last week because you were in a meeting. Are you going to be in a meeting today as well?”
“I-b-i-m-i-n-a…” He called her name slowly.
“What is it sef?” She interjected fiercely, suddenly irritated.
“You’re beginning to cross the line”. Although calmly said, the tone underneath spelled ‘danger’
Unfarced by the deep scowl on his face and the warning in his voice, Ibimina faced her husband fiercely. They stood still looking at each other, neither of them willing to back down from the eye contest they had put themselves in. She did not realise he had moved close to her until she felt the pressure of his hands on her left shoulder.
He chuckled a sinister smile. “Ibimina,I can see you’re strong woman! Keep up the good work oooo cause’ I wouldn’t be accompanying you guys to the hospital anymore”.
She moved away from him as though burnt by his touch. “How can you say that Tolu? That’s not fair ooooo “. She said loudly
“Abeg stop acting like a market woman, it doesn’t fit you!”
Realising he was getting her worked up instead of placating her, he softened the tone of his voice “See ehn, I will make sure that you guys have all that you need, I’ll make sure you’re not stressed, I promise”
She gave a sarcastic laugh as she shook her head.” How’s that even possible?”. She hissed
“Look woman, there’s no need to start acting all crazy. I am the only one working in this house.The least you can you do is to take the responsibility of taking Tami to school and the hospital while I provide the bills. I am trying to be nice here but as usual you’re just making something simple difficult”
She stood still,as she embraced the impact of her husband’s words. “Tolu this is not fair and you know it. I am tired as well, I did not expect this too”.
“Ibimina just stop the nagging already!”
“I am not nagging, stop telling me I’m nagging”. She spat angrily.“I want to live life for God’s sake Tolu! I did not marry myself to be strong for myself!” .
“Tolu I swear I need you, Tami and I need you very much. Please…”.She pleaded,suddenly exhausted
Ibimina looked every inch a tired, frustrated woman with her unkempt hair, nails and swollen eye bag. She no longer had the soft lustrous skin that her husband admired so much in the past, the sight of her feet repelled her but it was the least of her concern. Taking care of her hair or body was her alternative foregone while taking care of Tami took prominence. At least Tolu had a chance to escape by going to work, the least she expected him to do was show his support by following them to the hospital once a week especially since they had only one car and she couldn’t afford to use a taxi for every hospital trip.
She went on her knees and held on to his legs. She pleaded. “Tolu please don’t do this to me, I beg you with everything in me, I’ll die ooo”.
Tolu looked at his wife compassionately as he would look at any random woman pleading for something and in distress. This was not the woman he had married. The woman he had married was beautiful, the woman he had married was hot, the woman he had married was fierce, the woman he had married was creative, the woman he had married was spontaneous; the woman he had married was organised, the woman he had married was a goal-getter , the woman he had married was independent and he had fallen in love with that woman. It seemed his Ibimina had left him and he was unaware of her whereabout
He looked at his wife still holding on to his leg .He tried to get her to stand but she refused to let go of his legs. “Ibimina please stop making me feel like a bad person with all of these pleadings. I have made up my mind Mina I can’t….please get off the floor”
Tolu shook his head dejectedly when It seemed like she was not going to get up soon. “Your pleading is futile. I am telling you I can’t deal! I did not sign up for this. Pity me Ibimina! Mina please…!”.
He touched his left index with his right one , “First, I go to work, then I pay all the bills in this house then you expect me to follow you to that depressing hospital then I also deal with Tami’s wahala and then deal with family issues and now you have joined the list of people and things stressing me out ” He listed off his fingers.
“Tolu but. .”
“Hold on, let me finish” He replied cutting her mid sentence.”I try my best to provide anything you need and I have promised you comfort, what else do you want me to do?. Ibimina please cut me some slack, I have way more stuffs on my plate than you do”.
Her body froze as the harsh words of her husband fell onto her ears, she felt tired and deserted. She stood up and began to pace the entire room.
She thought of all the stress she’ll have to go through. Last week, when Tolu couldn’t take them to the hospital, she had had to take Tami to the hospital using the public transport. As usual, Tami created a scene, catching the attention of the bored stiff passengers who eagerly looked for the slightest form of an unusual activity to escape from the chains of their boredomness. The murmur began in no little way. ..
“All this spoilt children of this generation; Onibaje omo”.
“If this one stays with me for one week, I will cure the nonsense worrying her head, oun gaan ma mope oni iya “.
She imagined them shaking their heads and clapping their hands back and forth to convey their irritation.
She had been highly embarrassed by Tami’s behaviour. It was so bad that she was almost tempted to abandon her and walk away. She knew her daughter hated people only she had not realized how deep the hatred ran. Not only did Tami add to her distress physically and emotionally but the comment people made, the harsh judgement they passed on her daughter broke Ibimina’s heart into a thousand pieces. She had been looked upon as a failure as a mother. She wished she could scream her thoughts.
“How is it my fault that my child is throwing tantrums?
“How am I supposed to hit a child who self inflicts herself?
“My daughter is neither crazy nor spoilt , she’s just different!”
When she got home that day, she had told Tolu about it. As she narrated her ordeal to him, she couldn’t help the angry tired tears that ran down her face. Even though Tolu had not showed enough sympathy as expected, he had promised to always drive them to the hospital or leave the car for her on the days when he could not make it…And she had been content with that.
“Mina are you okay?” She heard his voice pierce into her painful thoughts.
She thought of the stress she’ll have to endure taking Tami by public transport;she thought about Tolu’s empty promises;she thought of his negligence as a father and a husband ; she thought of his lack of sensitivity. Then she thought about her daughter, Tami. She thought about her weird behaviour, her hatred for people, her hatred for certain colours. ….Her thoughts were driving her crazy, suddenly the urge to pass on her frustration became strong and without warning, she charged at her husband angrily. Hitting, cursing and screaming!
“You’re wicked!” “I hate you!” “Stop Mina”…GBAM! GBAM! GBAM!
“GBAM-GBAM -GBAM” Tami’s head pounded heavily. The heavy sound unsettled her. She tried to ignore it but it wasn’t working.
“Make it stop” …Tami screamed but no heard her.
Her heart raced wildly as if chased by a hundred mad bulls. Sweat rolled down her face. She sucked on her finger, but the noise from the other room won’t stop.
She began to sink into the unknown, a place where no one knew about until eventually she got trapped. She heard her name from afar but it only drove her deeper into the unknown. She just wanted quietness but no one was giving her that.
She began to hyperventilate.
Tami felt a sharp tingling sensation on her left arm. She wanted whoever was touching her to get their hands off her, it was driving her crazy. Since she was getting the opposite of her wish, she did the only thing that came to mind – She bit the hand holding her.
She heard a loud scream “Tami what did you do that for? Are you crazy?”
The noise became louder making her even more distressed. She began to wail!
Ibimina rushed to the room to see colourful beads from Tami’s hair scattered rudely on the floor. She watched her daughter whose eyes were now closed screaming, biting herself and forcefully pulling on her hair and dress simultaneously.
Ibimina looked at the scene dejectedly. It had taken her about 5 hours to make Tami’s hair into braids and another 2 hours to carefully add beads to it .She had wanted Tami to look normal, so she had gone through the stress of making her hair. It had taken a lot of her energy and time.
“Tolu what did you do to Tami?” She asked angrily!
“I did nothing.I only tried to comfort her”
“It means you touched her then”. She queried loudly
“Can you hear yourself? So I can’t touch my daughter without her acting crazy abi?”
“You insensitive, weak, bastard that is supposed to be a father, how can you call your own daughter crazy? This is what I deal with every day while you escape to work. If you stayed with her for a minute you’ll understand her better, you’ll know when to touch and not when to touch her””.
“I am sorry” He said dejectedly. It hurt him to see his child acting different from other children.
“Unfortunately, sorry won’t work cause it will take me about two hours or more to calm her down”
“I am sorry”. He repeated soberly
Now tell me husband, whose plate is actually full?”