Thirty-something years ago.
“Ibiye!” my mum yelled from the living room.
“What?” boomed my dad from the kitchen.
“Be fast with the watermelon na I’m hungry!” yelled my mum, ignoring his boom.
“I’m coming!” my dad yelled back again.
You see my parents have been known to be the king and queen of yelling. I was told by our neighbors that before I was born, they would yell so loud at each other the foundations of the earth would shake. I know, impossible right? But somehow, I believe them.
They don’t actually yell cause they’re mad or angry at each other, no they yell as a way of communicating with each other.
You look confused, okay let me explain.
Dad might be in the bedroom, while mum will be in the kitchen. She’ll be too lazy to carry herself up the stairs to meet my dad so she would yell for him to come down or she’ll just yell her question at him and he’ll yell his reply. It went on like that for months and they got used to it.
My dad is huge and tall. Mumsi sometimes calls him her gentle giant because of how sweet he is. He hardly gets angry but when he does he’s like an inferno.
My mum is the opposite of my dad, he calls her his Spitfire, the reason is; she takes no nonsense from anyone, whether you’re from her loins or out of it, she will handle you the way you’re meant to be handled. Mumsi is petite, and quite beautiful if I must say. But I’ve been told I look like my dad. I don’t think my dad is cute.
Anyhoo… back to the yelling.
My dad bounded into the living room where my mum was seated reclined on the brown couch, legs stretched out with her feet resting on a side-stool in front of her. She was munching away on banana and groundnuts. The T.V was on and some weird, crazy, singers were shaking their butts in diapers in the T.V screen.
“Loila, how many times will you eat ehn? See you haven’t even finished the banana and groundnut but you’re ready to eat watermelon”
My mum took the banana and groundnut that were balanced on her huge, round tummy and placed them beside her on the couch, then she stretched her hands to my dad, wiggling her fingers at him meaning she wanted the watermelon immediately.
“It’s not me oh, it’s the baby you put in me” she answered. Taking the plate from him as he gave It to her, she immediately dove in to eat.
On her first bite, she paused.
The watermelon stayed unmoving in her mouth, she looked like she was about to spit it out.
“What? Is anything wrong with the watermelon?” asked my dad concerned. He didn’t want her to eat anything that will affect her or me in her tummy.
My mum chewed slowly, she swallowed, then looked at him.
“What is it na, should I get something else for you?” He asked trying to collect the plate from her.
“No, nothing, nothing is wrong” she answered, turning her plate away from him, “I thought I felt a pain but guess I was wrong. I’m fine, go and prepare Indomie for me”
My dad stared at her.
“Indomie” he stated.
“Mm-hmm” she hummed, eating the watermelon, “don’t forget to add carrots and onions” she added…
My dad didn’t listen to what she said, “Indomie” he reiterated.
“Yes, that’s what I said” my mum answered, eyes raised at him.
She was still eating the watermelon.
“How can you eat Indomie when you just had Abacha, Oranges, a full bottle of water, Groundnut and Banana?”
My mum dropped the watermelon in her hand hard on the plate and glared at him. “Well as you can see I’m heavily pregnant. I need to eat a lot of food to have enough energy to push this baby out”.
“Loila, do you want our baby to weigh six pounds? Is that what you’re trying to do?”
Still glaring, she snapped, “If this baby in me should weigh six pounds, I swear you will be the one to bath, feed, change its diapers and put it to sleep for the next two months”
My dad blinked rapidly like he could already imagine how the next two months will be like for him if he ends up taking care of a newborn baby on his own. Then he gulped, loudly. She saw he had gotten the message so she went back to eating. She took more bites of her watermelon and she was enjoying it immensely. But on her next bite, she had to stop.
She stayed still for a few seconds, then she looked down at herself. My dad was about to turn and head for the kitchen when he noticed the change in her. He didn’t say anything, he just watched her and waited.
After like a minute, my mum dropped the plate of watermelon beside the banana and groundnut on the couch, then she gingerly and carefully stood up.
Water dripped down her legs, she looked at it as it formed a small puddle at her feet.
“What’s that?” asked my dad.
His eyes were on the small puddle of water.
Mumsi lifted her eyes to his as he did the same, “I think I might have eaten too much”
My dad’s lips moved but nothing came out, he knew it wasn’t because she had eaten too much, no, it was because her water just broke. Mumsi was ready to bring me into the world and this scared the living daylights out of my dad. He demonstrated this by abruptly running out of the house like a madman. Mumsi just waddled her way up the stairs to get changed and get the things needed for the hospital.
Oh, don’t worry, my dad didn’t actually run mad, he ran out to get a neighbor to help, he couldn’t do it on his own.
Three hours later, I came into the world bawling my eyes out.
The first person I saw was my mum’s beautiful brown eyes filled with happy tears, smiling down at me.
And yes I came out easily and I didn’t weigh six pounds.