With reluctance, I staggered towards the fridge and retrieved a bottle of water. With the anger burning inside me, I could have fed her the bottle like that, but I wasn’t going to let anger have the better of me. I took a cup from the room table and poured her a drink.
‘Here, mama. Here is the drink you came to life to drink.’
There was no response, and more disturbing was the fact that she didn’t make the slightest attempt to collect it from me. She laid there stiffly. I couldn’t tell whether her stomach heaved with breath or not.
I walked up to her and shook her fragile frame on the bed. Fear shook me likewise, and I hurled the cup into something angrily but didn’t watch it shatter on the room floor.
‘Mama!’ I screamed. There was still no response.
Mama had finally left the world, with several controversies. Who was my real father? How do I contact him? How am I related to Gani Fawehimi? How had my mother lived in that so much misery with her own deliberate carelessness? How was I to offer a direction to my life without my mother?
I crashed into the ground and sobbed. Just some few moment ago, I was utterly mad at my own mother because of the years of deceit she has made me live in, either that was for my own good or not was not worth any consideration then.
As I sat there quietly sobbing, I remembered that I had been the cause of her death, by not offering her water in time, and the guilt pierced through my marrows very sharply. I had killed my own mother. My face was buried in my palms with tears. I could not remember her final minute anymore, what stacked my head was the years of cares, of love and of happiness we had both shared.
The woman had refused to marry any other man just because she wanted to make my life happier, she had desired to spend time taking care of me, and the distraction of another man wanting her and treating me badly in the cause didn’t make her consider remarrying. I lost all desire to know the true identity of who I was born to, or how I was born. I just didn’t care anymore about my father. I wished I could wake my dead mother up again. But that seems impossible, until…
I heard a soft voice calling my name, for a moment, I knew it was the ghost of my dead mother. I have listened to that voice unmistakably for over two decades and I am confident her ghost had come to haunt me.
‘Wuraola’ she called again.
I staggered to my feet, ‘Yes!’
‘Where is the water?’ An alive woman requested politely.
She was not dead!
I ran to the fridge again, without trying to examine what happened earlier. I retrieved two bottles of table water and a mug. I poured her a new drink and sat beside her as she gulped it down. I stroked her long back bone which was almost pickable from the white gown she was clad in.
She drank that cup and smiled peacefully. Watching me use my other hand to wipe off tears that had streamed my eyes.
‘The tale with your father is…’
‘Shhh. Mama.’ I shushed as I placed a finger on her lips. ‘Don’t worry. You need to rest well now mama. The story may come up when you are more relaxed. Right now, all you need is rest.’
I wasn’t going to disturb her any further as regards that. I didn’t care about how she had lived her life anymore, it was hers and hers alone.
I am at least utterly happy that she was there with me all the while to bear the implications of her actions, she did not desert me in the thick of it all.
Myself and Mama still lived four years together after that before she finally died peacefully, and I did not make any attempt to ask about my father again, the fear of what happened that day still haunted me for years. Even I could not tell what happened in between those terrible seconds. It could be that mama pretended to be dead, or that she actually died and was miraculously revived when I cried deeply.
Whichever way, that was how I missed knowing who my real dad was till date. Such a smart miss, you must agree with me. But at least, I have ever since then stopped thinking of Gani Fawehimi as my father. He could be though, but the truth is that anyone else in the world could too. It might just be you.
Thanks for reading.