I rushed toward the house,panting as if something was after me, immediately I got to the doorstep, tayo’s mum (our neighbor) rushed out and grabbed me, hindering me from entering the house.
“Where is my mummy? leave me alone” I shouted. I struggled with her to let go of me but she held me tight. “MAA’MI, MAA’MI” I cried out
“Ewatomi mi, my daughter” she said as she rushed out of the house and carried me. she controlled herself not to weep, so that I won’t know what had happened. People came after her, surrounded her,and started consoling her.
“Why are these people here and why are they consoling maa’mi? what could have happened? Where is baba Ewa? ” I asked myself, stretching my neck to see what was happening inside the house.
Immediately anty Folakemi ( my dad’s immediate elder sister) came out and grabbed my mum, “o ti pa Ayanfe ( you have killed Ayanfe ) ” she bit my mum on her left ear,my mum shouted for help, people rushed to the scene to help mum, they grabbed anty Folakemi and pulled her inside.
“My dad is dead?” I asked my mum. she shook her head and wept bitterly. Her hope had been shattered.
As a kid I didn’t understand the consequences of loosing a bread winner” I didn’t weep, instead I begged my mum not to weep”.”Mummy, don’t worry, don’t cry again, we will be fine” I said out of my little understanding.
But she cried the more because of my lack of understanding.
“Haa! Omode O mo efo, oun pe lo gun, o ma se oooo, Ayanfe why did you have to leave so soon” she cried out
I later found out dad died in auto crash while trying to return a customer’s car after repair. Then I wondered why anty Fola would accuse mum of killing dad. After abandoning us for a long time, she still has the gusts to accuse mum of killing dad. I wish I was older I would have given her the beating of her life.
At night, people had already left, leaving mum, some family members and I at home. They all gathered to plan for the burial. Mum was asked to sit at the center just like a criminal about to be judged.
“Woman! All the money your husband left, this is the time for you to release it, so that we can know how much to drop for the burial” Uncle Bolarinwa said, as he addressed mum like she was a concubine who had no say.
Uncle Bolarinwa never supported dad’s marriage with mum. I was told it was a tug of war when dad introduced mum as his wife- to-be. he had no genuine reason for his attitude but he was against the union. “My husband does not have any savings” mum said as she wept uncontrollably
“Taa! Shut up, so you want to keep all the money to yourself, you this greedy woman” Anty Tade shouted and spat on mum.
Anty Tade is dad’s cousin. She also did not support dad’s marriage with mum because she wanted dad to marry one of her friend who was seeking a husband.
“Will you control yourselves” Big daddy shouted. He is dad’s eldest brother. The one everyone looked up to ever since they lost their parents. He has always been indifferent about mum and dad’s marriage.
“If she says she doesn’t have money, then so be it. Ayanfe is our brother and the responsibility also falls on us. As the olori-ebi, I hereby by command everyone to contribute 50,000 naira each”. They all agreed at once without any objection.
“I found it hard to believe they all have that kind of money and they could not help dad when he was alive. Instead they prefer to spend it on his corpse. Haa! Baa’mi sun re oooo”.
The burial was done 2days after due to lack of finances, There was no money to embalm the corpse. The family claimed the death was a sudden one. Even the wealthy ones claimed they don’t have enough money to spend. The little money they dropped was what was used for the burial. It was done in a rush. Only family and few friends attended. I wish we had given dad a befitting burial.
After the burial, Everyone returned to their normal life, olori-ebi gave mum a token of 30,000 Naira before he left, he promised to check on us as time goes on.
Mum used part of the money to pay the money baa’mi borrowed when he was alive and also bought some good to start a business.
After the burial, Everything changed in the house, the family filled with happiness ,turned into a house filled with sadness. Maa’mi would weep anytime things reminded her of dad. She became very quiet and distracted, always lost in thoughts.
I became tired of the situation, maa’mi became really forgetful, I almost thought she was beginning to lose her memory. At times she would shout “AYANFE” from the sleep and begin to weep. Even the neighbours began to think she had a hand in his death.
After six month, Things got better with mum, she pulled herself together and let things pass by. I continued my education but things were a bit difficult. . During the weekdays, mum would visit from one house to another every morning, to clean up the surroundings. When I get back from school, we would both hawk .And during the weekend, mum and I would wash clothes for people just to fill our stomach and pay the bills.The new change was not convenient but we had no choice.
One evening after I got back from school, I served my lunch and started eating. “Ewa, please hurry up, all the customers would have been expecting us”.
“Maa’mi, ki ni gan I’m tired oooo, hawking everyday. I can’t even rush this food or do you want me to choke” I replied like a brat
“Mtchhheewww, its not your fault, it’s because you have something to fill your stomach, onibaje oshi” she responded and twisted my ear. “Will you finish that food and stop delaying me”
After I finished my meal, we set out to hawk. Maa’mi walked really fast as if her customers would run away.
“Maa’mi, wait for me” I said trying to catch up with her.
We got to the main road and before I knew it,a vehicle on a high speed lost control and hit maa’mi.
I froze seeing my mum on the floor, bleeding seriously. I threw the goods off my head and ran towards her. “MA-AMI,MAAA-MI” I shouted as tears rushed down my eyes. That moment I felt it is finished. I began to shiver, my feet suddenly became cold. I can’t afford to loose the only person I have in the world.
“Let us take her to the hospital” I heard a voice from behind.
I felt hot from within and I felt weak all of a sudden,
” ehhhen the child has fainted, let’s carry her” I heard faintly, then I went blank….
To be continued…