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Sholape be patient, your mother is dead! I smiled at the statement, I looked back at Aunty Adunni shaking my head. At this moment, I was swollen with tears, filled with anger.
I managed to smile when I said “Aunty Adunni won’t tell me that”. My mum can’t die! She just took her to the hospital right?? Answer me, give me an answer I kept saying.
At this moment I couldn’t control my tears, I was crying and smiling at the same time. Aunty Adunni won’t give me an answer.
She kept on making hand movement as if to say I don’t know oooo while she kept on weeping like a baby. This is unbelievable, my mum can’t die I said loudly.
They all kept saying “be calm please, we are all here for you” I hissed at their statement while I kept laughing like a mental patient.
Laughing like they were all joking. “My Mother can’t leave I and my brother”, I started talking all sort of nonsense.
“But she told me to be strong, she said she was going to be strong for us, she said everything will be alright, she said she will never leave us, she said she loves us, why then will she leave??
All they could say was “she tried, she fought so hard to survive for you both”. I couldn’t hold my tears, I was crying and laughing at the same time.
At this moment, the house was filled with people crying and yelling “what a pity” “she didn’t deserve to die” ha! “How will Sholape live”?
Was all I could hear. I listened to all these statement while I replayed them in my head. This was when I realized my mum was really gone. Haaaaaaa! I screamed.
Where’s my Mother? I asked.
It’s a lie, she didn’t leave me.
No, she said no one will reap the fruit of her labour, you’re all liars.
My Mother can’t leave me alone with Sukanmi. Rara oo who will look after us? While performing my little share of madness people kept crying and wailing.
Some people tried holding me, Just then, my father decided to join in the share of people holding me.
While I turned to him and yelled “WHAT?? Don’t you dare touch me, you heartless being! She’s dead and you’re here to do what?? Take care of her corpse or her children? Oh now you want to play a father role? We don’t need you.
I’ll perform all rites on myself” I said all that to him not minding what I said, not caring if he’s my father or not.
He left without hesitation like he was being chased. He left with shame written all over his face. I screamed out loud again God why! Why me! Take me to my mother, I said.
I want to see her corpse, I yelled.. Everybody wanted to calm me down. Just when I was about to curse, curse myself for not being there for her, I felt a touch on my waist.
I turned around, it was my brother, it was Sukanmi.I immediately knelt down in front of him cleaning my tears like I was afraid of him saying; “Don’t worry,
I’ll take care of you. I’ll be there for you, I love you, and Mummy loves us.
He just stood there looking at me dumbfounded. I didn’t realize I was crying until he pointed to my face saying “you’re crying again”.
I immediately said no but I couldn’t help it. I asked Sukanmi, “do you know what has happened here? He said “yes” reluctantly, “Mummy is dead” he said. Tears! hot tears rushed down my cheeks.
He immediately cleaned them saying “don’t worry, I’m here for you Aunty Sholape”. I managed to smile, amaze at my brother’s words.
I never knew he was a man in a young body. I gave him a tight hug as if to be sure of his existence. Everyone looked at us in awe. I didn’t know what to do or say I just kept on saying Mother! Mother!
My AUNTY Adunni came forth, she pressed a kiss on my forehead while she rocked me back and forth.
She said to me “everything is going to be okay”. She told me she’ll play the role of a mother to I and my brother.
Her words didn’t make any Impact on me as I was there looking lost with my puffy eyes. I was lost in my world.
Sholape, your phone, someone said from the other end.
He said his name is Kayode.
I smiled, I didn’t realize I’ve not told kayode about what has happened. I would have done that, but everything happened so fast.
We were still planning on going to see her at the hospital over the weekend not knowing we were going to be served with this miserable news. I grabbed my phone from my uncle who brought it to me.
I placed the phone on my ear waiting on the next voice to hear. There was tension between Kayode and me. I didn’t want to be the first to speak.
Like he was reading my mind. He cleared his throat and said: “Hey babe”! His voice sent some feeling to my body. I don’t know if I was to be sad or happy that he’s here for me.
Are you there? He asked.
I wanted to say yes but my voice was too weak to be loud. I managed to say “yes” almost In a whisper. Thank God he heard me, He kept quiet too.
I guess he doesn’t know what to say. I’m sure he knows what’s up already. He probably doesn’t know how to comfort me over the phone.
The next I heard was “give me the direction to your house, I’ll be there in 30 minutes. I’ll be coming with my mum” he said.
I can’t talk you know and I don’t have airtime to text it to you I said.
I’ll make a transfer to you he said.
I said okay! While I hung up on him. I smiled knowing fully well that everything might seem wrong right now but having him makes me feel right somehow.
People would say I’m too young to fall in love but who am I to question nature. I heard a beep on my phone then I realize it was the transfer notification.
I immediately sent the direction to him. I dropped my phone on my lap. Hugging myself so hard saying everything is going to be okay.
Sholape, won’t you eat your food? Aunty Adunni asked.
No I’m not hungry, I said.
Don’t worry ma, she’ll eat her food, a familiar voice cut hers from behind, It was Kayode.
I moved my head to the side not wanting him to see my face. My ugly looking face. He grabbed the food from my aunt and came in front of me.
He looked weak too like he has been defeated. He looked at me with so much pity and fear at the same time. “Mummy is here” he said.
I was about standing up so I could go greet her when I heard her footsteps.
Oh my! She pulled me into a tight hug while tears slipped down her face. She kept on rocking me back and forth while she said God is in control.
We are all here for you, she said as she pulled out of the hug lifting my face up to meet hers. I smiled in return. I’ll leave you two to talk she said.
She left still looking back at me. Her absence immediately sent tears down my eyes to my cheek. I don’t know why. I started to shout again saying why?? Why?
Forgetting Kayode’s existence. He immediately moved closer and pulled me into a hug. He wasn’t crying but he looked sober enough.
He kept on patting my back saying “God is with us, we are all here for you. Stop crying baby”. “look at me” he said. I pulled out of the hug trying to face him but my eyes were soaked with tears.
I can’t believe he’s seeing me this way. He cleaned my tears. While I asked him why me?? He smiled and put his finger on his lips as if to tell me to be quiet.
He put his hands on my shoulder cleaning my tears often baby I know you, you’re strong, I believe you can pull through this storm.
I believe in you. You’re a born survivor. Everything is going to be okay, he said.
His words were soothing and relieving. I felt a little bit of comfort. I’m happy we are going through this together. I’m happy he’s here for me. I’m happy I’ve him.
I pulled him in for a hug having my silent cry while I rest on him. The moment was over and he said “you have to eat now, I’m going to feed you” he said.
We both settled on the bed. He was about digging the spoon into the food when we heard a knock on the door. It was my dad, seeing him got me angry.
But what can I do to him?? He probably could read my thoughts when he said “Sholape, we have to bury your mother today”.
I looked up at him and I sighed heavily not minding his statement. I pushed the food in front of me away.
I stood up from my bed where I’ve been sitting before he came in. My eyes were wet waiting for tears to find its way down to my cheeks.
I shooked my head at him while I walked passed him, forgetting Kayode was in the room with me. I went outside the room just to have a private time to myself.
After a while, my aunty brought a black dress to me, that I should change into that. I looked up at her and gave her a weak smile.
She knew it wasn’t a real smile, so she just fixed her gaze on me. I looked at the dress with me as if I was inspecting it.
Then I asked her “who got the dress, it’s pretty” I said sarcastically. “Your dad did”, she replied.
I knew it. I knew he was the one.
By this time, tears were flowing heavily from my eyes. If people could fetch it, it would definitely fill a bucket. This man never buys me anything. He never thinks of what I could wear.
Now my mum is dead, he’s getting me a dress. Ha aye ma buru o! (it’s a wicked world) Aunt couldn’t say anything, She just kept on looking at me while she cried along with me.
I stood up to face her making it seem like I was going to fight her while I moved her shoulders, “you know right”? I asked.
You know my father never takes care of us, you know he has not gotten me a dress before, you know he doesn’t love and care for us, She just kept on moving her head as if her reply would hurt me.
All she was saying was “Don’t cry please” I kept on asking her questions, but she was dumbfounded she was just saying “pele ma ke mo”(cry no more).
I immediately dried my tears as if to say I obeyed her. Tell that man that I won’t wear his stupid dress I said.
I know he’s happy about my mother’s death but I won’t wear his dress because I’m going to bury my mother myself, Without his help. I can do it alone. I’ve always been doing it without him.
My aunty cried so loud at my statement while she kept on saying please don’t cry, your mother won’t like to see you like this.
Kayode whom I assumed has been watching us all this while walked up on us. He look at my aunt apologetically, took the dress from her and gave her a sign which I assume she understood because she left without saying a word.
All I could hear was the sound of her sob. But I didn’t care at that time because I was in my world too. Kayode pulled me into a tight hug just then my eyes and mind decided to fail me by making me cry. I cried uncontrollably on his shoulder.
He didn’t say anything he just held me so tight. He led me to a seat where I was seated before he and my aunt walked up on me. He dried my tears and gave me a smile. I couldn’t help but notice the scar on his face.
The scar I’ve come to love because I love him. I was about to tell him the same thing I told my aunt when he put his finger on his lips signifying that I should be quiet.
I gave him a look as if to say “won’t you even listen to me”?? He immediately said you aren’t doing it for them, you’re doing it for your mother,That caught me off guard. I couldn’t help but cry.
I’ll do anything for my mother. He pulled me into a hug again and said “wear the dress and be a good girl for mummy”. I smiled at his statement while I stood up to get dressed. I mouthed “thank you” to him, as I take my leave, he replied with a smile.
As I was setting out to go for the burial function, alot of people were outside, a lot of cars. Hmm these people didn’t know we were existing until now abi?
I stepped out shouting “no one should bury my mother without me, I want to see her”. Everyone turned to look at me. They were all moving their heads in unison as if it has been choreographed.
I didn’t care, I was ready to be hostile to anyone who didn’t listen to me. I started shouting “don’t bury my mother without me, I want to see her”. My father came closer to me as if to calm me down.
He was going to touch me when I gave him a fierce look. I didn’t know where I got the voice from. ”
I don’t need your help dad, I can take care of myself”, I said.
“I want to see my mother’s face one last time”. He shooked his head as if to say “anything for you”.
He took me to where my mother’s corpse was, In front of the grave which has already been dugged right in front of our family house.
“Open her face”, I said fiercely.
At this time, I was not crying anymore, all I wanted was to see my mother.
“Calm down”, he said to me.
“Open her face”, I said with a more commanding tone.
They immediately opend her face, everyone came to have a look.
The sound of “yeeehhhh” “haaaaa” filled the environment.. .”haaa ikunle abiyamo”(what a pity)…. “yeeeeehhhhhh iku doro”(death is wicked).
I looked at my mother who looks like she was sleeping peacefully although swollen from the embalming treatment she had gotten. I looked at her, a cold feeling ran through my vein. I started shivering at the sight of my mother. I couldn’t cry. I just kept on saying;
“wake up mummy”,
“show them you aren’t dead”,
“Show them you’re coming back”,
“Show them no one would take your place”,
“Show them you love us”.
My Mother couldn’t move, she couldn’t show them anything! My Mother has failed me. She couldn’t even disappoint these people for me.
She couldn’t disappiont my father and make him understand she can take care of us alone. My Mother was motionless,
“no mummy you cant do this to me”,
“Who would take care of your little boy Sukanmi”?
My Mother laid down motionless she wasn’t going to move any time soon. I screamed out so loud; “Mummmmmmyyyyyyy” as if I was calling the whole world.
I started to cry rolling on the floor shouting somebody please wake my mother up. Everyone cried, some were saying “calm down” in between their sobs.
“Someone should take that girl away”, some people shouted.
Just then, Kayode and some men walked up to me, I obeyed them willingly. Just as I was about to leave, I turned to my father and yelled
“are you happy now”?? I left reluctantly reigning curses as I was leaving.
They buried my mother immediately, I was looking from afar. Kayode pulled me into a tight hug. And muttered “I’m here for you”.
The day ended so sad. The next day was for a family meeting between my father and my mother’s siblings, regarding us, in other to decide where to stay. My father had told my aunt last night while I pretended I was asleep.
I woke up noticing no one was in the room. I remembered the meeting my father had told my aunty about. Definitely, they must all be outside.
I stood up still sleepy but I have to be there when my father makes his obnoxious decisions seems that’s what he’s known for.
On my way out, I heard the voice say “Sholape will be with you”, I quickly increased my pace and I answered “with who”? from the other end.
They All looked up at me, The meeting comprised of my father, father’s elder brother, my aunt , my mother’s brothers Uncle Seye and Gbenga.
“With your aunty Adunni” my father replied looking all mean and serious has he has always looked. All symphatetic look washed off his face by now. I was ready to give him a reply but my aunt signalled to me.
“Who will Sukanmi stay with”? my aunt asked.
”He will stay with me”, my father replied. “No way, I said immediately.
“I cant leave my brother with you, I’m sure if my mother was alive she wouldn’t make that decision, You can’t separate us now that we need eachother the most.
You were never there when we needed you, Don’t act all cool now dad because we know you are nothing like that”.
His elder brother uncle Alani immediately shut me up. “Sholape that is you father you’re talking to, He wants the best for you, He loves and cares for you”.
I immediately shot him a look of who else will you defend if not him.
“Don’t get mad” my aunt said, “She’s just being childish and we all know she’s not in a good state now”.
I wanted to tell her I was not being childish and I’m perfectly fine. But she shot me a look signalling that I calm down.
Well, “greetings to you all”, my Uncle Seye said,
“I see points in What sholape has said. I don’t think separating them is the next step to take, Let them be together in the same place.
They both will know how to take care of eachother, That’s all I have to say” , my Uncle Seye concluded.
“They Will all be with me”, my father said. I gave him a daring look like who does he think he is that I’ll want to be with him?
“No, they can’t be with you”, Uncle Gbenga said.
I was happy someone came to my rescue.
“They will stay with us, he added.
“They” my mum’s siblings all chorused yes, I smiled knowing we already won this battle. I can’t stay with my father, Sukanmi can’t stay with my father.
“Okay, Okay, seems we’ve reached the conclusion, the kids will stay with you and we’ll take all necessary steps from there”, uncle Alani said.
“Don’t worry Sholape, your father will take care of you and your brother, He loves you both so dearly and I’m sure he wouldn’t even want a bee to sting you”.
I shot him a look of I hear you. I know already that all my father would do is to take care of our education as usual, nothing is going to change.
I didn’t get my hopes high. I didn’t really care knowing we are in good hands.
“Don’t worry Sholape, I’ll be a mother and a father to you”.
I was mad at his statement and I replied “no one can be a mother to me especially you”.
My aunt pulled me away from the area knowing I was going to say more and its going to result into a big thing especially when uncle Alani is there.
His brother is never wrong, All those elders that keep shut when money is involved.
“Sukanmi let’s pack our bags we are going with aunty Adunni” I shouted. Sukanmi ran inside and look at me.
“I’m happy you’re no more crying sister Sholape, I love you”.
I pulled him into a hug and said “I love you too” while tears rolled down my eyes.
We started living in my aunt Adunni’s house, life there wasn’t so easy and things didn’t feel the same.
She doesn’t have kids but she treats us right with the little she has.
My father didn’t fulfil his promise of him taking care of I and my Brother like my mother does but I wasn’t surprised because I wasn’t expecting more than the usual payment of education fee and all.
I was about going to have a little chat with my aunt when my phone rang. It was kayode. I was so happy to see his call.
I’ve been too depressed and need to speak to him. Oh my! I really love him, he stood by me through out this bad times.
He’s such a rare gem and I hope I can pay him back some day. I’d practically forgot the phone was ringing while I dwell in my thoughts. The loud sound of the ringtone brought me out of my thoughts.
I picked up the call while a sharp “hello” hit me from the other end. “Hey there” I said in reply.
“I’m okay Sholape, there’s something I want to discuss with you but I’ve not had time to say it to you because of all that has been happening”, he said.
I felt a sharp pain in my tummy. My heart started to beat faster.
I was not ready for another bad news but Kayode sounded like he was about to drop a bomb on me. “Hmm okay, I’m listening”, I said to him. “Well Sholape I’ll be travelling to Ghana for my university education”.
” I should have told you this earlier but I didn’t want to compound your thoughts”. Wow, finally the bomb has been dropped. What is he saying to me?
Just then so many questions ran through my head. I wanted to ask him so many things like since when have you been thinking of this?
Why didn’t you tell me when the process was going on? But you promised you weren’t going to leave so why then do you want to leave me especially at this point??
But I couldn’t, wow! was all I managed to say. I was too shocked to say more than that.
“Don’t worry Sholape, nothing is going to change between us, I’ll always check up on you and we’ll get to chat everyday”. Wow! kayode has forgotten so soon that my phone isn’t a multimedia phone. Time flies.
He chuckled knowing he had made a mistake of saying chat to me.
“I’m sorry Sholape I forgot your phone isn’t……”
I cut him off by saying “its okay”.
“Still Sholape, nothing is going to change between us okay”??
“Yeah right” was all I could say.
I was about asking him when he was leaving when he said I leave tonight.
This is a bigger bomb. So there’s no way I was even going to see him before leaving.. life is cruel after all.
“Oh okay” was my reply.
“Safe journey, let me know when you get there”.
“No problem Sholape be good for me and always remember that I love you”.
I wanted to say I love you too, I wanted to say do not forget me no matter what, I wanted to say stay with me but all I could do was cry.
He sounded so casual. He sounded like it was normal for him to leave. I was about to say something when he said bye and hung up immediately.
Oh my! Kayode didn’t sound remorseful, he sounded like it was normal for him to leave. I was crying so hard that I couldn’t recognize myself in the mirror in front of me. Just then, my aunt came inside..
“haba Sholape, are you still crying?? I told you I’ll be a mother to you and your brother, I told you I’ll do everything in my capacity to do everything your mother wasn’t able to do. Just call on me whenever you need anything, I’m sure God will take control”.
I didn’t know how to tell her that I know all these already and that I can see that she’s trying her best and I’m really grateful for that.
I don’t know how to tell her that’s not the reason I’m crying but how will she take it if I told her I was crying because of a guy not just any guy but Kayode.
I didn’t know what I was thinking, I said it anyway I told her. I told her its Kayode that is the cause of my cry.
“Sholape calm down. I’m not getting you. Who’s kayode?
“Aunty he’s the guy that was with me during my mum’s funeral and all”.
“Oh oh oh oh ha omo yen ma se eniyan o..(he’s such a good guy). Sholape, enlighten me on this matter.
I didn’t know if I was to brush her off and tell her not to worry but I needed someone to talk to, so I started pouring out my mind. I told her everything… I mean every thing she needed to know. “Hmmm Sholape, calm down.
In all honesty, you’re too young to know what love is but as it is I can see you know love already. Don’t worry dear, what will be will be. Just keep hoping things turn out well. God will be in control.
Don’t worry, I’m always here to listen to you and I love you so much. But one thing I know for sure is what would be would be.
Just then she pulled me into a tight hug and kissed my forehead while she said I love you so much”.
The days went by so fast, its being a month since kayode had travelled to Ghana. Communication with us hasn’t been swift and steady but I wasn’t all that bothered anymore seems I’ve been off drama for a while now and I really need to tell him somethings.
Although, I’ve missed him but I’ve to let him concentrate. My aunt came into the room smiling like she just won a lottery. “Aunty Adunni, to what do I owe this happiness written all over your face”? I asked.
“Ha oko mi,(my dear) you’re the reason for my happiness. I told you good things will always come our way”.
“Oh” I said getting confused. I hate to be put on suspense.
“Sholape mi, I’m so happy. If only your mother was here to see this she stated, starting to squeeze her face in a way to say she’s remembering the past.
“Aunty Adunni, what’s going on”? I asked growing impatient.
“My dear your father just called me that you just gained an admission to a university in Ogun state”.
My face immediately turned sour contrary to the expression written on my aunt’s face all smiles.
” Sholape what is wrong”? she asked.. “Aunty mi”, (my aunt) why didn’t my dad call me to tell me this himself?
“Sholape, this should be the least of your worries now”. “At least he informed us. what if he didn’t tell us at all expecting us to know all about this on our own, as if witchcraft runs in our family” she said. I smiled at her use of words.
“Don’t worry, God is with us. He’s going to be surprised at how marvelous you’re going to be”.
“Aunty mi, did he say anything about the bills”? I asked.
She immediately sighed moving her head back and forth. I immediately knew what the problem was but I didn’t want to be forward about it.
“Don’t worry Sholape, he has cleared your educational fee he said we should take care of the rest”.
“As usual, I knew my father won’t change. But he knows you’re not my mum so why would he be splitting the bills between you both”?. Why does he not like to take responsibility over me? Am I a bastard ?
Did my mum give me up for adoption to him? Why is it only my school fees he takes care of?? What’s wrong with the fatherly care and every other thing a father is suppose to do for his child? At this point, I was crying profusely.
My aunt just kept staring at me.
“Calm down Sholape, God that has been doing it all these while is still on his throne . I know I don’t have much but I’ll take care of you and your brother with the little I have. Don’t worry I’ll be a mother to you”.
I wanted to tell her No one could be like my mother but I didn’t want to hurt her so I just ran into her arms for a hug to comfort me at least.
“He said you’ll go for an exam just for formality but you’ll get in regardless”. “You leave this weekend” she said.
Another thought came through my mind, how will my Brother be? I knew I didn’t have to worry much seems my aunt is perfect for us.
But how will she care for both of us especially now that I’m in school?? Maybe I should trust my aunt’s word. I’m sure my Brother will be better off with her.