Archive for February, 2012


Ayomah’s Story (Sequel 28)

                                      Dad and Mama were former jailbirds

 I didn’t know how long I’d been sleeping. As I opened my eyes from sleep and about to get out of the bed, I found Mama kneeling by my bedside—sweating. I couldn’t tell how long she’s been kneeling—probably a minute or two, or maybe throughout the time that I slept. 

“Mama, Mama… what’s going on…how long have you been here?”

“As long as you slept Ayoma”

“How long had I been sleeping?”

“Four hours Ayoma”

“So you’d been kneeling this long?”

“Yes.”

“For what reason?” I groaned at Mama.

“My kneeling this long isn’t important to you Ayoma.”

All this while, I’d still been a supine figure on the bed.

“Listen to me carefully Ayoma.”

 I sat up, supported my back with the creamed colored wall beside the bed, and looked straight into Mama’s eyes. The room acquired a dark, hushed mood, full of the silence of several years of concealed guilt. Tightening her face into the mask of an ex-convict, and, as if  fortifying her self to tell me what she’d held back from me for the past 24 years, she said—with teary eyes:

“Ayoma. I ask for your forgiveness. I do believe in God’s forgiveness after you’d forgiven me.”

“Mama, I’m not a priest…what’s going on?” I cried out. 

Slowly, and painfully, Mama begun to tell her story:

“I’d met your Dad when we were both in jail—that was medieval at best –with little food, few beds, no activities, not even electricity. Some inmates had stayed beyond their sentences simply because there was no money to send them home. He’d been accused of a crime he never committed. Being a foreigner, he had no any recourse to the law…”

“Mama, are you saying you and Dad had been together in the can before?”

“Yes.”

“And you never mentioned it to me?”

“Ayoma, I was terribly afraid of the consequences”

“Damn the consequences, I want to know the truth right now.” I insisted.

“What had been your crime Mama?”

“Ayoma, spare me these questions, you are not a judge?”

“I’d committed no crime…”

“Committed no crime. And you were in jail?”

 “It was a set up…yes, a set up by a man I was deeply in love with…that Chinese man.”

 To be continued…

Advertisements

Ayomah’s Story (Sequel 27)

             Mama says to me : “Ayomah, I have sinned” 

 I’m now sitting on the water closet. Releasing the internal residents of the human anatomy. I can hear Dad bellowing orders at Mama.

   “Let the boy know the truth!” It’s your fault!”

   Mama was so quiet. Not responding to Dad’s orders. She’s now contrite. Suffering from a sense of guilt.

   “Ayoma will not forgive me if he knows the truth.” I hear Mama say.

   What’s this truth that’s so difficult to be told? Why has Mama kept the truth from me for so long? Is it that I was born before marriage was consummated between Mama and Dad? Or is it that Dad, after all isn’t my biological father? I’m insisting on knowing the truth. But will I be able to handle it? I might even be better off not knowing the truth. I’m now heading into my bedroom. I had already packed up and cleaned my bedroom. Thinking I will never have to return to it for a long time to come. The bedspreads had been washed, ironed, packed neatly into blue bag that Dad bought for me when I was fifteen and .was going to boarding school.

   I’m lying on my bed in a supine position. As I gaze at the ceiling above me, I can hear the screeching of the bedstead. It’s now 11 am. My luggage is still in the living room. I hear someone open my door. It’s Mama. Sitting on the bedside table, she says,

   “Ayoma, I’m so sorry to have kept you in the dark for so long. Please do forgive me. As living beings, we’re not allowed to know how our time on earth may slip away. As you‘re about to travel, why shouldn’t I have the courage now to let you know who you are? After all, I don’t know whether we’ll ever meet again after you leave.”

   Mama is speaking to me as if I’m a fetish priest. I’m now yawning from the mid-morning heat and swatting at flies as Mama continues her confession. The last sentence I heard from her was: “Ayoma, I‘ve sinned.” As I struggled to gather my wits, sleep overtook me.

To be continued…

Ayomah’s Story (Sequel 26)

                                   The Bombshell: Ayomah is a love-child

  A long silence prevails. Mama is looking at Dad. Dad is still crying. He removes his handkerchief and wipes off his tears.

   “Letitia.” Tell him the truth.”

   “What truth?”

   “You know what I mean.” 

   Mama is kneeling down, begging for my forgiveness.

   “Please Ayoma forgive me.”

   “Mama!” What’s going on?”

   Mama is kneeling before me speechless. I can see tears flowing freely down her cheeks. I’ve never seen Mama in such a languishing sigh. With a sigh of sadness she says.

   “Ayoma, I wish I didn’t have to tell you this.”

   “Tell me what Mama?”

   “Tell you that you are a love-child.”

   “What do you mean by that?”

   “That you were born out-of-wedlock.”

   “You mean you conceived me before you married Dad?”

   I turn my face toward Dad. He is turning his face away from me.

   “So Dad. Tell me, why did you chose to bring me into this world in this manner?”

   “I don’t know.” It’s your Mama’s fault.”

   “Mama, tell me. What’s going on?”

    Dad is getting up with the help of his stick. He’s losing his balance. He’s now doing what he can to get his equilibrium back. I ignore him. I’m heading to the bathroom. Mama is still on her knees pleading. I ignore her too. My stomach is churning with nausea as if I’ve taken a purgative.

To be continued…

Ayomah’s Story (Sequel 25)

                     Ayoma finally says good-bye to Mama  and Dad   

   Its  7 o’clock in the morning. The heavy downpour has finally receded. This time, there is no flooding. I can see the radiant sun in the horizon. Already, the weather is getting hot. The fine red dust in the city of Accra, Ghana’s capital, that painted almost every car and building, has now given way to thick squelching mud. I can hear Mama’s ducks quacking loudly as if they know what is in the cooking pot. Our pigeons that are usually very quiescent are now also agitated. I step into the living room with my suitcase to say good-bye to Mama and Dad. Mama is looking gloomy and mournful.

   The last of her three children is also leaving her. Unlike my other half-sisters who left with their foreign fathers,  I’m about to leave all by myself unaccompanied. Dad has no place to take me to. If given the chance, he’d rather put up with Mama than go back to where he came from. It’s already six months since Patricia and Cecelia left with their fathers. Nothing has been heard from either of them since. Patricia is now in England, and Cecelia, in Taiwan!

   Mama and Dad are both crying as I bid farewell to them. But I know for sure that their pain isn’t the same. Coming from two different directions. Mama is crying because the youngest of her three children is about to leave her and travel far away. Dad is crying because he’s unsure where he’d be spending the night. He’s broke. With no pension or medical insurance, he’s bound to be haunted by fears about the future. What Dad is most afraid of now is getting sick. When he was young and energetic, he failed to get his house in order. While his age-mates worked hard to prepare for their old age, Dad basked in the glory of what he thought was a never-ending youth. He must now face the real world – that in his opinion is unfair and unkind. As I move out of the main gate, I hear Mama say to Dad:

   “I want you out of here before this day is over. If you refuse, I’ll call the police.”

“Where am I supposed to go?”

   “I don’t know,” Mama replies.

   I stand still for a moment. Turn around and walk back straight into the living room where Dad and Mama are seated. I can see Dad is still crying. Mama is still maintaining her unchristian attitude. She cries out.

“Ayoma, have you forgotten something?”

   “No, Mama.”

   “So, what’s the matter?”

   “Please Mama forgive Dad.” I say.

   “Why should I forgive him?” Mama asks angrily.

   “Because he’s my Dad.”

   “Your Dad.” Are you sure he is?”

   “Mama is he not my Dad?”

      To be continued…

Ayomah’s Story (Sequel 24)

                               Dad is snoring…Mama unforgiving…

 There is a pit-a-pat of rain right now on the roof. Here comes a heavy down pour. Before I finish closing all the living room windows, I realized he has already fallen asleep on the armchair. As he sleeps, he is snoring like a croaking frog!

 His snoring is so harsh and shrill that the deafening thunder pales in comparison. I’m still awake. I ‘m in bathroom. Mama had gone back to bed. I’m the only person who is still  awake during this downpour. My mind is now pre-occupied with the prospects of having to leave home for the first time.

   “It is now 6:30a.m, I would cancel my trip to Nigeria if Dad would take me along with him to where ever he is going.”

   “Ayoma, where is your Mama?” Dad asks suddenly.

   “She’s in bed right now, Dad.” I replied.

   “Okay! When you are having problem after problem with a troublesome person, you begin to rue the day you met him or her. Looking back, I rue my first romantic involvement with your Mama.”

I fired back instantly.

   “Dad, do you mean Mama is troublesome, after you broke her heart and left us all this while? Troublesome, yes, but if it hadn’t been for Mama’s care and moral support, I would have ended up in the street, or even dead by now…”

 “Mind your language boy.” Dad intervenes.

   What was more irritating about Dad was that smug expression on his face as he reminded me of how much better things were during his youth. Why, then, was he so insensitive to my own comfort?” He robbed me of a responsible and caring Dad with whom I could have shared my pain and disappointments as I grew up in an environment that ridiculed people of a darker complexion.

   “Mama! Mama! it’s time to get up.”

   “Okay! I’m already awake. Is your Dad still not gone?”

   “Yes, he still insists on talking to you.”

   “Talking to me about what?” Mama is asking.

   “He says he’s so sorry.”

  Mama continues,

   “I try to stop the tears, but I can’t control it. I wish this was all just a bad dream, and when the alarm bell rings, it’ll be over. I loved this man hard, but right now, I don’t love any part of him. He used to make me feel protected and safe. Anytime he came back to me after having been dumped by his other women, I accepted him back. Not this time again!

” All I want right now is for him to leave Ayoma and myself alone!”

To be continued…