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…

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