Archive for March, 2012


                         Between an Officer and Abudu, who wins Mama’s heart?          

“Now listen carefully. Ever since I…”

   “Ever since you what?”

   “Please, I’m really sick, and you’ve offered to take me to the hospital, and I   do appreciate it. Please don’t indulge in histrionics for the moment. Leave that for another day.”

   “Okay. I just wanted you know how much I admire you.”

   “Would you stop the car and let me get out?”

   “No. You are sick. And I can’t leave you by the roadside under this hot  sun.”

   The weather was fine, and the traffic was light. Abudu was doing ninety on a wide straight road with a speed limit of 65km/h. He was spotted by an off-duty traffic police officer who gave him a good chase. Abudu had defied orders by the officer to pull up. He therefore had to call for a back up. But long before they arrived, he had a flat tire. The officer arrives.

He’s in his early thirties. He’s a tall, lanky and good-looking man. Abudu is looking nervous. Not because he’s afraid of being charged with disregarding the speed limit and also flouting orders to pull up. He’s nervous for a different reason, losing me to this young man. He knows after all that, as far as breaking the law is concerned, the payment of a sum of money, linked to the gravity of the offense, will enable him get away with it. He’s done it on several occasions, and is determined to do it again this time.

   “Do you know you realize how dangerous it is to over speed?”

   “Many innocent people get killed on our roads due to what some drivers always consider to be “circumstances” that force them to…”

   “Officer, you can see that the girl inside the car is moaning, as pain wrack her body. I was only trying to help by… ”

   “By your over-speeding? But you could equally have killed her by driving recklessly!”

   “Ok Officer I’m sorry.”

   “Sorry for what?”

   The back up arrives. Abudu calls one of them aside. In a geographic area where bribes and pay-offs are an accepted way to get things done, he tries to bribe him. This was an exceptionally bad day for him. These were not venal police officers. He therefore refuses to accept any bribe. One of them issues a ticket to him for being quite reckless of his and my safety.

 I’m now outside of the car. The off-duty police officer sees how I’m toiling to ease the pain wracking me. He tries to offer me a ride to the hospital. Abudu becomes fidgety. Sensing that I might not, after all get to the hospital in his own car, he says:

“Officer, don’t worry, I‘ll quickly fix my car and drive her to the hospital.

   “How would you do that in even two hours time? Look the girl is in real pain!”

   “If I’m not able to fix it soon, I’ll take a taxi.”

   “Stop dreaming about taking a taxi when I’m willing to drop her at the hospital at no cost.”

   To be continued…

                                       Mama caught in the “lion’s”  den                     

Although he was the head teacher in the school, he also taught French—a subject Mama hated most. And, even though, French was a required subject, Mama had failed in every French exam. Abudu made matters worse by making sure that she wouldn’t pass any of her French exams.

Being the only French teacher in the school he called the shots. Grandpa got worried about Mama’s poor records in French and hired a private tutor. It didn’t work. Despite Grandpa’s efforts to help Mama get a passing grade in her French exams, she kept slipping on the banana peels of Abudu who frustrated all her efforts. Sometimes, all went well during the written examination until the oral part—which was always Mama’s nemesis.

Mama considered Abudu as a messianic figure and did never suspect that he was the real cause of her problems.

It was one hot afternoon during the dry season when Mama came down with a severe headache after taking part in a volley ball competition, when Abudu finally got the golden opportunity to make Mama sit in his car for the first time ever. His previous efforts to get her sit in his car had been fruitless. This time, he offered to take her to the hospital in his rickety 25 year-old sedan. At first, Mama insisted on being accompanied by her best friend—Angelina. Abudu resisted. Assuring her that all will be well. It was during the weekend, and Mama knew Abudu’s wife had gone to visit her parents in the village with her children.

 “Lateefah, I know you feel uncomfortable being alone with me in the car without your most trusted friend, Angelina.”

   “Yes. I do.”

“Don’t worry, I’ll go back and fetch her after I drop you off at the hospital.”

   “But why didn’t you allow her to go with us in the first place?”

   “I was afraid.”

   “Afraid of what?”

   “Afraid that she’ll find out why.”

“That she’ll find out why you’ve failed in every French oral examination.”

“What has my French oral examination got to do with she accompanying me?”

To be continued..

                          Mama’s First Encounter With a Married Man

She was born and bred a Muslim 53 years ago. Her name was Lateefah E. Musah. She later converted to Christianity and was Christened Letitia when she was 27. She’s now known as Letitia E. Musah. During her time in secondary school, she fell in and out of love several times in a year. Mama didn’t ever hang out with one man for more than six months. She says she was the most beautiful girl in her school and that she had a knack in engaging in hanky panky relationships and never slept with any man unless she was convinced the man really loved her. She’d date a man for a month or two and then dump him. This was particularly the case if a man insisted during the early period of their relationship on “slipping between the sheets” with her.

   Mama’s first encounter with a married man was that with her secondary school head master called Abudu. Although he was married, Abudu was amorous of every pretty woman he met. She was 17 and he was 44 . Abudu had a face like granite. He had a short square body hardened by deadly exercise. He had three children and knew how to behave in any company and in any situation. On the other hand, she was young, unmarried and naïve.

He looked younger than his age and was handsome. It was his wont to give lengthy speeches that were often larded with obscure quotations. Mama considered him to be a messianic leader who showed his students the way to a better life.  Mama would go to Abudu to seek advice on every thing, even including how to deal with guys who often harassed her because she wouldn’t go out on a date with them. Little did she realize she was being dragged into a spider’s web.

Abudu took advantage of this young attractive and naïve girl. He vowed to make Mama fall in love with him, and she did. Abudu was a womanizer, and he applied his skill to the minutiae of his craft. It all started when Mama had difficulty in adjusting to the new milieu at boarding school.

To be continued…

                  Ayomah was born out-of-wedlock

 “Mama I’m so sorry. But you just told me you were once in the can, and I had surmised you probably might have …by the way how long were you in jail?

“Two and a half years. Are you suggesting I might have attempted to self- immolate while I was in jail?

“No. I’m only trying to figure out the rough work you might have been doing when you were serving your time.”

“Oh. So you do not believe me when I say I had to do things I would otherwise not have done in order to raise you?” How ungrateful you are!”

Sorry for all that. Tell me. Mama, are you saying I was born out-of-wedlock?”

“Exactly” She answered bravely.”

“How could that be, but you said my Dad was a deeply conservative lover.”

“Yes.”

“Then what made him sacrifice this principle on that fateful pre-dawn?”

“Ayoma, it was my fault.”

“Mama, tell me. Did you seduce him?”

Tears begun to flow freely down my cheeks as I toiled to ease the pain of knowing who I was. How could I reconcile my wrong assumptions with this new reality and also be able to bind the wounds of being the casualty of love? How could love be so cruel? To me, love, not Mama, was now my greatest oppressor. My main problem was that, I knew who Patricia’s Dad was, I also knew who Cecelia’s Dad was, but I didn’t know who my Dad was.

Mama had now stood up and left the room—leaving me alone starring at the ceiling. My sadness could only compare favorably to that of a woman whose only two-year-old son had been butchered in her arms. I started to agonize over whether I should ask her who and where my Dad was, or just forget it. At least I knew very well that she will always be there for me –no matter what. What I wasn’t sure of, was whether knowing who and where my Dad was will do me any good.   

 So many times, we neglect to take the time to craft the words to express to those closest to us what their presence in our lives mean to us. Mama was such a person. She’d lived her life in such a way that others were always touched. These days, the stigma attached to mothers who choose to have their children born out-of-wedlock is fast disappearing. The same can be said of the stigma attached to the affected children.

 I had another problem: Mama had been in jail! I doubt how many people knew about this. But despite all these, I realized I still had to be thankful for having her all these years. I remembered how the orphanages were filled to capacity. Most of them were abandoned children that were thrown away with trash. It could be that their mothers didn’t have the courage to go through what Mama had gone through to raise me. Looking at these children, I had all the reasons to be thankful to Mama. She’d been an exception. She was always there for me anytime I needed her.

 To be continued…

 To my readers: Ayomah’s Story is along and enduring one that will take us through more than 70 Sequels! Keep your fingers crossed and enjoy it as it unfolds piecemeal.

 Ayomah wants to know what transpired between Mama and Dad within the confines of their bedroom 

“It’s a long story.”

“To you not to me, Mama.”

“To cut it short, it was on that last Tuesday in November of 1978—before dawn—when he woke up to say his pre-dawn prayers that everything went wrong…Ayoma, I’m so sorry.”

“What went wrong Mama?”

“You were conceived on that night.”

“How did that happened?”

“Ayoma, you are asking too many questions.”

“But I have the right to know. The winds of change are now sweeping all over Africa—freedom and liberty can no longer be sacrificed at the altar…unlike in the past, the African youth now have the right to choose and the right to know about things that directly affect them…we’ve been cribbed and cabined and confined by the old concept of absolute respect for tradition.”

“You are right. But you still do not have the right to know what transpires between adults within the concrete walls of their bedrooms. What right do you have to know about what happened between your Dad and myself on a Tuesday in November 1978?”

“Mama. Are you depriving me of my democratic rights. The reality is that, to we the African youth, democracy is like a huge snowball that keeps on rolling downhill—and getting bigger. Old traditionalists like you might try to slow it down, but you can’t just stop it.”

“Look Ayoma. Don’t lecture me about democracy. Where have you learned all these?

“Let me tell you Ayoma. Voters in countries across Africa are becoming more disillusioned with the way democracy is practiced—even as African countries hold more elections, more of their citizens are steadily losing confidence in their democracies.”

“Are you uncomfortable with our present democratic dispensation?”

“No. Not at all. I’m only saying that, more and more Africans are beginning to realize that elections alone would not allow them to remove objectionable leaders in power.”

“So are you advocating coup d’etats as a means to remove those in power?”

“Not at all. I’m only saying that, there should be a better way to manage our resources—both human and material. In my view, it is the management of these resources that has been lacking. These resources have been hijacked by those in power, and when we go to the polls to vote them out of office—for their misdeeds, they hijack that as well.” We should therefore not rely on democracy alone to solve our problems.”

“Then what do you have, Mama?”

“When I was your age, I couldn’t talk to my mother the way you’re talking to me now…you now have the right to choose—democracy or me.” Mama said—with a curl of her lip.

Raising up her gnarled middle finger on her left hand, she said:

“Look at this deformed finger and my calloused skin. Raising you wasn’t easy for me at all. Sometimes, I was forced to do rough work just to be able to put food on the table.”

To be continued…

          He converted to Islam and me to Christianity

“Ayoma, Ayoma, wake up.” Mama shouted.

 Upon opening my eyes, I immediately asked Mama where Patricia was.

“You were only dreaming my son.”

 The phone is ringing. It’s raining. Mama is still on her knees.

“Go pick up the phone.” Mama instructs.

“Mama, why do you have to wake me up to go pick up the phone. You are the best person to pick it up.”

“Why do you say so? Go pick up the phone.” Mama cries out in exasperation.

The phone is still ringing and we are still arguing over who should go pick it up. Then it goes silent.

“Mama. Who is my Dad?”  

Looking at Mama, I could see how her face had now become etched with the kind of wisdom that comes at a price. Holding her gnarled left middle finger in her calloused right hand, she said:

“Your Dad was an unreconstructed romantic, and a conservative on the question on living together before marriage. At the time, he thought playing house for a few months or years with someone he said he loved—as a way to decide whether to marry that person—would be a disrespect to his partner and a cheapening of that relationship. For him, a ‘try it out before I buy’ notion would be dehumanizing and morally and psychologically suspect. He believed strongly in marriage being a sanctity.”

“Mama, was he a prophet?”

“No…he’d converted to Islam and me, to Christianity…”

“Are you saying you both switched religions in jail?

“Exactly!”

“Who was the first to finish serving his time?

“Your Dad was?”

“How did you meet after that?” 

  To be continued…

 

                 Patricia refuses Ayomah some Spiritual Papers                                          

 “ That Chinese man. You mean Cecelia’s Dad?”

Mama retreated into a long silence. Those few words of Mama had a narcotic effect on me and before she could say anything else, I once again nodded away in sleep.

“Patricia when did you return from the United Kingdom?” I asked.

“Just this morning.”

“Why have you decided to come back?”

“I heard you were about to leave Mama alone and travel abroad. I came back in order to stay with her.”

“You are so kind sister.”

“Thank you.”

“Have you heard of Cecelia.”

  “Yes she did call me on three occasions when I was in the UK.”

  “Patricia, will you believe that she’s never called us since she left?”

  “Oh! But she told me she’s called Mama on two occasions and that she did even talked to you?”

“Sister, I really would appreciate it if you could help me out with some hot cash. I’m really broke.”

“What do you mean by that?”

“I mean that… that… hot cash you brought with you from London.”

“Ayoma, what do you mean by hot cash?”

“That foreign money…some people call them spiritual papers you know that?”

“How do you know that I brought them?”

“Are you telling me you came empty-handed?”

“So my step father didn’t give you any spiritual papers to be given to me.?”

“Come on Ayoma. Get real. He doesn’t know you even exist. When will some of you these people stop this culture of begging?”

 “Patricia. You’re insulting me. What do you mean by you these people?”

“I mean some of you Africans. What do some of your politicians do when they go abroad…they go with cap in hand…and even when they don’t go anywhere…some of them still beg all over the place at foreign embassies within their countries…and even when foreign dignitaries do visit, they have to dole out loans and grants before leaving…”

“Well…that’s our culture. Are you no longer an African?”

“No. My Dad is white and British.”

“What about your Mom. Is she not black and African?”

“Yaa…but…What about you. Do you even know who your Dad is?”

To be continued…