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…

 

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