Chris Bamidele: Places in my dream- Episode 2 (Y! Fiction)

by Chris Bamidele

 

I could see pain in Dad’s eyes now and I noticed he was not happy talking about mum’s family, but I wanted to know more. “So how did you convince them to allow you marry mum” I asked as I buried my fists in his large palms – he squeezed them lovingly.

READ: Chris Bamidele: Places in my dream- Episode 1 [HERE]

“One of the older men rushed in and came out with a cutlass threatening to feed my blood to their gods if I didn’t leave their town immediately, her father was visibly angry and sad at the same time, the younger men present were ready to beat me up…..”

AGBEDE VILLAGE

It’s been six days since my Dad was lowered into the ground inside an uncompleted house I learnt he was building for his father. I didn’t see grandpa around on that day but my Dad’s sister (Aunty Àwẹ̀ró) was there with some other women, they were all crying, wailing and speaking loudly in Yoruba (I later learnt they were cursing whoever was responsible for my Dad’s death). I held on to my Mum who was all by herself as she cried softly, dressed in all black attire, her reddened, swollen eyes concealed behind a pair of sunglasses – she had not stopped crying since that afternoon I got back from school. Everything was beyond my comprehension as my 8 year old brain simply couldn’t process it all. I felt safe in her embrace for the moment while I still hoped my Dad would come back to me – someday.

************

CALABAR

My Dad’s corpse was transported from Calabar to his home-town in Agbede few days after his death. Two of his friends (same ones that picked me from school the day he died) were in the house that morning and I wondered why they were packing Dad’s property. Electronic gadgets, furniture, kitchen utensils and other household items; the bed, fan, pressing iron and even wall clocks were packed into a big dark-blue truck. They came with a woman who I later got to know as Aunty Àwẹ̀ró; my Dad’s only elder sister he had told me so much about. I met her for the first time that day.

 

DECEMBER 1988

“Dad, when will your sister be visiting us?” I asked him as we were having our usual bedtime talk in my room. Dad was quiet for a while and I assumed he didn’t hear my question, so I asked again “Dad, when will………” “Akin!” cutting me short as I was repeating my question…” I heard you the first time, I just don’t know how to make you understand everything and I honestly wish you did” I sat up straight in my bed, and was very curious as to why my Dad’s mood suddenly changed when I asked about his sister. I really didn’t care so much about anybody except my Dad and Mum, they loved each other and they loved me more. But I always heard my friends talked about their uncles and Aunties, how they would bring chocolates and toys for them whenever they visited and also help them out with their homework. I often wondered if my uncles and aunties would be that nice and loving.

“Dad, please just tell me, is there something wrong with my aunties and uncles? Are they bad people?”

“You might not get to meet my sister until when you are much older”

“Why?”

“My sister is a woman I will never understand, she hates me for no reason, I have tried severally to make peace with her but she vowed never to stop blaming me for her misfortunes” “Now this is very confusing” I thought to myself…..My Dad would never hurt anyone to the point they would vow never to forgive him. I probed further. “What is she blaming you for?”

“Sister Àwẹ̀ró is 10 years older than I am; mother had three stillbirths after giving birth to her before she finally had me.……. My sister later got married twice, to two different men of course; and in both marriages, she was sent away from her home for various offences ranging from not being able to get pregnant to being too fetish”

“What is fetish?”

“She was consulting all kinds of herbalists for solutions to her perceived problems, but that is not my issue with her. After the second husband sent her packing, she consulted an herbalist who told her she should go and meet our mother to explain to her things she didn’t know about herself. But our mother of course was dead at the time; she died giving birth to me, and my sister blames me till this day for being the root cause of her problem”

“Hmmmmm. She is really a bad person. What about Mum’s family?”

“Akinlabi, your mum’s case is a bit different from mine; I met her while she was doing her NYSC in Ugep, I was stationed there myself at the time. Your mother was the most beautiful youth corps member that year and we fell in love instantly. But unfortunately, her mother died during her service year. And as a loving partner, I followed her home to support her emotionally, I met her father and other family members and they were so nice to me until they asked for my name; I was shocked at their reactions.”

“How did they react?”

“One of the older men rushed in and came out with a cutlass threatening to feed my blood to their gods if I didn’t leave their town immediately, her father was visibly angry and sad at the same time, the younger men present were ready to beat me up; your mum rushed out and stood by my side crying and pleading with her family to let me be. But, they just yanked her off me and bundled her inside the house; I left their town that night, confused, hurt and angry. I couldn’t understand why they would hate me so much just because I am a Yoruba man.”

I could see pain in Dad’s eyes now and I noticed he was not happy talking about mum’s family, but I wanted to know more. “So how did you convince them to allow you marry mum” I asked as I buried my fists in his large palms – he squeezed them lovingly.

“Your mum came back to me two months after that incident, against her family’s wish. She later got pregnant and we moved to Calabar…….. But for the past the past eight years, we have been sending people to beg your mum’s family to allow me come and do the necessary marriage rites, all to no avail. I have been there four times to beg them with some of my Igbo friends, but on each occasion, we were chased away with cutlasses. Last year, your mum’s dad wrote us a letter that she has been disowned and must never come back home. We have written countless letters since then and I hope to go and plead with them again very soon.”

“So, what will happen if mum’s family suddenly decides to take her away from us?” I asked.

“Son, no one is ever taking your mum or you away from me, and I am never going to leave both of you” he said in the most assuredly manner. I believed him; but of course, he left – just a month after.

 

**********

AGBEDE

I had not seen Mum for six days, I knew where she was, I knew she was in a small, dimly– lit room with a window that could barely fit an adult’s head. The room was always under lock and key and twice a day, a young girl would take food in broken plates to Mum. She would only come out once in a day, accompanied by Aunty Àwẹ̀ró to use the pit-toilet situated at the back of the house and I would always be prevented by my Aunty from talking to her or entering her room. I didn’t know why this was happening or what my Mum did to deserve such treatment until later that evening when I was going into grandpa’s room.

There seemed to be three people involved, Aunty Àwẹ̀ró, an older woman from the family and grandfather. I pressed my ears to the wall as I listened to the most shocking conversation, nay, argument of my life…………!

———————
Chris Bamidele blogs at www. dgreatest2.wordpress.com
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

 

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