by Eketi Edima Ette
Come closer. Closer. Ehen. Let me tell you something.
You see your parents? The ones whom you grew up with and perhaps, still live with? Yes, those ones.
You see them?
When they quarrel, stay in your lane. Especially if they’ve been married for over two decades.
What did I say?
Stay. In. Your. Lane.
If you don’t, they will mess you up. In a very big way.
This is how they roll.
You’re on your own, jejeli facing your front. Then from the bedroom, you hear your parents arguing heatedly. Your father then opens the bedroom door and slams it shut. You hear the jangling of keys, and then a car engine revs. The eagle has left the building.
Still on your own, you’re not surprised when your mother opens your bedroom door. She has come to make a report.
“You see wetin your Papa do? I no like am. I say, I no like am at all. Why will he do that to me? After all these years? I will not take it!“
You should seal your lips.
But instantly, you become possessed by the spirit of Blessed-are-the-Peacemakers and his brother, Single-handed Family Settler of Disputes.
“Mummy, don’t mind him. That’s how he behaves all the time, as if he doesn’t have sense.”
“Ehn? Whose husband did you just call stupid?”
And you’re like, “Huh?“
And she’s like, “Don’t huh me anything! How dare you say my husband does not have sense?”
Jeezez! Zero to hundred jos laidat?! But you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.
“Mummy, I didn’t say he doesn’t have sense. I said he does like he doesn’t ha……”
“You’re still talking? Will you shut up that your dirty mouth!”
At this point, she dusts the family Book of Life and opens to the chapter titled, ‘Personal Life History.’
“Look at you!” she reads. “When I was your age, I was already in my husband’s house and had even given birth to your brother.
But at 27, you’re still in my house, insulting my husband. ? Go?and?marry?so?you?can?insult?your ?own?husband!”
There and then, tears from nowhere fill your eyes. Who send me? you ask yourself. But the spirits are silent.
You’re still there when your father returns, bearing his own report. This time, the issue is that your mother didn’t give him the respect he deserves as the man of the house.
“You’d think that after 34 years of marriage, she would know that I hate the head of fish. But she still put it in my soup. I’m sure it was to spite me for this morning’s quarrel.”
The Barr….the Barr…
Alternative Dispute Resolutionist
Settler of Settlements
The Last Peace Bender.
Will you face your front? Iyo o!
Since no deliverance has been conducted on you yet, you’re still very much possessed by that spirit of speak first and cry later. You don’t even realise when you open your mouth and say,
“Daddy, don’t mind her. You know Mummy nah…..always being petty, like a child.”
“It is you and your ancestors that are petty! How dare you use such words on a woman that carried you for 9 months and went through a 36-hour labour to give birth to you?
I don’t blame you. Shebi if you’d married, left my house and had a child of your own, you’d understand that this life is not easy. Silly child. Look at your mouth like petty.”
This time, you murmur a ‘Sorry’, and trudge back to your room. No tears have come…..yet.
But the tears will come. Soon.
That evening, you come out to eat dinner and pass by the living room. There, you see your parents sitting at the dining table, now laughing with each other.
Your father shreds a piece of suya and feeds his wife. She giggles and reaches for her medicine box.
“Give me one tablet make I swallow,” your father says.
“Leave my medicine, jare. Before you swallow the one that will give you belle,” your mother replies.
They both laugh out loud and long, until their gazes fall on you. Simultaneously, they hiss and eye you in African.
As you shake your head and try to walk by to the kitchen, you hear them both mutter something about your spouseless, mannerless self, eating all their food while trying to play peacemaker. Amateur like you.
Then, right then, you will cry.
Don’t say I didn’t warn you. That is how they roll.
Eketi Edima Ette ©2017.
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