“Dad! Dad!! What have you done?” I screamed.
I didn’t know what to do or who to call. I was helpless and confused and ran to my room to pick my phone. As I began to dial Mr Okafor, I heard my mother calling my name. I had collected his phone number when I bought the sim card from him that day. I quickly ended the call to attend to her..
“Mum! Mum!! Are you OK? What happened?” I asked desperately.
She quietly opened her eyes and I could see pain and anguish written on her face. I placed her head on my lap as I sat on the floor to stabilise her. In one day, I had played a huge role in my family and this boosted my morale.
“Where is my husband?” she asked while gazing around to catch a glimpse of him.
I didn’t know how to reply her but held my lips from uttering a sickening remark.
“Rebecca, where is my husband?” she asked again.
“Mum, he isn’t here. Can I take you to the hospital?”
“No. I’m fine. I want to drink water” she said and I gently lifted her to sit on the bed.
As I was coming back from the kitchen with the glass of water, I heard her phone ringing but I ignored it. When she had drunk the water and calmed down, her phone rang again. I went to pick it and I screamed for joy when I saw it was Aunt Sharon.
“Aunt Sharon! Longest time!” I screamed and ran to give her the phone.
My mother was revived when she spoke with her younger sister. Aunt Sharon had lived in Germany for some years and seldom called her. After their discussion, she asked after my education and promised to do something about it when I told her about the prizes I had won. She was really impressed. However, my mother didn’t talk about the recent happenings at home. My mother rarely spoke her mind and that made it difficult for us to know her true state and intention.
We talked briefly about Aunt Sharon and her past good deeds. She once sent a huge amount of money to offset some of our debts when Dad lost his job before partnering with some friends in clothing business. It was a great relief for us and that made me loved her dearly. One thing I noticed about my father was yoke of debt. It seemed debt was woven into their DNA and ran in their generation. It was always from one debt to another. No year would pass without my mother asking him to seek spiritual help from Baba Lanre.
He specialized in turning people’s destiny around for good. He wasn’t a herbalist because everything about him looked ordinary. Only water in a calabash and a white handkerchief to ward off halo of poverty around its victim. I remembered telling my mother about my suspicion based on hearsay but she dismissed it. I told her how Baba Lanre would deliver people from poverty but his wife and children wore shabby clothes and their living condition was nothing to write home about. I realised later that my father shared the same opinion of him.
My mother never disclosed what led to her unconsciousness and I gave up after several pleadings. When Dad didn’t show up after one hour, we began to call his phone. It rang after some attempts but was finally switched off. My mother became restless asking one thousand and one questions and answering herself.
I tried to call Chief Kolawole but she kicked against it. Okafor’s name came to mind and the look on my mother’s face revealed she wasn’t pleased.
“Mum, who else can we contact now?”
She thought for a while and collected her phone from me to call Mama Bolanle. She narrated everything to her and she promised to come immediately. Among the people in our town, Mama Bolanle proved to be a typical Christian who loved her God and her people. She could go an extra mile to put smiles on people’s faces.
Within ten minutes, she was in our house. She tried to comfort and encourage us. As usual, she prayed for us. I noticed whenever she prayed, we normally felt an unusual peace of mind. She knew one of his friends and called to ask after him. Mr Clement told her he had left the town on an emergency.
We knew he had fled for real to hide his shame. My mother wept as she opened up about his infidelity to Mama Bolanle. I was surprised but something clicked in my mind that she had reached her breaking point. Mama Bolanle didn’t utter a word until she poured out her heart. I knew how it felt whenever I did the same with Thonia. However, the difference was clear between Mama Bolanle and Thonia. I believed her pure spirit was a genuine one unlike Thonia, who operated with worldly ideas she got from her elder sister who had dated more than five men within a year.
“Mama Rebecca, I’m sorry for all that happened. I believe God will intervene and restore peace into your home” She admonished her with many comforting words.
She held our hands before she left that very night and asked us, “Will you accept Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Saviour?”
My mother and I looked at each other whether to accept her offer now after many years of preaching to us. She repeated her question again and we kept silence. It was like some forces were fighting against us to reject her offer of salvation through Jesus Christ. The struggle was real.
“I want to accept Jesus Christ” My mother finally surrendered her life but I was adamant. It was beyond my control and Mama Bolanle didn’t force me.
She prayed for her and left rejoicing that night and my mother’s countenance radiated glory I couldn’t describe. Joy filled her heart and she went to sleep as if nothing had happened that day. I went to bed but couldn’t sleep. Some forces took hold of me and I lost interest in Mama Bolanle and everything about her God.
The decision I took that night changed my life. The next phase of my life began when Aunt Sharon called the following week to inform me of her decision to sponsor my education in Germany. It was a mixed feeling for my mother but I took it with all my heart. My father was no where to be found but he later sent a message to us not to worry about him. It broke my mother’s heart but Mama Bolanle was at hand to encourage her.
Normalcy began to set in until after a month. We were in the sitting room when four men came in carrying …
To be continued in Episode 8.