He sat there with his head bowed down. He was scratching his head with his long fingernails. My mother was about to ask another question when I noticed white particles from his head and some patches at the back of his neck. I drew her attention to it. Immediately my mother saw it, she told me to bring her torchlight to be able to see clearly. She collected and beamed it to his head,
“My God! What happened to you?” She exclaimed.
She removed his shirt to see more patches on his body. The way she was checking his body like a small boy brought to my memory that mothers will always be mothers even to their own husbands. She temporarily forgot about her loss and shifted her whole attention on my father. She dragged him like a love-drunken lovers to the bathroom to take his bath.
The way she was running up and down to take care of him baffled me. It dawned on me again what I heard on a radio program by MC olufats that “Once a woman loves a man unconditionally, she can go an extra mile to sacrifice her all and satisfy him. That is the more reason a man must treat his wife lovingly and guide her jealously”
That depicted my parents. Within some minutes, he was out of the bathroom and my mother asked if he used soap to which he responded in the negative.
“My dear, go back and use soap or do you want me to help you?” She asked him.
When I heard that I wanted to laugh but cautioned myself. Trust my father, he replied from the bathroom,
“Mama Rebecca, Ololufe mi, I really need your gentle touch on my body. I can’t find the soap, come and help me look for it”.
I ran to my room to empty my trapped laughter bubbles. No wonder they said the bond of love between a couple isn’t easily broken. Despite the fact there was temporary separation, the love kept drawing them to each other. Later, my father came to the sitting room looking refreshed and cool. She went to the kitchen to prepare another food for them as I had already eaten rice. It was while they were eating that he began to narrate what happened to him. I sat with them to hear from the horse mouth and to be a judge in case of another misunderstanding.
“I have been unfaithful to you..”
We knew that already ticked the first box in my head. My mother had told me he would always forgive my father no matter what happened. She said God had forgiven her all her sins and it was a must for her to forgive others too.
He continued: “I’m sorry for hurting you. My business partners introduced me to a woman who was ready to pay off some of my debts under the condition of working extra hours. I agreed and decided to be travelling from one state to the other until I was duped.”
My mother cut in, “But you didn’t inform me.”
“I’m sorry. That was my number one mistake of hiding that information from you. She began to pressure me to look for money until I found a man who was ready to help me. He told me he was impotent and didn’t want to lose his wife.”
“So?” My mother said with agitation in her voice.
I was already thinking along the same thought as my mother whether he had a child elsewhere. However, my father paused and looked at us to see our reactions but I bowed my head to avoid eye contact with him.
He continued: “I was under pressure from the other woman to pay back the money I owed and this man was ready to pay me huge amount of money to settle my debt if… if… if…”
“If what? Talk now…” My mother asked him fastening her eyes on his lips to read it.
“He said if I can give him a child”
“How?” She asked.
“By sleeping with his wife”
“Ha! Don’t tell me you accepted his offer…” My mother shouted.
I knew the water of their relationship was almost getting to one hundred degrees Celsius and I quickly went inside to take the photo I took from his bag some months before. I sat down listening to them and looking for a way to intervene.
“I rejected the offer at first but later succumbed to the pressure” My father burst into tears.
My mother couldn’t say a word again. I knew she was boiling inside and what might happen next can be unpredictable like the car of Baba go-slow in our town. He owned an old Mercedes car that could take forever to move from one street to the other talk less of travelling outside our town. His car bonnet was always opened and small children used to gather around him shouting, “Hail Baba go-slow!”
In his characteristic way, he would smile and reply, “God will provide a new car for me”. True to his constant confession, one of his former students bought a new car for him to appreciate him for training him and impacting good values into his life. Even after he began to ride his new car, the old name of Baba go-slow had stuck on our lips.
Without wasting time, I brought out the photo and showed it to my father. My mother was curious to see what I gave him. When my father saw it, he was shocked. My mother collected it from him to scrutinise it. She began to look at the photo like the way some foreign immigration officers used to check the passports of some people from developing countries. She couldn’t believe her eyes and asked the much awaited question,
“Who is this boy?”
He didn’t answer as he was full of tears. My mother turned to me to ask me where I got the photo.
I replied her with caution, “Mum, when Dad came home last time.”
“And you didn’t inform me about. it?”
“Mum, you used to tell me not to jump into the conclusion on any matter.”
She banged the table and screamed, “Not in this case. Can’t you see that the boy resemble your father?”
I sat there like a child deprived of his chocolate. My mother turned to him again to demand an answer. My father summoned the courage to hit the nail on the head,
“He invited me to his house one day and told me to forget about the ungodly offer of sleeping with his wife. He gave me a cheque to clear my debt and we drank wine together. The next thing I found out was that I was on the bed with his wife. I didn’t know how it happened until he came in and threatened to kill me if I revealed it to anyone. He then placed a black calabash on my hands to swear never to reveal what transpired between us. Out of fear I did it”
“Hmnnn…My God!” She sighed deeply.
My father continued: “I made a mistake of hiding things from you. Early this year, he sent for me to meet him at the airport. He introduced me to his wife and a boy. Before we could talk further, he took my picture with the boy. I was still in doubt when he told me that he was my son. I was scared at first but relaxed when he told me they were leaving the country for good. He told me that was the product of my impatience looking for money and eventual entering a covenant with him. Without any controversy, he resembled me. He later sent the photo to me which I still find strange. I knew I was hypnotised and here is the repercussion. I’m sorry… I’m sorry… ” He began to beg her again asking for forgiveness.
My mother rested her head on her two hands weeping when I rose up quickly and ran to my father shouting when I saw…
To be continued in Episode 20.