Hello reader! How’s your day going? I hope I’m about to make it better. Before you read this post, it is highly advisable you read the first part here. Enjoy!
“Seeeeuuun! Segggguuunn! Seeeeyiii! Shoooogo! ”. The four boys were rudely yanked from dreamland by the sound of their mother’s loud voice as it reverberated throughout the whole of No. 33 Adefila Street. Seun’s eyes lazily drifted to the wall clock. 6:24. Haba! Today was Saturday, the only day of the week they were allowed to be in bed till 8:00am. He looked at his brothers, they were no longer asleep, neither were they fully awake. They were waiting for somebody to get up first.
“Ooooh God! This woman should allow somebody to sleep now,”
Seun grumbled under his breath.
“Ahn ahn! Are you counting my voice? Before I count to three all of you appear inside this kitchen now! OOOOONE…”
All four boys scampered to the kitchen. There they found their mother scowling; her hair bound in a black hairnet; a green “Mama-is-60” wrapper around her chest.”
“Which one of you entered this kitchen last night?”
Shet! Seyi thought. It took all of his will power to stay calm.
“See them looking at me like basket of tomatoes. Da mi lohun jare!” They all looked at each other confused and shook their heads.
“Nobody abi? Ehh hen. So it was a ghost that entered my house, turned up the lantern to highest,” she pointed to the lantern now darkened with thick soot, “and now carried it from the left side of the entrance to the right, abi?” Her tone going up one tone as she said ‘abi’.
Seyi gave himself a mental knock. In his hurry, he’d forgotten to turn down the lantern knob. Stupid mistake. He would never steal at night again. He continued to act as confused as his brothers.
“I know that it is one of you. Me and my husband were in our room throughout the night. There’s kuku nobody again in this house. Since nobody wants to confess, gbogbo since ma je gba.”
“Ahhh! Mummy, please, please ma.”
She ignored their pleas and continued speaking, “Not only is this person lying , this person also stole. The ponmo in my pot is now twelve instead of thirteen, abi you think I won’t know ni? Ehn?” She glared at Segun, the usual culprit.
“Yeeehh, mummy, I swear to God Almighty. Emi ko.” Segun said touching the tip of his tongue with his finger and pointing to the ceiling.
“C’mon. Don’t swear in this house!” She rebuked Segun. In a much calmer voice she continued. “Don’t worry. We would soon know today. Shogo. “
“Lo gbe Mr Bulala wa.”
Segun was the first to go on his belly, Segun and Seyi quickly followed suit. ” Ahhh..Yeeh…Mummy E jooooo. E jo Ma. Mummy it is more blessed to forgive than to punish. Maami E jo.”
Shogo stood still unsure of the most appropriate course of action, to join his brothers or to bring the cane as his mother asked.
“Go and bring the pankere for me, my friend!” His mother shouted. He scampered away “And don’t disturb your father.” She called after him. She turned to face the others.
“So after all my preaching to you. You boys are still stealing. I thought you have stopped. Do you want to go to hell fire? The Bible says, “Train up a child in the way he should grow and when he is grown he shall not depart from it. The same Bible says, “spare the rod and spoil the what? ””’
They all chorused somberly, “The child.”
Shogo returned with “Mr Bulala”, a one feet long cane as thick as a thumb. At the sight of it, Seyi began to tremble. Regret filled his heart. He considered confessing. He looked at his brothers. Segun was already crying. Obinrin. Small cane you cannot chop. He couldn’t blame him though His mother looked like she was ready to flog the life out of them. If none of them owned up she would punish all of them. He knew it didn’t matter at the end of the day, confess or don’t confess he would be beaten. His conscience however would not let him be. Your brothers are innocent, don’t let them pay for your sins. Do the right thing. Remember what they taught you in Sunday school. His mother’s voice jolted him.
“Seyi, do you have something to tell mummy?” She asked, eyebrows raised.
Voices began warring in his head. Just confess, don’t commit two sins. No shebi nobody saw you. But God saw you oh. SHUUT UP.
“No ma. Nothing ma.” He looked down at his feet.
“Mummy, it wasn’t me.”
“Toh! In that case.” She collected the cane and dropped it on the kitchen table.
Seyi wanted to cry, for himself and for his brothers. This was it, the part where she’d tell them to present their bumbums. He had koba’d his brothers for nothing.
“All of you go to your room.”
None of them moved. It had to be a trick.
“I said go back to your room!”
Was she serious? This was new. Why was she looking at them like that? Seyi felt like he was under a microscope.
“Go before I change my mind!”
She wasn’t flogging them or punishing them? Ha! Ope o
“Oluwaseyi come back.” His heart stopped.
“Why were you smiling?”
Had he been smiling?
“Ki lon pa o lerin? Wa n bi. Come to my front.”
She bent over at her waist till they were eye to eye and placed her hands on her knees as support.
“My mind is telling me that you are the one. I know you did it but I will not force you to talk. Do you want to be a devil’s child? Don’t you want to be a Jesus boy? Oya, look at me and tell me the truth.”
He looked into his mother’s eyes. They were searching his face. There was no fire in them again, instead they looked kind. He couldn’t do it. He couldn’t lie to her face. His heart was pounding with fear.
“Mummy, please I’m sorry.” He began to weep. The rest of his apology was muffled by his crying. He watched her through rheumy eyes as she straightened to her full height and adjusted her wrapper.
“Ha, so you were…” one of his brothers had started to say but was silenced by one glance from their mother.
“Why did you lie? Why did you have to wake up to steal?” Her tone was a mixture of concern and disappointment.
“The rest of you, no more sleep. Go and do your morning duties.” She turned to his brothers who were standing in a corner of the kitchen.
They began to grumble.
“If I hear Kpim!”
The grumbling stopped.
She turned to Seyi, who was still crying and sniffing. “Oya follow me and bring that cane along.”
Da mi lo hun jare – Answer me
Gbogbo yin ma je gba – All of you will be flogged
ki lo n pa o lerin – What is making you laugh
wa n bi – Come here
Ponmo Alata – A local yoruba cuisine of cooked peppered cow hide.
To all MOTHERS out there, we appreciate you.
This lovely piece was written by my wonderful friend Jemima Ojapa.. Please follow for many more insightful posts and stories on her blog http://jemstoneblog.wordpress.com .
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