Thursday, 2 June 2011

Mama

It's one of those days again. The sky is grey; I see no silver lining. Like the Ostrich, I just want to bury my head in the sand and wish all my problems away. Sometimes when life becomes too stressful I wish for happier, carefree times or I just go down memory lane and stay there; for a bit.

I was just seven, but I remember like it was yesterday.
You came back every night from your restaurant with a bowl of fresh fish pepper-soup. Oh! that pepper-soup; we could eat anything with it-rice, eba, bread, just name it.

You always made me eat all my food before my meat , like the meat was the prize for eating the food? I'm all grown now, so I eat my meat with my food and I leave nothing on the plate. So I'm thinking, was all that protocol really necessary?

I'll never forget the way you used to whoop my behind. God! I always wondered if you were my real mother. I guess I have you to thank for my big backside; not like I mind oh, I never really felt the pain of all the flogging in primary school. lol.

I miss going home for Christmas. I loved the train rides and the smell of Navy rations and the never ending landscape and the tu-tu-tu-tu sound of the train. I miss Nnenne's Christmas special-Rice and stew and Paw-Paw; Aw, com'on, who am I kidding? I've always wanted to ask, whose bright idea was that, yours or Nnenne's? Ew!

I remember our trips to Iyu Ukwu, the smell of Udala thick in the air. I always marvelled at those young men in the cement bath, wearing rain boots and crushing palm kernel to extract the oil.

We would sit on Nnenne's recliner, Chinasa and I, and watch as those scary masquerades marched past; Ekpo, you used to call them. Sometimes we watched from Onochie's balcony. We were always so scared Chinasa peed in her pants twice. Thinking back now, I wonder why we didn't just look away?

I feel very proud every time dad says I remind him of you. You should see me now, I'm tall just like you and Sophia says I have your hips, is that so? I'm fairer than you were though, I guess I got more of Nnenne's genes than you did.

I have a feeling you'll be happy to know dad never remarried. He blames himself till this day that he wasn't there when you needed him the most. He still swears that if he had been around, you would have made it.

Every mother's day I remember you. As people all over the world say all sort of nice stuff about their mums, I feel so bad cos I can't tell you same. I wish you had spilled the Abacha and Ugba or gotten home to find out it had gone sour. But then how could we have known? You ate it all up. if only there had been someone, anyone who could drive... I was only seven and Sophia was too scared to think. If only they didn't make you wait in the emergency unit...Sophia says you fought and held on for over 5 hours but by the time help came, the poison had completely ravaged your system.

Mgbafo died two months after you did. Dad says she confessed and asked for forgiveness. You always were stubborn so I'm thinking- did you like haunt her until she drove her car off the cliff? I really won't put it past you mama, I remember no one messed with you back then. It'll be really funny if you took your no-nonsense right into the spirit world.

Every time I look at the sky, I remember the story you told me about the man who broke firewood on sunday and God got so angry he turned him into that dark image embedded in the moon-his axe still poised for a strike. I believed every word you said like it was the book of Moses. So you were lying to me back then ehn? It never occurred to me that you could lie? lol. But it's alright, I get the moral of the story-I should always go to church on sunday or God will turn me into a pillar of...whatever.

You know all those out-of--this-world stories you told and the books you made me read has kind of paid off? I don't have my own book yet, but i write notes and put it on this really cool site called facebook. I know during your time it was hand written love letters and telegraphs and stuff, but now we have mobile phones and internet like you won't believe. People from all over the world read my notes and say nice things. Now I'm kind of like a mini superstar...stop laughing, I'm serious mama!

Now I'm dating this very nice guy, he has his scroin scroin, but he has a good heart and he can handle me; you know I can be a handful? I was told I got that from you, lol.

I'll be getting married soon and I'm really scared. Most of my married friends are either filing for divorce or are about to do so. Just this evening, a friend of mine lost her friend. She was beaten to death by her husband. What is it about exchanging vows that make the best of friends become sworn enemies?

I've been very strong mama. I've tried to be a good example for Chinasa; but sometimes I don't want to be strong. I just want to hug you and cry and tell you stuff I know I can't talk to dad about...you know? I guess we can't have everything we want.

It was after you left that Aunty Aba told me a bit of your history. She said Alvan Ikoku is my great grand uncle? I see the resemblance, I kinda have his nose, hahaha. I was so excited I almost changed my surname. I mean, how many people have their uncles, great or grand or both on naira notes? I knew I had some blue chip blood, lol. Don't worry, I'll explain Blue chip the next time we talk.

I'm looking at the sky again, but this time, I'm wondering which star is you. Ah...I see you, you just winked at me!

and just in case you were wondering, lol means Laughing Out Loud. It's a slang we use when we really think we are funny or when we desperately want to convince the person at the other end that they are, lol.

I miss you bad. I know I've said it a lot of times, but I wanna say it again today.

I'm feeling kinda sleepy so I have to go mama.

Nyt nyt.

Oh yeah, I forgot - Stars don't sleep.  
©Naomi Lucas

No comments: