Mama lost her husband a month ago and it's been hard.
They had nothing, just a daughter.
Mama's heart is weary but her skin is tough.
Mama cannot watch her daughter suffer or halt her education.
Mama has to do something, else a doomed groove.
Mama’s red eyes flew wide open, she had cried all through the night till about 1:09am when sleep took the wheel of her eyes. She had successfully persuaded Omotemi to leave for school today the day before.
Chapter 1: HOW MAMA IS DOING.
Omotemi is in her final year states away in Benin City. The news of her father’s death had her running back to Mama, she had blankly refused Mama’s constant plea to travel back to school.
It’s been 6 days since her father’s burial but she was greatly concerned about Mama.
It’s 5:46am, Mama stands up slowly from the bed she had always woken up with her husband. Being careful not to awaken Temi who is sleeping beside her, she wears her slippers, reties her wrapper, opens the door gently and leaves the room.
Mama wipes tears from her eyes…
Temi has a long drive back to Benin so Mama brings out the stove and makes Temi’s favourite meal.
Mama will miss Temi, her daughter is becoming a graduate in a few months.
**FEW HOURS LATER**
“Mummy, I called Aunty Ehi. She will be here today or tomorrow”. Omotemi has been stalling, she doesn’t want to leave Mama.
“Leave your Aunty Ehi alone, she is married now. Let her enjoy her married life!” Mama
“Mama, that’s the only reason I’m leaving for school. I don’t want to leave you alone.” Temi said.
Mama stands up and enters the kitchen.
They live in a one room apartment. The parlour is well furnished, containing everything that should be in a family house. You can visibly see the pictures of Omotemi and her parents on the wall. A silver curtain divides the sitting-room from the bedroom. You can also see a small sized LD television sitting on a small bookshelf, then a DVD player, a small center table, a three and one seater leather chair and even a small fridge just by the kitchen entrance. Mama’s husband really tried to make the house comfortable.
“Here is your food for the journey.” Mama handed her daughter a leather bag with a cooler in it.
“Mamaaaaaa, you know you aren’t supposed to be cooking. Besides, I bought foodstuffs, remember?” Temi says as she goes closer to her mother.
“Tradition did not say I shouldn’t cook for my daughter.
Your father wouldn’t say I shouldn’t either, he knew how much I love cooking.” Mama says as she settles slowly on the one seater chair.
“Go, my daughter. Call me when you get to school.”
Omotemi looked at her mother with tears in her eyes, she felt powerless. She dialled Aunty Ehi’s number, but there was no answer. She doesn’t want to leave Mama alone.
Wiping tears off her eyes, she hugged her mother.
“Mama… please don’t hesitate to call me anytime you need to. I will give you a call as soon as I am settled in the vehicle heading to Benin. I love you mama.”
“I love you Omotemi” Mama looked into her daughter’s eyes. “My God be with you”. Mama said as she smiled.
Omotemi picked up her bags, had a look at her mother once more, took a deep breath and said a prayer under that same breath. She then left Mama.
Mama stood up from the one seater and switched to lay down on the three seater.
She knew her daughter avoided talking about her school fees throughout her stay at home, she has been owing money for her education throughout the academic session and they already began the second semester.
Mama had vowed that her daughter’s education would never come to a halt.
Although Omotemi’s exams are in three months’ time, her final year project has been demanding. Mama doesn’t know what to do. Her husband’s business collapsed immediately his respiratory condition got worse. He was a meat seller at the abattoir and as soon as he could no longer go to work, his colleague stopped picking his calls and sending money from the meat sold. Those owing didn’t show up either.
Mama wiped more tears from her eyes…
She could only manage to save about 30 thousand naira from her small Groundnut and Banana business which was seasonal. Omotemi has been of help too, she had shuffled different jobs at different times paying for one thing and another as she struggled to keep up with work and school.
With all these going through her head, Mama knew she had to come up with something fast for the sake of her daughter and the promise she had made to her husband.
Story by GOODNESS FELIX ADEBAYO