Amaka took a bike straight from the bus park to her family house at Umuahia, she hadn’t told anyone she was coming home so no one expected her. She reached the house and pushed open the gate which by the way, wasn’t always locked.
Amaka came from a well-to-do home, her father was an importer of fast moving consumer goods like, tin tomatoes, detergents, antiseptics and the like so, they didn’t lack. Her father had erected a strong structure just before the main market and people referred to them as rich. Amaka reached the door to the house and knocked, one of her relatives who lived with them, opened the door and screamed excitedly at the sight of her.
“Sister Amaka, welcome…”
“Thank you dear…where’s mom and dad? Are they at home?”
“Mommy is asleep…she said she doesn’t want to be disturbed, daddy traveled to village…” Her relative replied.
“Okay…take my bag to my room. I hope Amaoge hasn’t been sleeping in that room…” Amaka asked her relative, referring to her younger sister who loved to bunk in her room.
Amaka’s relative chuckled mischievously and shook her head.
Amaka handed her the bag and flying up the stairs, she went to her mother’s room, without bothering to knock, she stepped in. What she saw sent her hand flying to her mouth. Her mother was in the room but in the arms of someone who bore close resemblance to her father’s driver.
“Mommy!” Amaka screamed.
Amaka’s mother and her lover disentangled themselves and stared at her like drenched rats, the lover was indeed her father’s driver, Ferdinand.
“What is all this about? And under my father’s roof?” Amaka screamed.
“Shut up! Is this the first time you’ve caught a man and a woman in the throes of passion?Please, give me space!” Her mother shouted back.
Ferdinand started trying to get dressed but Amaka’s mother dragged in back to the bed.
“Mister Man…we have unfinished business!” Amaka’s mother said to him, and addressing her daughter, she continued. “Now, can you go to your room and pretend that nothing happened?”
“You disgust me mom! You disgust me!” Amaka wailed and left her mother’s room.
Heading upstairs, she pushed open her door and flung herself on to her bed, ‘why was life this cruel?’ she thought. ‘First her best friend was getting married and second, her mother was sleeping with her father’s driver.”
Nosa alighted from the bus at the car park at Mission road in Benin, he slung his bag over his shoulder and walked out of the park to cross the road. As soon as he got to the other side, he entered a bus which took him to Ikpoba hill where his mother resided.
“Brother Nosa…welcome…” His little step-sister said as she rushed out to greet him.
“Wetin you buy come?” His cousin asked, looking at his hands in dismay when he found out that there was no nylon in his hand.
“Bus driver nor stop for road ooo…I nor buy anything come, but make I give una money to buy bread.” Nosa said, fishing through his pocket for some money to give the youngsters.
“Abeg bring better money come ooo…broda Uyi come hia last week ehn, if you see the kain motor him bring come ehn! That kind wey dey resemble trailer and im come dash all of us one thousand naira each…” His cousin said ruggedly.
Nosa stopped short, Uyi was his classmate in secondary school who had dropped out of school while Nosa was grinding his nose in his books. Did he perform magic? How did he get the money? The last time he had seen Uyi, he was hanging off a bus at Ring Road shouting ‘New Benin’ to passengers, what was happening?’ He thought.
“You nor add de part wey e bring im oyibo wife and him oyibo pikins dem.” His step-sister supplied.
“Ehen…I forget to talk that talk…broda Uyi bring fine Ebo wife and pikin come for us…” His cousin started.
“Take the money, go buy bread abeg, una too talk.” Nosa said in dismissal to the youngsters.
They took the two hundred naira he had handed to them and frowned, immediately, they started arguing on who was to buy bread or not.
“Go buy de bread, na you first collect the money…” Nosa’s step sister said.
“Abeg collect de money…nor be ya broda carry am come?” His cousin retorted.
Nosa ignored them and walked into the house, he only stopped to greet some neighbours and parents of some of his childhood friends before going inside the house. His house still smelt as dingy as he remembered, he had so many memories of this house, some good and others bad. It was in this house that his father died of stroke ten years ago and in this same house that his mother brought in her second husband to live with them. Nosa was the only son of his mother, having two sisters from both his father and mother. His sisters
Nowe and Ehis were both married and lived not too far from the family house with their families. He saw his mother seated on the ground peeling melons and bowed his head in greeting.
“Mama good afternoon…”
“De afternoon good so?” His mother asked.
“Mama abeg nor dey harass me…shio!” He said.
“Which one be, ‘nor dey harass me?’ When I dey sweat blood to pay school fees for school you tell me say, make I nor dey harass you? Or abi na vex you wan make I vex for you so?”
“Mama life too tough!”
“If life too tough, go join your uncle for shop…learn work!”
His mother said, referring to Nosa’s step-dad.
“Abeg na swear be dat…I nor go learn coffin work!” Nosa said, knowing fully well what her mother’s husband did for a living, he was a small-time coffin maker.
“If you nor wan learn work, stop to dey disgrace me up and down! See your mates, Isibor, Uyi, Ovie…dem don make am for dis Benin City wey we dey so! Uyi don marry Ebo wife from yankee and she don born am fine pikin. I nor wan regret say I send you go school.”
Nosa frowned and looked at his mother, then quietly he asked.
“Uyi drop phone number?”
“Abeg gimme make I take call am…”
His mother nodded in affirmative.
“E better say you hammer now ooo…or you fit end up like ya papa wey struggle sotte stroke carry am go!”
Nosa nodded and took his mother’s phone from her and searched for the number.
“Ehen…my pikin…wetin you carry come?” His mother asked, smiling for the first time since she saw him that day.
Nosa shook his head slowly, copying the number, he said quietly.
“Mama…na myself I carry come…”
2 Corinthians 12: 9-10 ‘But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.’
To be continued…