Hello friends, I hope you’re all doing great and bouncing in the Lord!
I can’t believe I just said that, it comes from a really popular childhood song.
It’s the second part of our story from last week. For this to make sense, read the first part here.
Mourning His Life (Noon)
I peed really quickly because I was afraid of the noise the wind was making. Also, Mummy told me not to pee by that tree because it is not good to pee on trees. But why is it not good to pee by the tree? I told her that the tree needs my pee because my pee is like rain but she told me that only the toilet needs my pee and not the tree. But today I could not go to the toilet because I did not want to disturb Daddy and Aunty Laraba from their prayer dance on the bed. Just as I was about to pull up my trousers, I heard Mummy’s voice so I turned around to run inside the house. I was not fast enough so she caught me and hit me twice on my bottom.
“Mummy,” I cried “I could not pee inside the toilet in my room because you said the electrician is coming to fix it and he has not come yet.”
“The plumber. Not the electrician”
“I don’t know who. But I know that one will fix the corridor light and the other one will fix the toilet.”
“Okay, so why did you not go to the toilet in my room?” she held my hand and began to walk inside the house.
“I could not pee in you and Daddy’s toilet because Aunty Laraba and Daddy are dancing on the bed and I don’t want to disturb them.”
Mummy opened her mouth very wide like she was about to say something, but she closed it back slowly. I thought I had done something wrong so I started to cry. She left my hand and ran inside the house, but she could not run quickly enough because of her big tummy so I got ahead of her, shouting;
“Mummy I did not want to disturb them so I only opened the door and closed it back”
“Did they see you?” She was shouting back at me and I did not like it when Mummy shouted so I only cried louder.
“No, they did not. I was very quiet because I was afraid of Daddy because I don’t want him to hit me with his belt the way he hits you when he gets angry. And he has been angry at the football players in the TV all evening”
“Shut up your mouth, what football players?” Mummy said, as she pushed me aside and made her into the house. She did not want to hear what I was saying, so I ran after her and continued “Mummy, I did not want Daddy to hit me with his belt so I went to pee by the tree.”
When I went into the house, I did not see where Mummy had gone. I don’t know how she got to her room so fast because she still could not run. When I got to the door of Daddy and Mummy’s room, all of Aunty Laraba clothes were on the floor and Daddy’s trousers were on the side table. Also, he did not have his belt so I was not afraid. I knew that Daddy would not hit me now that Mummy was home. The last time he tried to hit me when she was home, she hit him with the pounding stick for the pounded yam and there was blood everywhere.
I did not want to see Aunty Laraba without her clothes because Mummy told me that it was bad to see people without their clothes, but Mummy was sitting on the floor and crying and I wanted her to stop crying. I went to the kitchen to get some drinking water the way she always gives me water whenever I cry. When I came back to the room, Aunty Laraba had worn her clothes so I went to sit beside Mummy. Daddy was sitting on her other side but he was not saying anything to make her stop crying. I held the cup to her mouth and she drank all the water so I went to the kitchen to get another cup for her to drink.
When I came back, Aunty Laraba had left and Daddy was walking up and down the room but Mummy was still lying on the floor. Her eyes were closed so I tapped her shoulder.
“Mummy, please stop crying or I will join you and cry” I said to her.
“Oh my maigida, you’re a big man now, so you cannot cry like a little boy” Mummy said.
“Okay, I won’t cry Mummy, but drink your water so that your head does not hurt you” I answered
“Maigida,” she said. “How do you know my head will hurt me?”
“Because you tell me the same thing whenever I cry. You tell me to drink water so that all the water in my body will not finish but I can continue crying until I can fill a big bucket.”
Mummy laughed at me but it was not her usual laugh that made her whole body shake. She did not open her eyes and there were tears on her cheeks. I wanted her to get up from the floor so I started pushing her up. Her legs had grown really fat since her tummy grew big so I did not know what to do. I lay down beside her but the next morning, I found myself on my bed.
Daddy woke me up to bathe me this morning. I did not mind Daddy bathing me because although he did not tell me stories like Mummy did, we always played games. Today, we were playing the counting game and I had to spell a number very fast once he called it out to me. When I got tired of the counting game, we played the Three Times Table. Daddy called out “three times one,” and I shouted “three”, “three times two”, and I shouted “six.” I got tired of this game when we got to twelve because I did not know the rest of the times table and I was done bathing.
The drive to Kaduna was long. I slept and slept and woke up and tried to count the trees but Uncle Sunday was driving too fast and he was smoking so he opened the windows and I could not breathe well so I started to cry. He shouted and me and told me that my mummy was not there with me so I stopped crying. Soon, I fell asleep and when I woke up, I was in grandma’s house already.
I’ve been waiting for Mummy to come back and get me from this house, but Mama has changed her calendar picture three times now, and Mummy still has not come. Every time she changes to a new picture, I wish that somehow, Mummy will appear by the gate. But she still has not called and I don’t know what to do.
Mama’s house is made of bricks, but some parts of the house are not complete, and it is not even painted. Suleiman told me that only the insides of the house had been plastered with cement because they ran out of money when they were building, so the outside walls have never been completed. There is no running water on the tap, and Suleiman always bathes me in the backyard, where the well is. Mama has a bucket in the corner of the room where Suleiman and I sleep so that we can pee in the night and Suleiman empties it in the morning.
Last Friday, Mama took me to visit some schools with my new friend Suleiman. I thought Mama was looking for schools for Suleiman but when I asked Suleiman why he did not go to school, although he was older than me, he laughed and called me a dummy. I don’t like the sound of that word because it reminds me of the way Mummy opens her eyes whenever she says “Manya!” I’ll ask her when she comes to visit me, just so that I don’t get upset at Suleiman if he hasn’t done anything wrong.
One Sunday after church, Mama took me to the tailor’s place to get my measurements taken. I was very confused because I only got measurements taken at christmastime when Mummy made me a new outfit made from the ankara material Aunty Laraba sends us every year. I asked Suleiman why I was getting measurements taken, but he kept asking me questions and laughing at my angel story. It wasn’t even that funny.
“Last year, I refused to smile in the pictures because my teeth hadn’t grown back yet. When they fell out, Mummy asked me to throw them on the roof so that the angels would take them to God in heaven and bring me new ones while I slept. But the angels were late because when it was time to take christmas pictures, I still did not have my teeth. I prayed for them every night. When I told Mummy and Daddy this, they laughed really hard. So in last year’s family pictures, Mummy and Daddy are laughing while I am not.”
Suleiman laughed all the way home, so I guessed it was a good thing that I was getting measurements taken after all. Maybe this year, I would smile in my pictures since my teeth had grown back.
To be continued next week.
Image from giphy.com