There is a time in a woman’s life when it becomes shameful to still ask who her parents are instead of asking who married her. This is because a woman is like an exotic bird that flourishes best in captivity with the eye of a careful groom, it sings thrilling songs for the ears of her master only. She…
“But Mum, isn’t the speech supposed to have the part about a woman being like a fragile flower? This exotic bird angle is very weird biko.” Aduke said as she patted her mother’s grey hair and walked out of the kitchen.
It would never have occurred to her to be sassy with her own mother, Kikelomo thought. Even now, Iya Kemi would kick all the teeth out of her mouth if she even thought of answering her back. At Aduke’s age? She wouldn’t have lived to see the next sunset, Iya Kemi would have ensured she killed her and resurrected her and killed her again.
Never mind that she had already had the silly girl when she was twenty-one unlike Aduke who was nearing her thirtieth birthday. Another pang of worry hit the base of her stomach, her daughter would soon be too old for marriage.
She wanted to call Prophet Oshoko to arrange for another round of intensive fasting and prayer for Aduke, her reluctance to even take the marriage issue was very troubling. Why would a girl so beautiful and bright refuse to even consider the idea of becoming a responsible wife and mother? Instead the girl talked about career and other words and phrases she couldn’t even understand.
Her daughter sounded like Gani when she was giving her reasons for rejecting marriage, with her left fist raised and her voice as tall as the ceiling. If she weren’t her daughter and the issue wasn’t so serious, she would have found her speeches funny, but as her mother it only made her afraid. Very afraid.
She had told Ademi not to let this child watch so many cartoons when she was a girl but her husband was too soft on his children, never denying them anything they wanted. Now he wasn’t here to tackle this strange bewitchment with her, maybe he wouldn’t even have seen it as strange.
He would have found it funny as he found everything, he never understood the true gravity of anything.
“Look for the bright side and stop worrying so much,” he liked to say, just before tickling her.
She missed him too much sometimes, he spoiled her too as he did his children, that man was love on two legs and a big head. She wanted so badly to walk into his hug and sniff his arms for that glorious scent that was the mix of him and Old Spice.
She still bought Old Spice like she did when he was alive, never forgetting to put it in her cart during her monthly shopping. She sprayed it on his pillow beside hers and on her blanket, every night. Timi said it was the reason she still dreamt about the man, twelve years after he had left her to raise their children alone. It wasn’t fair that he was gone and his children were giving her brand new gray hair every morning, it just wasn’t fair.
She felt a hand on her right shoulder and looked up into the face of Olamilekan, the only child she bore who had any sense.
“Maami why are you sitting here all alone? I hope you haven’t been crying again?” he asked.
“Cry ke? Your mother wasn’t crying,”
“I was just worried about Aduke, what is that girl’s problem?” she continued.
“Maami don’t allow Aduke’s matter to increase your blood pressure or kill you, your mother is still alive and you did not kill her” he answered and kissed her hair.
While she always maintained she had no favourite child, but this child was the one who made her smile the most. Maybe it was because he looked the most like Ademi, even down to the way he rolled his shoulders when he walked, or how he never made her worry. He had already gotten engaged at twenty-eight and would be getting married in a year, after his fiancee finished her masters degree.
How could two children who had shared the womb for nine months be so different, she wondered.