SHE IS MY MOTHER – Episode One

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Getting bored while he waits for his mother, thirteen-year-old Umar sits on a low-leveled pavement in front of the house they’re about to secure – she’s inside one of the rooms negotiating with the Landlord. Trying hard not to think about what could be going on between them, he picks up some small pebbles and starts throwing them at any bigger stone he could find on the floor, minding not to hit the passersby. He attracts the gaze of his peers passing, wondering about who he is. If not for the embarrassing scandal ongoing in their neighbourhood, they wouldn’t have been going house hunting anytime soon. Now, he’s the new boy on the street again. He’s tired of changing the neighbourhood.
“Only if Mum could have someone to believe her!” The thought once again, gets him infuriated and he starts throwing the pebbles harder.
Recalling, how flustered he was when Mama Ebuka, their next-door neighbour came with her neighborhood’s friends to shout accusations at his mother for fornicating with her husband. All her efforts to explain to them that she did nothing with her husband were futile. She had received an anonymous invitation to a hotel and seeing that it was Papa Ebuka, she had rejected his advancement immediately but unfortunately, as the man rushed after her to the outside of the hotel, they were spotted by a friend of Mama Ebuka.
“I might sleep with men but not with neighbours.” She had defended herself.
Still, she was believed by no one as used condoms were found in Papa Ebuka’s pocket when he returned on the same day.
After a while, boredom strikes him again and he reclines on the house’s pillar beside him, watching the sun crawling laboriously towards the dark gathering cloud and eventually hiding behind it. He’s about to lose his patient when he heard her,
“Oko Mii (my dear), I’m sorry for keeping you waiting. I’ll be out soon.”
Then, she is out, followed by the middle-aged landlord who showed them to the boys’ quarter building, behind the house, having 3 rooms lining side by side. A big shared kitchen is located on one end of the building and a toilet and bathroom are at the other end. They are securing the two rooms next to the restrooms; one for each of them. The third room is already occupied by a bachelor. They are satisfied with the structure and environment, at least, no one would poke a nose into their lives. Umar watches the landlord trying to touch and hold his mother who avoids his approaches at all times. Even though he was just thirteen, he knew just what could be going on. Adeshewa tells her son that she has paid for the rent and they’ll move in as soon as possible. As of yesterday, he knows his mother hadn’t enough money to pay for rent. How she was able to get the money doesn’t bother him much. She always has her way around money anytime she needs it.
They start trekking to the junction to take a bike home. He walks closely with her but silently which makes her uncomfortable. She decides to break it.
“Eheheh!” She clapped, “Can you imagine that landlord asking me out? There’s nothing a single mother’s eyes will not see for this city o?”
“What was your reply?” He asks blankly, not looking at his mother.
“What do you expect?” Realizing what her son could be thinking, she stops and lowers herself to hold his arm, “You aren’t expecting me to get married again, are you?”
“It’s your choice. I’m not in the place to decide.” He shrugs.
“Better!” She releases him and they continue walking.
Ever since she explained her innocence to her son, they haven’t had much talk because she has always been out looking for another apartment. She feels the need to say more,
“I know you’re no more a kid and you can understand everything going on. I’ll prefer to stay single like this and give you the best in life than to allow any man to tie me down in a shackle of lies and lust again. Had I not run away with you from your father, only God knows how poor your education would have been. And my life would have been in total jeopardy… That’s a story for another day, my son. Also, take my last marriage as an example. If we were still there, I wouldn’t have been able to save enough money to send you to a standard private school. I’d still be serving that stupid man who called himself my husband and his daughter with everything I have. Men don’t look at single mothers decently anymore. They only see us as someone desperate and exploit us as much as possible. Although there are good men out there, I’ve never been so lucky to meet any. Every man I’ve met in my life has just been a dic… Bad language, I’m sorry. I just don’t want anyone to hinder me from giving you anything less in life… Now, speaking of your school, oko mi (my dear). Should I change your school to this area or will you be okay transporting yourself to and fro here?”
“I’m not changing schools. I can now take care of myself.”
“That’s my boy!” She draws him closer and rubs his head. A problem lingering on her mind just gets itself solved.

The drive home on a commercial motorcycle takes just about twenty minutes. Adeshewa sends her son to the nearby masjid to perform his solah; solatul Magrib and Isha as soon as they arrive home. Would she, herself, perform solah? It’d depend on if she isn’t tired after cooking. She does pray but only seldomly.
Umar returning from the masjid sights Ebuka, his best friend in the house and neighbourhood, tarrying beside the house. He smiles to himself as he walks towards him, knowing Ebuka has gotten himself into trouble again.
They shake hands and Ebuka says, “Oh Lord! I was thinking you guys have moved already.”
“I can see Mama Ebuka has thrown you out again. What did you do this time?”
“I was to hawk this evening when we returned from the church but coach called me this morning that our friendly match would take place this same evening. I had no choice but to…”
“Don’t worry, mama Ebuka would beg for your forgiveness once you become a C.Ronaldo.”
“Until then kwanu? I saw Nwanyoma (good woman) preparing something in the kitchen and I’ve told her to add mine.”
Throwing him out as a punishment is always with an empty stomach and Ebuka would always find resort with Umar and his mother. Ebuka is a sixteen-year-old boy who does admire the beauty, kindness and generosity of Adéshewà which makes him nickname her Nwanyoma, an Igbo language meaning good woman. Even though he’s older than Umar, he has always seen him as a companion and friend.
“Then let’s go inside and relax in my till she is done.”
“I don’t want to aggravate this issue of Papa Ebuka on the ground. Since that day before yesterday, papa Ebuka hasn’t come home to sleep so Mama Ebuka is currently transferring her aggression to everyone and she has warned not to see me anywhere near your room. I’ll be sleeping on the rooftop today, abeg. I just need to fill my belle first.”
Umar understands. He asks his friend to proceed to the rooftop while he goes for the food. He explains to his mother and asks her permission to keep Ebuka’s company on the rooftop. She also likes Ebuka as her child and always looks out for and protects him. She packs their food in a basket and supplies them with a mat and blankets,
“Nwanyomaaa,” he beams, “thank you, ehn. Thank you. Umar told me you’re packing from here soon.”
“Your mother has caused me enough trouble and we both know I need to run from her. Just focus on your studies and ambition and be a good boy, ok? You already know my number offhand so you can always get in touch with us.” She pats him on his back and leaves them.
“Chai! Nwanyomaaa…” He beams again, “I’m going to miss you guys o.”
“Ebuka, do you also believe her? That she’s having nothing with your father.”
“Of course, I do! If she is, the Nwanyoma I know would not deny it. Do you remember an incident that happened about a year back? When that woman came here to shout at her to leave her husband alone. She said to her in front of everyone watching, calmly and composed, ‘Hey woman, you don’t need to shout. I have no intention of marrying your husband because he doesn’t worth marrying. He’s too stingy and clingy and we both know his manhood is nothing to write home about. Tell me, how are you coping with that? So gross! I can’t sit with that as a wife.’ she spat on the floor and continued, “I’ve already stopped seeing him because he doesn’t even pay worthily. He’s the one being clingy so coming here to shout at me is impertinent. You should shout on your husband instead, to leave me alone!'” Ebuka rolls in laughter, “and you saw the woman’s embarrassed demeanour that day. She felt like entering the ground to cover her shame. Chai! Nwanyomaaa.”
Although Umar smiles because the incident as Ebuka narrated sounded funny, he feels ashamed as he remembers how it became the talk of the street for days.
“And, Umar. I seem to contribute to what happened. Papa Ebuka just kept disturbing me to give him your mother’s number. I had no choice but to give her last week when he told me that he and Mama Ebuka would be traveling to our village this week and he needed to be communicating with someone about my and Chioma’s welfare. It just turned out to be a lie. Chai! Papa Ebuka, I should have sensed the lie o. Should I tell your mum to ask her forgiveness?”
“You don’t need to. She’s already over it!”
They finish eating and wash their hands with water. Being the younger one, Umar packs the plates back into the basket and spreads the mat. They lie on the mat and cover themselves with the blanket.
“Had Nwanyoma been younger, I would just marry her and make you my son.”
Umar giggles, “That’d only be possible if you were damn rich because all my mother needs now more than anything is money to give me a good life.”
“She would have made a beautiful decent wife. That’s what I hope for her. I hope for her to live a decent life. Do you know I fought those kids, Folawe and Kolawole, today after training? I don’t like it when I hear anyone call my Nwanyoma a slut, harlot, prostitute, or whatsoever. That’s why I couldn’t stay with Mama Ebuka these days, she just keeps cursing her in my presence. She is even forgetting to curse her husband who is the real culprit.”
“Then what should I have done? She is the only one I have in this world. She is my everything. She is my mother!”

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Hey guys! As-salaamu’alykum… Please! Please! Please! Drop a comment, at least, na beg I dey beg…

About Post Author

Ummu Abdillah

Jayeoba Kafayat Modupeoluwa, mostly known as Ummu Abdillah is a Technologist in Electronics and Telecommunication engineering but presently only active as an Islamic writer - so do not bother to ask her about diodes and electromagnetic waves 🤗. Happily married and recently gifted a princess. She is a lover of teenagers and marriage and does make it her occupation to study them. Also, she's a knowledge seeker who loves to learn new things every second and teaches them as well to whoever cares to learn.
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