It was a sunny day when we left for Ekiti. I had told Ola I was going with Mum for a wedding in our hometown. He had murmured something about taking Yvonne to my sister's place before I left. Lara, my only sister lived on the other side of Lagos. I hate dropping my daughter with her because she picks up bad manners every weekend she spends with her. I am three years older than Lara and we have nothing in common. Dad used to call her the prodigal daughter. She dropped out of school after three years and even when Dad set up a business for her, she said it was too much work. Lara however was Mum’s favorite……..the one she pampers and doted on. I had no choice but to drop Yvonne with Lara, it was a better option than being involved in one of the many Lagos housegirl/nanny horror tales
“Yeeee........” I screamed.
Mum looked back from her bike and shouted at me...
“What is it Temi?”
“Mum, these potholes are breaking my waist and this bike man is not driving carefully at all.”
Mum did her legendary "hmmnnnnmm” and told me “sorry”.
We were on our way to “Baba's” place. I had left my car at the junction after paying a boy Five hundred Naira to watch it, I thought it was outrageous but Mum said it was cheap. Mum said we had to take a bike from there because the road was not motorable. I hate bikes……….a lot so Mum thought my complains were because of my pronounced hatred for bikes and not because I was feeling uncomfortable.
Mum always thought I was the spoilt one. She blamed Dad for pampering me so much.....she blamed me every time something went wrong, always saying I messed it up with my "spoilt" life. Mum had strongly kicked against it when Dad was about sending me abroad to study, saying it would make me more "big headed" but Dad had sent me anyway and when I came back Mum had sworn I wouldn’t get a husband………………not with my uncultured way of life. When I brought Ola home, she was surprised and immediately told Ola how I’ll soon be bossing him around but he had stayed anyway and we had lived happily.......until now.
"Are we not there yet?” I shouted again.
Mum didn’t even answer me this time. She just pointed at the big tree in the distance.
"Mum!! Are we going to meet a tree?”
"Shut up Temi. You don’t talk much around here"
"But Mum, you said we were coming to meet “Baba”"
I’m sure Mum would have slapped me then if she had been close enough. She gave me her "shut the hell up" look and faced away.
The bike men stopped and I was partially grateful because my legs were killing me already. I jumped down from the bike before protesting that we were not at the tree yet. Mum paid the bike men while explaining that we had to trek the rest of the "sacred land".
I was too tired and angry to argue, I just hoped the visit would be worth it and followed Mum as she made her way down the narrow path. I had to swat flies away with my bag a thousand times. The smell was horrible.........it was like lots of animals or humans died and decayed thereby giving the flies a merry gathering.
“Mum, Mum......why did you bring me to this kind of place?”
“Is it not for your own good?” Mum asked with unmasked disdain.
I swallowed hard and put my hands on my ears; even that did little to reduce the noise of the flies.
We finally got to the foot of the tree and Mum started a dramatic dance. Before I could decide if she was alright or not she started singing....
"o ye gods of the earth, o ye princes of the trees, I hail thee....."
I stood watching her, my jaw open and my eyes popping out
****Tomorrow is my birthday!! Please don't forget to forward all gifts, cakes and cards. Thank you. Shoutout to Chinny, Honeydame, Che, Sisi Yemmie, 9ja great, PET project and all October babies. We ROCK!