Oladele Olawale is my name. The second and last born child into the family of four; I, my parents- Mr. and Mrs. Oladele- and my dearest lone sister Tade, a senior with an age difference of three years.
There was much love in my family that we got along so well, and people do envy such love as ours. We once lived satisfied in a rented 3-bedrooms apartment at Abeokuta street of Ikotun town, Lagos Mainland, Nigeria. We had lived comfortably and happier not until the great turmoil hit the perfect quiet sea.
My mother, the best bet in the world, was so fond of me. Ęyin oju mi – this she calls me- she was never tired of seeing me around her. It gives her the greatest of joy. Yet, despite her greatest love for me, she had never spared the rod whenever I go wrong. You should know you were scolded for a reason. If you hadn done wrong, in no way then, you needed to be reprimanded , she would say.
There arise many occasions which affirm her wish for her children is a good life mixed with the greatest fear of God. One of those was an afternoon we walked to Ikotun market passing along the dam that runs between streets with ancient buildings; the ghetto. Walking by, our eyes never missed the sight of young and adult ruffians- some of my age and above- living young, wild, and free. The scene nearly made me faint. The whole place had nothing worthy and positive to write home about. Was it the non-hygienic and stench nature of the area? Or the nonchalance and recklessness of those living around? Teenagers and adults orgies, drinking and smoking their future away cheerily unknowing. Pitifully, the adults whose life ought to serve as a fine example, and unrivaled inspiration to the young ones were self-lost inside unprimed, undisciplined, and pleasured life. She then looked me straight in the eye, shaking her head. Straight up, I became even more dumb and speechless as a post.
” Purposefully, I made you walk this pathway to the market to see and experience the burgeoning mutation of a devil. Here is the start of a devil alike way of living. All these people you see have chosen to walk that broadway leaving the narrow way apart , bemoaned mother. Now, which life do I crave for my children? ”, she emphasized.
A good life mixed with the greatest fear of God , I recited along carefully as she brushed my head, smiling.
To attain this standpoint requires the grace of God. Yet, do you know that all these people you see had lost their place and grace in God due to a weak, rusty-dusty foundation laid by God knows who? In all honesty, this ones foundation had been destroyed hence, there is absolutely nothing they can do? she preached, ending her sermon.
Here is another occasion that made me strongly affirm that on no ground can anyone beat my mother to the Jesus, God, and Holy Spirit pantheon. This happened at the heart of the same Ikotun market where we had gone to get foodstuffs for that weekend. We had bought everything needed and were leaving for home then, abruptly, she stopped and whizzed loudly. Consequently, she makes those expressions when something vital has gone wrong.
We must go back about the distance of a stones throw. Need be that I see my very best of friends. The matter is seriously pivotal , she singled distressfully.
I was never happy with this decision because it was almost time for that days football match in the English Premier League between the team I support, Manchester United versus another English side, Norwich City f.c. A game I never imagined missing. Anyways, we had barely walked a stones throw, when she was clasped from behind. Not surprised, it was the same woman we intended to see. Laughter and joy filled the air as both women saw and embrace each other dearly.
Good afternoon ma , I greeted bowly.
” Afternoon, Dele. And how are you? replied Aunty Ore, smiling, shooking my shoulder gently. As if she knew I was never ready to answer the how are you? of a thing, she then faced her friend flat without hesitation. This boy of yours is ever-growing almost every day. What food does he eat? Which special treatment do you give him? I envy his height and physique. Looking right back at me, she shook my shoulder once more and said the word that thawed the liveliness and happiness from the spot, Hmm, kiniun, ọkọ si gbogbo awọn iyaafin! ”
As if my mother was expecting such a remark from her best friend, at this, she snapped back immediately before she could allow her speech to settle. All in one breath she concised her thoughtful thought and frank feelings.
” Ore! Thought you of all people should know that such a compliment on my son is proscribed; an epithet Ill most definitely refute. You know that much is expected of us to teach these young wards of ours the right thing, speak to them with the right speech in every way possible because their life would be shaped based on the reality of everything around them. She sighed. Countenance fell upon her thereon. Lowering her voice, she then corrected, Next time, kiniun, ọmọ Ọlọrun, ọkọ si Farao is preferable. ”
My mothers words and actions made her friend speechless but smiling. However, no amount of her smiles could conceal from anyone the hurt in those two penciled eyes of hers. Howbeit, she understood her friend anyway.
Both women were ex-school and classmates. They had attended Egba Girls High School in Abeokuta, Nigeria. According to my mother, her best friend had come to school in her town. She had an aunt in town with whom she had lived with. Aunty Ores nicknamed back in their school days, a boy-girl , basic