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 , basically for the fact that she plays rough as boys do. Aunty Ore or Mummy Olanshile is a tall brown-skinned woman who hails from a town in Akure, Ondo. Some years back, my mother had helped her to come live in Lagos. She had helped secure her apartment and market stall too. The two women were, indeed, the best of friends in every way.

Ever since those scenes forward, Ive always looked back on my mothers words: a good life mixed with the greatest fear of God, and the question chipped from Psalm11vs 3- when things fall apart, what can the righteous do? Both have helped me build almost everything; friendship, a proper attitude towards life, and that resilience that made me stand out educationally and publically.

Both my parents hail from Abeokuta. Meanwhile, unlike an indignant mother who was ever quick to react whenever ugly situations loom, my father was a gentle dove with enough continent. Both were God-fearing fellows and each was conferred with a church title. They both command respect among the church elders and congregations. While he was elected as the church secretary, she, on the other hand, was dutifully the vice president for the churchs Good Women Congress.

My father was self-employed. A dexterous worker who does furniture works; An artisan purely of his class! He had lots and lots of compilations of his works in an album which he boastfully show a client of his. And there is a saying of his, one he was so fond of- Pẹlu Iṣeduro – in English, it simply translate- With Insurance. This saying, I guess, will forever be in every one of his associates minds, both at home and abroad.

I took after my fathers physique but I am everything else of my mother. Tade looks exactly everything like our father but she shared our mothers physique; just an average height. We both shared our parents. Both women loved it when either man walk beside them. Gayly, they felt secure in the presence of both hefty rugged bodyguards.

Tade is brilliant and a nice-to-be-with type of person. Owing to her irresistible mouth-watery delicacy, she had been the familys irreplaceable cook ever since our mother relinquish the role. She was an undergraduate at Lagos State University. Right after her schooling hours, she was used to helping our mother in her provisional stores, one not too far from home. I could remember Tades secondary school days. She had graduated a couple of years back from the same school as me. I do reminiscent of how she had won herself the schools most prolific and favorite best accounting student, and of how she had also won the school major awards and prizes in inter-school accounting competitions. My sister and I are the best of every sibling. She is my confidante too after Olatunji Micheal who is my overall best friend. I trust her so much with secret matters.

Olatunji Michael, my best of friends, or O.M as I fondly call him is an age mate, ex-classmate, and schoolmate. A friend that has become a brother over time. We both grew up together in the same community, and also attended the same school, Auntie Yemi School and its Academy. It was ascertained that we were giving birth on the same day but at different times; I was born a few minutes after him. People do refer to us as twins of the day or twins from different mothers. Perhaps, it was because of the factor which affects and surrounds our birth. Moreso, perhaps the way we both do things in common. Although, he doesn like playing football as I do but when its time for a video game my twin is one of the best. There arises an occasion he contended with Deji, the mountain goat, in a video game challenge of which the latter lost woefully.

Deji Popoola was also a boy of our age and ex-school and classmate but I strongly detest him. Almost everyone doesn like him. He was a boastful and pompous type; someone I wouldn tolerate, not even his dire pomposity. We never agree on anything. We were foes in all school activities. As brilliant as he was, he never for once beat me to post both in school and class nominations. I was, fortunately enough, voted the class captain and school sports prefect over him. This is also saddening a loss to bear that he was never called upon to represent the school in any competitions which ensue due to his mothers presumptuous attitude, and amiss behavior. Whenever he got scolded, she would shield and fight in his stead against any teacher or anyone as may be the case. Her malignant behavior and a rude sense of approach affected him cynically.

In all ways, I do thank God for my parents in my early years, most especially my mother who took extra time and that motherly responsibility to train her wards in the right and proper path possible. She is indeed an epithet of life, grace, and positiveness.

But hitherto, I had never in any way thought of hurting or exposing anyone in my household to danger, not until that ill-fated day, July 15, 2017, for I am forever deeply sorry for. And in fact, if anyone had made mention of or joked about me hurting the family I loved so dearly and have grown fond of, I probably would have laughed it out loud into the wide thin air. Sometimes, I ask myself if I may get down-to-earth forgiveness for such a folly blinded by love. But could it be love, folly, or both? If its love then, love is truly blind and foolish, and stupid, and… Nonetheless, should I have folly allowed the love for my first ever endless love to suck and sour deep?

– Indeed, no one knows tomorrow, not even tomorrow could tell what it is sure to hold. So, how possibly then could anyone get his or herself prepared for whats coming?

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