“THE RIGHT PLUG”
As I was about to unwrap it, I found something else hidden beside his bag. As I picked up the photo, I saw my father with a boy who resembled him. I wiped my face to be sure of what I saw. The set of teeth and the smiling face were the same. I began to gaze at the picture while my mind was busy trying to recollect any mention of other child in our family. I lost interest in the gift but kept it by my side as I sat on the bed.
I kept looking at the picture to be sure whether it was real or not. When I heard the footsteps of my father, I quickly hid the photo and feigned a smile to appreciate the smartphone he bought for me.
“Do you like it, Rebecca?” He asked me with a broad smile.
“Of course! You are the best dad in the world. Thank you so much.” I managed to say as I hid the photo under the wrapper.
I went to show it to my mother who was already on the phone with her mother. My grandmother loved to check on us which has really foster the relationship between my parents and me in particular. She hardly visited us without buying my favourite “Adun”, a savoury snack of Yoruba origin which is a mixture of grounded roasted maize and palm oil. I loved it and would be looking forward to her next visit to bring more. Her storytelling style was something I looked forward to whenever she visited and has helped my moral life greatly.
Whenever she spoke on the phone in our local dialect, I knew she was speaking with grandma. Without taking permission, I collected the phone from her to greet grandma. The strong voice of yesteryears was beginning to wane as I tried to cheer her up. She prayed for me and promised to see me before going to the great beyond. I quickly rejected her confession.
“Mama, won’t you attend my wedding ceremony? Don’t you want to see your great grandchildren?” I protested calmly.
My mother looked at me as if I was speaking Greek. She has already told me to wait until I finish my University course before thinking about marriage. I waited patiently to hear Grandma’s response,
“Omoladun mi, don’t worry. God will preserve me until then. I have seen many troubles in life. I want to go and rest” I was almost in tears when she talked about death. I remembered how Mama Bolanle used to preach about life after death. I knew I wasn’t prepared for it. I wanted to enjoy life but her preaching about hell fire where sinners would be forever was beyond what I could comprehend. Fear gripped my heart because grandma attended church and always participated in the festival of a local deity. According to Mama Bolanle’s Bible, grandma will not go to heaven unless she accepted Jesus Christ as her only Lord and Saviour.
She was the only one who called me Omoladun and I cherished it. I passed the phone to my mother who was already getting impatient in order not to use all the credit. It was as if I should take a bus to grandma’s town to inquire about the photo I saw and tell her about Mama Bolanle’s description of heaven but I changed my mind. I shed few tears in my room as many questions on my mind begged for answers.
“Who is this boy?”
“Are my parents hiding vital information from me?”
“Does my father have another wife?”
“Is my mother real or not?”..
“Are they my parents?”
The more I tried to answer the questions, the more I got tensed and cried. I looked at my new phone and got an idea. I wiped my tears, dressed up and went together with my mother to the market. On our way back, I bought a sim card from Okafor, one of the popular sellers in our area. My mother noticed my cold attitude but I lied that all was alright. One part of me wanted to ask her about my finding but the other part never agreed.
Later in the evening, my father received a call that changed the atmosphere of our home. He demanded the caller to prove his assertion otherwise, he would take the allegation up. I sat at the dinning table reading a novel while listening to the conversation. I could count the number of holes in the singlet he wore and that has been the bone of contention between my parents. In the area of fashion and dressing sense, my father would score below average. I thought he inherited that awkward lifestyle from one of the characters I was reading in the novel. Mr Robin owned an estate and blessed with beautiful family but took interest in buying secondhand clothes and materials all in the name of spending wisely. .
“Honey! Honey!!” he called my mother.
My mother didn’t allow him to talk before revealing who the caller was.
. “I knew it! Chief Kolawole is a criminal”
“Will you keep quiet? I said, keep quiet!” he roared as if he was talking to a servant.
I stood up immediately when I sensed confusion. In an attempt to explain herself, he silenced her again.
“So, this is what you have been doing in my absence? I can’t believe it. Shameless woman!”
She didn’t respond as she kept on sobbing. I waited to be sure of the crux of the allegation.
“Chief Kolawole? So, my beautiful wife wanted to seduce him? Did I say I will not pay back the loan? Answer me!” he said angrily.
“Dad!” I cried out. I didn’t know where I got the courage to speak.
Both of them looked in my direction.
“Chief Kolawole is a homewrecker and liar” I said with all authority.
“How? What do you mean?” he asked me.
“At least, you should have believed your wife and allowed her to defend herself?”
My father was losing balance when he saw my boldness but I wasn’t even sure whether I was the one talking. Something kept pushing me to talk and defend my mother.
“Dad, I hid behind that door early this morning when he was trying to woo my mother. I felt like killing him. How on earth will a supposed chief and a law abiding leader of this town be asking my mother, my own mother to meet him in the hotel to cancel the loan. Why?”
My father quietly sat at the edge of the settee looking like a defeated wrestler. I couldn’t believe my father would surrender in front of his once timid daughter. I held my mother and wiped her tears. It seemed some of her fears vanished immediately I defended her.
“Thank you so much, Rebecca” my mother said as she held me close to her.
“No, I don’t believe you.” he said as he sprang up and went inside the room.
My mother and I held each other when he rushed inside. My mother was about to say something when we heard his loud cry in the room. We ran inside and saw…
“THE RIGHT PLUG”
My mother and I held each other when he rushed inside. My mother was about to say something when we heard his loud cry in the room. We ran inside and saw him searching his bag. I was scared when he started murmuring and scattering his clothes on the bed.
“Dear, what are you looking for?”
My father didn’t answer but kept searching the room for something. We stood at the entrance to allow him move around. I looked up and saw the big frame of their photo hanging there. The thought of getting married didn’t interest me again when I noticed the off and on balance in their marriage. I cannot compromise my peace of mind for anything.
My view about marriage was only bliss but I discovered from some families in our town how they patched up and hid some painful experiences as revealed by their children whenever we gathered to play on the playground around the central mosque in our town. One of the Pastors’ children told us he never cared for them but preferred to cater for some church members.
The way my mother murmured around the house sometimes revealed her secret fears and pains.
“What are you searching for?” She asked him again.
My father stood still in order to respond but held back. The whole place was littered with his clothes, shoes, files and a pack of condom.
“What! What’s this?” She picked it up to show him what she has found.
I hid behind the door because I had just been shown how it looked like by my friends. I had always resisted their pressure to give in to Bayo, one of the prefects in our school. He liked me so much and professed his love for me. We exchanged some love letters and really charged me up. When I informed Thonia, my close friend, she encouraged me to give in and taste the true meaning of love.
I remembered one night behind the school hall where he promised to give me a valentine gift. I liked receiving gifts and that was one of my weaknesses but Bayo had another gift for me. The way he held me looked like the way those actors behaved in the pornography films we enjoyed watching in our hostel. I had temporarily lost my sense of reasoning when I suddenly pushed him aside. Like a flash, my grandmother’s warning against immorality came to remembrance.
“Any girl who engages in pre-marital sex will lose her dignity and her moral fence will beginning to crack. It destroys! Flee immorality!”
The warning, “Flee immorality!” kept tormenting me as I struggled with Bayo. He almost overpowered me but I escaped. The incident happened some months to our final exams. When I informed Thonia, she told me I had missed the opportunity of being deflowered by a handsome guy. There was a strange belief among us then that being deflowered early by a handsome guy would make us more attractive and to enjoy our marriages later in life.
“Honey, what is it doing in your bag?” she flared up dangling it before him.
My father lost his balance again and couldn’t reply on time.
“Em… You mean this? Em… It was a mistake?”
My mother demanded for an answer as she moved closer to him.
“Mama Rebecca, don’t give in to the devil. Let’s settle this matter amicably” he said calmly with a tint of fear.
“Who’s the devil? Where’s the devil? What has the devil done? Answer me!” my mother was ready to tear him apart.
I hid myself behind the door and praying to an unknown God to intervene. We have had enough troubles that day and wished it was a dream.
“Ha! You pushed me?” My father’s loud voice brought me back into reality.
“Yes, I pushed you, adulterer! You have finally crossed the boundary today!” She was cursing him with unprintable names.
“Is she not the woman who couldn’t raise her voice against my father that is spewing out fire now?” I thought within myself.
Then I heard someone knocking on the door. I perceived it might be our neighbour. Mrs Teniola should be crowned the “Mother of gossip”. She once told us that Mrs Lewis was sleeping around with men only for her to be slapped by her to produce the evidence. She was disgraced and I lost my respect for her. True to my guess, she was the one at the door.
“Oh Rebecca, is everything OK? I heard someone shouting here. I heard thieves are active in this area nowadays.” I knew her tactic was to find out the truth. How would I expose my parents to a talebearer like her?
“Mrs Teniola, may be it is from the other neighbours. You know our family is always peaceful. Thank you for your concern.” I replied her to shut her mouth.
Then my father raised his voice again, “Who are you? I will show you my true colour today, useless woman!”
When she heard that she wanted to prove her intuition was right but I quickly jumped at the situation with another version,
“Yes Dad! It is Mrs Teniola here not the trouble maker” I pretended as if I was replying my father.
Then, I turned to her, “Ma, are you a useless woman?”
“No!” She responded.
“OK. Bye Ma! I dismissed her quickly.
There was perfect silence as I locked the door. I went toward the bedroom and heard my father begging her and pleading with her. A thought came to mind whether I should enter the room or not. After a while, I summoned courage to confront them like I did before.
When I entered the room, I saw my mother unconscious on the floor.
“Dad, what happened to mum?” As I shook her to wake her up, my father fled.
“Dad! Dad!! What have you done?” I screamed.
I didn’t know what to do or who to call. I was helpless and confused and ran to my room to pick my phone. As I began to dial…
Published By: Ifeoluwa ORISAKAHUNSI