Previously on NOT JUST A STORY…
“Are you now sleeping with men?” Mother had asked.
The words startled me as a wave of guilt crashed about inside me.
I stared at her, not knowing what to say. I opened and shut my mouth repeatedly like a fish out of water.
Then her face split and she was chuckling. “Come now, don’t freak out.” She was shaking her head as she laughed. “I was only asking because I got an email from your friend, Pelumi. So I just wanted to confirm if you are now seeing guys and you couldn’t even tell me.”
I opened my mouth to protest that, even though I knew not what to say.
But she waved a hand at me as she went on. “Don’t worry I’m not hurt. It’s just that I will no longer buy that cook book you asked for. Nwa ara!” And now, she was really laughing.
I felt the pull of her mirth. It was tempting to join her in her hilarity. But she’d said something that alarmed me.
“Pelumi sent you an email?” I queried. “What email? Can I read it please?”
“Ah-ah-ahn,” she tsk-tsked, raising her phone above her head and out of my reach. She was still laughing when I advanced on her; I’d grown taller than her, so it was easy to tackle the phone from her.
Then I unlocked it and went to check her emails.
“When you are done reading it,” Mother said as she exited the kitchen, “come and follow me let’s go and buy gas. You are driving.” That was her code for “We need to talk”.
I found Pelumi’s mail and read through it. As I read, I felt a mix of anger, shame, heartache and disgust course through me. I could not believe how low Pelumi had sunk.
Ma, I’m Pelumi, your son’s friend. I just want to tell you what your son has been up to recently. It’s a thing of concern and shame.
Ma, your son is a flaming homosexual. He has become an uncouth prostitute, always parading with old men and having sex for money. As his best friend, I have a lot of knowledge about his whereabouts. I know things that you don’t even know, ma.
He contracted STD early this year and got one of his sugar daddies to pay for his treatment. He had sex with his Chemistry teacher so he could pass the subject.
He even came for me, but I’m a righteous Muslim. I rebuked him.
I tried to show him the good road but he stopped being friends with me. He always complains about his bleeding anus. I’m scared he will be used for ritual by those ungodly old men your son follows up and down. If he dies untimely, just know that as his friend, I tried my best to correct his ways.
Ma, I want you to punish him very well. Seize his phone and ground him for a long time. I hope he learns from his mistakes.
Thank you, ma.
That was his mail.
“Baby!” Mother called from the car.
I moved to join her, while trying to think of ways to defend myself against these blatant lies. But I couldn’t form any coherent thought. My rage at Pelumi overshadowed my clear thinking.
Mother and I soon set off to get gas. For some minutes, I drove and the car was absolutely silent. No one spoke. Then I began gearing myself to say something.
Before I could get a word out, Mother, as though she had seen me decide to break the silence, cut me off. “Don’t bother,” she said suddenly. “I know those were all lies.”
Stunned, I shot her a quick look. She looked entirely relaxed on the passenger seat beside me.
“I’m confused…” I stuttered. “Are you not supposed to be angry?”
“Maybe… But I’m not.”
“Well, for one, I’m not stupid. Two, I trust the way I brought up my children. Three, I know you very well – you that is afraid of common cockroach, it is men you now want to follow up and down. And four, you failed Chemistry.”
Exactly! I found myself thinking. How could I have sex with my Chemistry teacher to pass the subject and still end up failing it. Oh Pelumi, you miserable sonofabitch!
“But what I don’t understand,” Mother was still talking, “is the reason behind this his idiotic yet sinister plot. Nna, tell me, what did you do to him?”
And so, I began narrating everything that had led to up to this fuckery. It was an uncomfortable story, but I was talking to my mum. She holds no judgment. She listened to the end, and understood. She was upset though, upset that I’d been keeping things from her. But she was pleased I opened up to her.
She reached for my hand on the steering and rubbed it. “I forgive you,” she said.
“You forgive me?” I asked in confusion.
“Yes, I forgive you for being such an ishi okporoko.” She slapped a hand at my head, and we laughed.
When she sobered up, she said, “My son, please always be careful. Remember what I told you when you come out to me. Not everyone will love you like I do. As for this Pelumi boy, I’m glad you’ve cut off from him. Continue to do so. Cease all contact with him. I will call his parents and have them deal with him. No one attempts to hurt my child and gets away with it.:
I felt a rush of love and appreciation course through me, which rapidly turned to mortification when she added cheekily, “But wait first o, nna, with the way you are clearly growing, I think I’ll have to step in and find you a good guy that’ll treat you right.”
Written by Bain