Ko! Ko!! Ko!!!
Brought back to earth by the knock on my toilet door, I inquired tersely, “Taani?!” Who is that?!
Even though I knew who it was, I didn’t want to believe it was her. I mean, I recently barred her from entering my room, my sanctuary, unless it was important. I know, I’m a brat, but she has this habit of coming to check on me at odd hours during the night. Probably to take funny pictures of my splayed legs or fetal positions while sleeping or to adjust one of her many confiscated wrappers around me.
I must admit it’s cute but also creepy AF. For heaven’s sake, I’m an adult. But mba o! To her, I’m still that child she popped out years ago. Urgh!
“Come on, will you do and come out here?!” she called from outside the toilet door.
People of KD, shey you can see what I’m saw?
Anyway, I finished my business and came out. Still wrapped in my towel, I sat on the chair in the corner. She, my mother, was staring out the window. I’d never seen the look she was wearing before. Nope – never. I know what every one of her looks mean. I learned almost all my facial expressions from her. And since this particular one was new, I had the feeling whatever made her dishonor our agreement was pretty darn important.
So I waited for her to talk. And during the wait, I began replying messages from my crush (Hello Crush). However, what came out of her mouth had my jaw hinges slacken and ended abruptly my preoccupation with my phone.
“When am I meeting your boyfriend?”
I looked up from my phone. Looked left, looked right. “Mother, are you talking to me?”
“No oh. I’m addressing my twin sister.”
Gbagam! I’ve entered it.
“Boyfriend kwa? Where’s this coming from?”
“What sort of question is that?! Did I raise a dunce nitori Olorun?”
“There’s no boyfriend anywhere,” I said with the beginnings of a scowl.
“Young man, will you rearrange that face before I sound you? And what do you mean by ‘there’s no boyfriend anywhere’? What happened to that one that was making you laugh on the phone like some child high on breast milk that time for almost two hours?”
“Wait, you were timing us?”
“Ehen na! You forgot that the horrible meal you were cooking got burnt during the call? Thank God for small mercies.”
Say what?! “My meals aren’t horrible. Besides what has that got to do with having no boyfriend or anything?”
“The truth is hard to swallow. Well what happened to him? The phone guy.”
“Life.” I returned to typing away on my phone.
“Life? How is that an answer?” When I didn’t respond in time, she added, “Shey you know I’m here, in this room?”
“Lord knows the mother that raised me understands the English language.”
“Ha! Ori awon ale baba e o pe!” Your father’s numerous concubines’ head isn’t correct.
The laughter that consumed me deserved an award as I ended up on the floor reeling. She walked out before I could calm myself. Still laughing, I quickly changed into my sweats and went after her. I checked her room, she wasn’t there. Then the living room, she wasn’t there either. I poked my head into the kitchen, and there she was. Apparently whatever she was cooking was burning. Another round of laughter broke out from my insides.
“That’s what you get for asking me the boyfriend question,” I said as I entered the kitchen.
My mother didn’t reply me. She did something much worse. She scooped up water with a plastic bowl and threw it my direction. I didn’t have time to put my dodging skills to good use before the swath of water hit me square in the face. It was her turn to laugh. Moments later, she threw me a towel and I wiped my face dry.
Still bustling about with her cooking, she said, “Look, I’m still trying to understand that you’re not sexually attracted to the opposite sex. And I admit, I don’t know how you guys do your thing but I want to see you with someone. And be happy. And you can’t tell me there isn’t someone in the picture.”
Sighing, I said, “But that’s it, there isn’t anyone.”
“Why? Are you happy being alone?”
I chuckled. “That’s a weird question, iya. You know that. But my alone feels so good, I’ll only have anyone who is sweeter than my solitude. And so far, I’ve not met him.”
“Hmm. There’s something you’re not telling me. I know you. Tell me, what is it?”
“There’s nothing –”
“Don’t! Don’t lie to me. I know all about being alone and I know what it does and I know it’s not some decision you make just like that.” She snapped her fingers. “Something is keeping you away from people and you’ll tell me what it is, one way or another.”
A woman with a mission. Amanda Waller had nothing on her.
By now, we’d left the kitchen and were in the dining room; I was standing against a wall and she was pouring herself a glass of water. I knew I had to say something and most probably the truth. But I’d only told three people one of the reasons I’ve been holding back. One of them had laughed at me and called me a chicken, said I was too delicate (for lack of a better word), too much so to do anything. I felt it was the most insensitive thing to say, seeing as I was confiding in him, but hey, that was his “opinion”. The remaining two people were somewhat unhappy at what had happened. I simply laughed and told them it was a thing of the past.
And no! I’m not damaged or insecure. I have grown. I simply love my alone.
Anyway, back to this mother-son conversation.
“Remember my ex? The one you met months ago?” I said quietly.
“Yes. Aliu, the one I was drooling over.”
She did drool. Gawd, it was embarrassing.
“Yes, that one…” I paused. “When we were together, he beat me. Not once or twice. I have a scar on my left wrist from the cut I had.”
I know, I should have – how do people who aren’t/weren’t in my shoes and in movies say it? – left him when it happened the first time. True, maybe I should have. But when you love someone and have been with this person for two years, you’ll know the willpower to leave fluctuates like PHCN. It’s like filled slots to pen for this blog, but never coming through after a few tries. It’s always pathetic. Sigh.
I did leave but it wasn’t my choice. It was made for me, which was a good thing. And when I told my mother everything else that made me withdraw, become a recluse, the wrong things I did too like betraying a friend’s trust, my fears, all she could say was, “Wow.”
My head was down. It had taken every fibre in me to tell her. Let’s face it, I was embarrassed and ashamed. “So, that’s it. That’s why I enjoy my alone.”
She gave a small chuckle. “You have forgotten who you are. And you’re more than who you were, what you’ve become. You must take your place in the circle of –”
My head snapped up. “Oh no!” I cut in. “Tell me you are seriously not quoting Mufasa’s pep talk with Simba right now. Shey you can’t be original, you this woman?!”
“What? You quote Timon all the time. Why should I be the exception?”
We stared at each other for some seconds before bursting into laughter.
“Look, I’ll tell you what, hmm? Groom yourself in this your ‘alone period’, because when you’re ready to leave the box, when you win, it’s because you’re already skilled to move on. And when you meet someone and lose to him by falling in love, it’s because he is lucky and skilled to see you for you.”
“Hmm. And who are you quoting this time?” My eyes narrowed suspiciously at her.
“That’s all me, baby. All me!”
Written by Vhar