‘Where are you?’ I heard my mother say over the phone, as I turned to start walking towards the staircase. You won’t believe who was standing two steps below, it was her, MRS NWOKEDI. She climbed up the rest of the stairs, walked towards me and faced me directly. Jesus. Let today be judgement day biko, just sound the trumpet and let us meet you. What was I living for again? This woman was going to kill me today. My mother is the kind of woman that is collected, prim and proper in public, but mad at home.
Now imagine when you make a woman like that mad in public, she could strip you naked and beat you to a pulp. One time in secondary school, she threatened to beat me up and lace my wounds with pepper, just because I went out without her permission. So you can imagine her catching me with man in restaurant, crying for him and moving to hug him sef, no be even them say o, in her very before. Who knows for how long she had been standing there and looking at her daughter fool herself. As soon as I saw her, I just went on my knees, kept my bag on the floor and put my hands on my head. Omo, I didn’t care about Lade o. What is a Demilade? When my life was flashing directly in front of my eyes. If there was anyone I feared after God, it was my mother, even my father feared her. At home, we would joke and say ‘The fear of Mrs Nwokedi is the beginning of wisdom’. The woman was not even saying anything. She crossed her hands on her stomach and stared hard at me, ‘Look at the human being I call a daughter’ must have been ringing in her head. ‘Ifunaya, what are you doing here?’ she asked me. Please what was she expecting me to say? That I left UNILAG to look for man, saw another man that I knew, broke his relationship, then came here to console him? I just stared back at her, with real tears already welling up in my eyes. Lade and the restaurant staff were just watching both us, like we were acting out a script. ‘Ifunaya, Kedu ihe ị na-eme ebe a?’ she asked again. She didn’t even give me time to react to her question before she gave me a resounding slap. I screamed ‘Jesus’, then went to heaven and queued for judgement. No jokes.
As we were doing our own, Lade tried to leave, but my mama no let am. She pulled him back from the collar of his shirt and said ‘Where do you think you’re going? It’s people like you that will be lying to small small girls and spoiling them’. I wanted to laugh because my mother didn’t even know that I was the one spoiling Lade, not the other way round, but then I remembered that I was already in big trouble. Laughing was only going to worsen it, so I maintained my side. ‘Leave my shirt please’ Lade said and moved away from my mother. ‘So on top of all this, you don’t have home training too. Is that how you talk to your mother at home?’ My mother yelled. ‘My mother would never embarrass me in public’ Lade blurted and walked away. My mother turned back to me and said ‘You see your life? See the kind of person you’re following. Somebody that cannot respect your mother. These are the kind of people you associate with. Is that what we sent you to school to do? Ehnn?’. I just kept my head bowed down. I couldn’t bear to raise my head up because I was too embarrassed. My mother was here, embarrassing me, my family and our full generation in public. Even if I killed sef, couldn’t she have waited for us to get home before getting dramatic? Mscheww. How can my own mother come and be burning my cable? Only her just used her hand now to block my new source of income. Lade that I had already almost finished securing, she had used her gra gra to pursue him.
As I was there thinking about nonsense, she said what I dreaded hearing the most. ‘Wait till I tell your father about this nonsense’. O boy, at that point, I realised the gravity of my offence. My father is a calm person on a regular day, but if you get into his bad books, he could be worse than my mother. Now my mother, being his wife and having his mumu button, will convince him that I committed the worse crime on earth, then he would flip and skin me alive. I started begging this woman o, even if I knew she was still going to report me, the beg was for her to not add maggi and salt to the gist. This woman is the queen of exaggerations ehhnn, if you wore a cleavage popping top, she can say you didn’t wear bra and the top was covering only your nipples. Who knows now, she can call him and say she came to see me in my hostel and caught me straffing man on my bed. ‘Don’t beg me o. Don’t even beg me. You will explain to your father when we get home.’ She said. ‘Umu aka ehnn, always disgracing their families’ was the next thing I heard. It was then I noticed that my mother was not there alone. She had come with her friend, Mrs Ifeora, that one was always putting her nose in everybody’s business. They were good friends and had recently started a new business together, so they must have been there for a meeting or something. Why didn’t they pick another restaurant for their meeting sef? Or why didn’t Demilade pick another restaurant to throw his tantrums? See how I just majestically walked into trouble now. Mscheww. ‘Aunty it’s not like that o’ I replied Mrs Ifeora, in self defence. It was as if another wire disconnected in my mother’s head as I made that statement. ‘It’s like what ehnn? It’s like what?’ my mother said as she started pulling and twisting my ears simultaneously. I screamed in pain as she continued for almost three minutes, while muttering words I wasn’t even listening to. Then she stopped, straightened herself and walked back towards the staircase. When she got to the beginning of the staircase, she turned back and said to me ‘If you know what is good for you, you better not let me get to that car before you’ and she began descending the stairs. I stood up immediately and asked one of the restaurant staff ‘Do you people have lift here?’