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I hadn’t been any madder in my entire life!
As the door opened and the first thing my eyes greeted was my frail, almost inert mother lying helplessly on the hospital bed, my heart dropped to the bottom!
My jaws got tighter as they shook uncontrollably!
Even my hefty arms were so weak; they had to be interlocked so they wouldn’t fall of the ball sockets!
Even my breath had become really hot!
And I was panting like a thirsty deer!
I was that useless!
I was that mad!
I was that frustrated!
As I walked closer to the bed, the IGP looked into my eyes closely and signaled that I calm down.
I could only look away as tears welled up in my tears.
What had I really done wrong that I was in the cell for a whole week without food?
What was my mother’s crime that she lay helplessly and lifelessly in bed like this?
I shook the more as the questions ran through my mind.
“Mr. Pelumi, calm down please” The IGP said and as the tears escaped my eyes, I fell down beside my mother’s bed and cried
“My only crime was love mother…it was love!” I cried bitterly as I repeated those words.
I was so ashamed to look at my mother at all!
I couldn’t bear to hear her tell me that she warned me!
I couldn’t bear to hear my mother say our end and destruction had come through the hands of a woman she never for once accepted but who I had loved so madly!
I couldn’t believe myself that I had married a Delilah and even before my own eyes, in my stupid sleep of love, she had cut of my seven locks of hair!
I couldn’t believe!
Had I known!
Had I known that this would be the case, I would have remained single for life!
Had I known seriously!
Had I known!
I broke down to tears the more until I had some sniffing from the IGP himself.
I turned to look at him and oh my!
His eyes were hell-red!
“Sir?” I could only ask when he raised his right hand at me, moved to a side of the hospital to sit down, bent his head, looked up at me again, smiled and blinked hard
“I don’t want to disturb you.” He said and I nodded too as I knelt straight, buried my head in my mum’s tummy and wished I could enter back into the comfort of her womb and be birthed again!
The door opened and the doctor entered the ward. The IGP stood but I remained on my knees.
“Good evening doctor” he greeted and they shook hands as they walked towards the bed.
“Doctor!” I suddenly exclaimed, my hands outstretched towards him as if to say my mother’s life depended solely on him.
“This is her son?” the doctor asked and I nodded as if the question was meant for me.
“Yes. He is the son.” The IGP said, being too formal for my liking
“Well, she was brought here last week by the IGP after she had stressed most of her internal organs.” The doctor started and I couldn’t but watch on with rapt attention.
“I had made a call through to her hospital in Lagos and was informed that she is a hypertensive and diabetic patient. She had been treating this for many years now. Are you aware of that?” he asked and I shook my head vehemently.
I had never heard that before in my entire life!
My mum had always looked hale and hearty and that she had been having major ailments like these without my knowledge was just so unthinkable!
“Another thing she had been battling with is arthritis of the two knees and you can imagine what happened immediately she fell that fateful day” the doctor continued and I could only imagine
“What?” I stammered, my eyes widened in shock
“She had a major hip dislocation which she defied as she crawled across about three streets in shock, heightened pressure on the heart, many bruises and cuts on the knees and other parts of the leg….” He explained on and I only looked from one hand of his to the other as he gesticulated, trying to envisage what happened that day.
How my wonderful abiyamo mother had struggled to run after me and even when her sick, frail limbs couldn’t bear it anymore, she took to being a child again!
Oh how people would have passed by my mother on the street!
Oh how they would have thought that the best mother in the world had gone insane!
“The wounds she sustained are still being treated but her diabetic condition isn’t making matters any easier.” He explained
“Ah!” I exclaimed, placing my hands on my head, tears rolling down in quick succession
“Her chances are very slim as she is in serious pains yet, we can’t perform any surgical operation on her because of the nature of her health” he said, hopelessly
I wish the doctor could speak more hopefully!
I wish he could make me see light at the end of the tunnel!
Maybe things would be easier then!
“So, you mean we should just watch my mummy waste away?” I asked and the doctor could only shake his head. Tears flowed down my eyes the more
“In fact, she had gasped for breath today and I thought that would be all. She is a strong woman. We just resuscitated her. See the machine beside you” he explained further but I wasn’t in for any story at the point I had found myself
“You mean, she will die?” I asked again and he shook his head regrettably
“But for a miracle!” he said, his face down. I watched as he left the ward and closed the door behind him
“A miracle!” I faced the IGP as I acted madly!
He could only shake his head too, tears gathering in his eyes.
“Mummy!” I called out to my mum again, holding her shoulders in my strong hands
Her face was as hard as stone!
“Oh I wish you could just smile! Mum, just give me a precious smile! This face looks like death. Just a smile would make me relieved that there is hope again. Mummy, just smile for me. Please!” I cried out and waited, looking deeply into her face.
There was no response!
I looked at the IGP and shook my head
“Mummy doesn’t want to smile” I lamented when suddenly, the IGP smiled and pointed towards my back
“She’s smiling” he exclaimed and I suddenly looked back at the bed.
I saw it….
The most beautiful thing I had ever seen in my mother- her smile!
Even in difficult times, that smile!
In good times, that smile!
I saw it and I went close to my mother, hugged her so deeply and wept against her chest
“Who could call this poor child a criminal?” she asked slowly and my heart melted so warmly
My mother is alive!
“Mum, you scared me!” I cried and the IGP also came close, smiling happily.
“Carry me in your arms” she said and I looked shocked
“Ma?” I asked to be sure
“Carry me, please” she said again and I stood up suddenly
“God forbid mummy. I will not carry you!” I said, my heart racing as if being pursued
The IGP looked into my face
“Obey her” he said and I shook my head vehemently
“No I can’t! In Yorubaland, once a sick elder starts making such requests, there is fire on the mountain be that. I can’t risk it!” I exclaimed so everyone gets it straight down!
My mother smiled again
“Would you just leave your fears and carry me?” she asked slowly and calmly again and I just looked into her face, fearfully
“You aren’t going to die?” I asked and she smiled
“Naughty boy!” she said playfully, hitting me slightly with her frail, scaly hand.
Then, I bent over her slightly and carried her in my arms
“My legs please” she said as the casted limbs hung down.
I quickly made adjust and sat down with my mother in my hands.
The IGP also came around, sat beside us and looked at her face as well.
“Oluwapelumi” She called out
“What was your crime?” she asked, calmly and I shook my head
“It was love. My only crime was love” I replied and she looked into my face
I saw her eyes!
They had become white and faint.
“But is love a sin?” she faced the IGP who shook his head and swallowed
“No it’s not. God is love!” he said and she nodded
“So, why did you arrest him? Why did you lock up my only child for the crime of love? Why?” she asked and the ward became silent.
“As I stay in his arms, he stinks! Even the smell overcomes the pain in my bones and marrows right now. He was in the cell for how many months…Just for love?” tears rolled down her face as she spoke.
There was a sharp piercing at my heart as she spoke!
That motherly love!
I had even forgotten that I would be stinking horribly then.
It had skipped my mind that I had not had my bath for many days, I had not shaved at all, I had not changed my underwear- sure the white underwear would have become black!
The mucus and tears and sweat and dirts from the touches of the inmates…
Also, after defecating on the floor or urinating, there was no tissue to clean up and all the dirts were definitely gonna be stuck to my cloth!
I had forgotten!
Yet, she asked me to carry her!
She didn’t ask for me to drop her immediately she could perceive the smell.
She still smiled at me!
Oh my mother!
Nothing else could be as emotional as that for me at that point but I could only cry!
I cried so much that it was until I heard a frail voice that I decided to listen!
“It isn’t me that needs a salty, warm bath, boy! You are the one!” she said, playfully again and I opened my eyes and saw that helplessly, she had watched as my tears fell on to her face.
“I am sorry mum” I said, smiling a bit.
I was relieved that at least, she was alive!
She could still crack some jokes!
“Oluwapelumi, I hate to see you cry. I warned you! Don’t marry that northern girl but you insisted that you were in love! Not for once would you have thought that the same crime for which Olufemi was murdered in cold blood would be the same reason for which you would be arrested!” she said finally!
The words that I dreaded from her mouth had eventually fallen!
I had failed!
My chest rose up and down heavily as hot breath escaped my nostrils with a wheeze
“No need to cry or be angry Oluwapelumi. Just forgive her! Since you have your life, just forgive her! If Olufemi were to be alive today, that would have been the advice I would have given him- to forgive and flee! With your life in your hands, forgive her and continue to pray for her, please” she said calmly again and I could only watch on.
Forgive that witch?
The witch that I gave my all to but who carried all I gave her and dashed it against the stone?
That obstinate, proud woman?
“Promise me that you will forgive her” she said, again, looking deeply into my eyes.
I couldn’t say that!
I couldn’t lie to my mum to do the impossible!
There was just no space in my heart anymore for forgiveness!
“I can see it deep in your eyes my son!” she said and paused
“Mum, what?” I asked, still not looking into her eyes at all.
“I can see hate!”
She was seeing rightly!
“I can see vengeance!”
Oh very right!
“I can see death!” She said and I looked into her face, shocked
“Oh wait….death…where?” I asked, looking round for the death that had come to snatch my mother away from my hands.
She laughed so loudly at that point, falling into a fitful cough
“You are looking for death? Oh no! I can see it in your eyes. That you are ready to kill! To destroy! To revenge!” she explained further and I frowned as I looked at the IGP’s face who gave me a ‘You-know-I-also-told-you’ kind of look.
“Self-control is the key now! Don’t try to revenge! Just try to get to the root of the problem. Doris was never like that. She must have packed death in her cooking pot and served for all of you without her realizing what she had done!” she explained on but I was not ready to listen at all.
“Oluwapelumi” she called out again
“Yes mummy” I replied
“Look into my face” she said and I obeyed.
If I had not failed in raising you son, I had failed in ensuring that you meet Jesus, the lover of your souls- both you and your brother.” She said, blinking regretfully
“Only Him can help you in this situation. If you but only search for Him, you will find Him most assuredly! You will!” she explained and I nodded
I wasn’t convinced at all
“See, he is the miracle worker. You can always test him in little things and you would find Him faithful. He can make a way where there seems to be no way. Please, just try Him!” she explained further and I nodded.
Okay I will!
I will search Him and test Him and find Him and love Him and do whatever mum wanted but, that would be after…
I had found Doris!
After I had taught her a great lesson of her life!
After I had made her faced hell on earth
Only then, would I seek the Miracle Worker!
I don’t need the marriage to work anymore!
I had had enough of the sorrowfully married life!
“Yes mummy” I replied and looked into her face again
She smiled and her eyes bored into mine for like five minutes before she smiled and heaved a very deep sigh
“I love you!” she said and looking into her face….
Her face had grown brighter; her smile was wider and more sincere. Her teeth shone so brighter and breeze blew her hair and I saw it so amazingly, such simple elegance!
“You look more beautiful mum” I said and she smiled
“That is what Jesus does to one’s life my son. He gives one life eternal and His beauty radiates over one now and even in the world beyond” she smiled gloriously.
“Mum?” I called out, very worried
“Bend your neck and let me have a feel of putting my hands round it again” she said and I was confused.
What was mummy talking about?
But I obeyed.
I bent my neck; she hung her hands round it and started blessing me.
I repeatedly said amen until….
There was silence!
“Mum?” I called out but there was no response.
“My mother!” I called out again and there was no response.
I turned around to look at the IGP who was looking at me so shocked too.
“What is it” he asked as if he had not been seated with me all along
“Mummy isn’t saying anything anymore” I almost shouted.
He stood up
“Try to lay her down, it is probably the analgesic that has weakened her” he said and I forcefully, took her hands off my neck, carried her in my arms close to the fluorescent on the wall.
The smile on her face was unmistakable
But she wasn’t saying anything!
How would analgesics just work that way?
“Please sir, call the doctor. My mum isn’t saying anything anymore. Please” I cried out of desperation and the IGP obeyed!
In no time, he had returned with the doctor.
Before they came, I had laid her back on the bed and all the doctor did was check her vital signs.
He looked at me for a moment
“Did she gasp?” he asked me
“No she didn’t. Is anything the problem?” I asked, anxiously.
“Then, it’s a peaceful sleep” he said, smiling slightly but no matter how I tried to understand, I just couldn’t!
Peaceful sleep in what sense?
Drug-induced sleep or what?
“Aren’t you a Christian?” he asked and I nodded, still trying to convince myself that it couldn’t be what I was thinking
“Hers was a life well spent” he said again and the IGP threw his arms up in the air, looking so sad.
I could only wonder what was wrong with him!
“Life well spent? Isn’t that used for the dead?” I asked, almost running mad.
“Are you kidding me Mr Pelumi?” the doctor looked on at me as if I was the weirdest thing he had set his eyes on ever!
“Well, you said a life well spent and my mum is just sixty five. So, I wonder what life had been well spent. Exactly what do you mean?” I asked again but I could see the frustration in his face even as I displayed my madness.
I shook with great fear and my teeth clenched tightly!
“Mr Pelumi, you are psychologically stressed out right now. It’s so obvious. You need to rest” he said as he patted my shoulders and moved to the door.
“Accept my hearty condolence please” he eventually said, making it clear eventually that I had not been dreaming.
That the worst had happened!
That just like those superstitious Yoruba stories, my mother had died in my own very arms, hanging on my neck while I was least expecting.
But I couldn’t believe it!
I started laughing uncontrollably even as tears ran down my cheeks.
I walked to the IGP and touched his shoulders.
“Isn’t the doctor funny?” I laughed on as I walked back to my mother on the bed
“Mummy!” I called on her. But she looked so peaceful in her sleep that disturbing her would even be a sin!
But I had to wake her!
I had to prove the doctor wrong that even his diagnosis could be very wrong!
I touched her hands, held it up and left it- it dropped heavily!
I checked her casted legs and tried to turn it so she could wince from her sleep and I would be convinced that she was alright…but no!
She was stone-cold!
“No!” I cried out suddenly as I held her hand.
I called her name into her ears, shook her body, played songs into her ears, all to no avail!
That was when I knew!
It could be so true…
That she was dead!
But I didn’t want to believe that lie!
No one on earth could convince me that the vehicle that conveyed me from heaven even to earth had left me behind and gone back!
Just then, the door opened and two nurses came in, holding two white bed sheets
They moved to the bed, unlocked the legs of the bed and started to dress my mother
“What’s that?” I asked dramatically
“Mr. Pelumi, please, let’s go out.” The IGP said but I couldn’t just go like that.
Leaving my mother?
“Please, give me just two minutes. I can do something within that period of time” I said and they all paused, looking at me sheepishly.
I staggered back to the bed, swept my mum in to my arms, knelt down, my face raised to the skies, through the windows
“They have said You are a miracle worker oh Jesus! They have said I could trust You in minor things, even in the major ones. That is why I am here Lord Jesus. I want to prove Yourself and bring my mother back to life” I cried out desperately.
“Only then would I serve you Lord! Only then would I be convinced that You really are in existence” I cried on and on, looking into her face for any possible improvement whatsoever
But there was no movement of any kind!
My mum laid heavily and still in my arms!
Then, I remembered a very popular song I had heard on the radio many times on my way to work.
The faith I had never had in this Jesus increased greatly I set to sing the song
I cleared my throat
Come and do a miracle
A miracle today
Come and do a miracle
A miracle today!
I sang with such vehemence that my sweat beads fell on her body once again
I wished the fluid could bring her back to life!
My faith remained there still!
My mum had had so great, undying love and devotion for this Jesus and now is the time to see if it was worth serving Him!
I lay her on the bed again and turned to the nurses who only watched on with pity at what a grieved mad man was doing!
“Let’s give Jesus some two more minutes. They’ve said He’s never too late!” I said and they all complied with me.
Tick, tock! Tick, tock!
Two minutes passed
Mum lay as inert as ever!
My young faith died!
The IGP looked into my face and smiled ruefully.
“Still, all the glory belongs to the Lord. The Lord is good!” he said as he walked towards the door.
I staggered after him as I looked back intermittently to see the nurses dressing her up!
My heart was bleeding uncontrollably!
My breath wasn’t normal anymore!
“She can’t be dead!” I cried as we walked out of the ward
“She’s dead?” I asked again severally as I staggered on and on after the IGP.
He came close to me, held my shoulders, rubbed them gently as he led me back to the park where his car was parked!
Would we be returning to that cell?
Until when would I remain that God forsaken prison yard?
I hadn’t set my eyes on that bloody Doris yet!
Then, I would return to the cell just like that?
We were about to enter the car when the IGP’s hands loosened from my shoulders and he walked away from me a bit.
I looked up at him and wondered what he was staring at.
With my heavy heart and eyes, I looked towards the direction he was looking at and I could see a young man and an elderly woman held in close embrace beside another jeep while another young lady watched them on, recording every season on her phone.
I wondered what the problem was.
I looked into the IGP’s eyes and they were as read as burning coals!
“See….see…see..” he stammered as he fell to the gossip chair near his car, his head buried in his hands.
I looked towards them again and on a closer look, the elderly woman was wearing a white overall.
“Could she be a medical doctor?” I asked nobody in particular and I got no response anyways.
I looked deep into her face again and shook my head as it dawned on me
Her face was very familiar!
I knew her from somewhere!
Then, I looked towards the lady recording them and I folded my fists into very tight balls!
I staggered towards the car, rest a while against it and cleared my throat as I smelt blood!
The one I perceived from In-Love’s body that day!
The blood of revenge!
I staggered towards their direction, not thinking clearly anymore.
Where had I seen her face before?
Then, it flashed into my face again and my blood reached the boiling point!
“So, what are we about to do?” the doctor asked Doris
“To secure my job at the UNWED, I have to be on an anti-motherhood drug” Doris said
“OK?” the doctor asked, a very irritating laughter on her face
“Reproduction enslaves women!” Doris chanted
“Yes!” the doctor replied, her gloved right hand in the air, she was smiling happily
“Pregnancy is the temporal deformation of the body of a woman for the sake of some worthless men!” she said again and my heart shattered
“So, you want abortion?” she asked
That abortion doctor!
The one who jeered her up to remove my baby!
Just then, an orange seller passed by and I stopped her
“Mai lemu, bani lemu uku amsin” I asked for three oranges, took the knife from her tray, gave her a thousand naira and asked her to leave.
I threw the oranges away and walked towards Doris!
All those negatives were all I could smell as I went close to her
She had turned her back towards my direction and that would be a great target for the stab!
As I drew closer, panting like a vampire, perceiving blood, there was a shout from behind me
“Stop!” It was the IGP but no!
I wasn’t ready to obey at all!
I moved towards her, tiptoeing quietly, with my heart in my mouth, the knife strategically held in my hands.
“Mr. Pelumi!” the IGP called again, running after me.
Doris heard that and stood up abruptly
I looked behind me and his look actually pled with me, his pistol in his hand.
I ran towards her, breathing so heavily
As the knife was about to be rammed into her stomach which I targeted since she was now facing me, the IGP dropped a tyre which rolled into my way and made me fall over Doris who had started screaming
“Leave me! Filthy, smelling man!” she screamed and the couple who were engrossed in the lustful lucre stayed back, screaming
“Mad man, mad man!”
Since the knife didn’t fall off my hand when I fell, it was still tightly held in my unfailing fist!
As I aimed for her neck, there was a gunshot and I screamed as it felt as if my left leg had been chopped off!
I screamed the more as I saw blood splashed into my face!
I thought that bullet had penetrated through into my chest from my leg….
Until, the IGP came near, pulled me off Doris’ body and some nurses placed her on the stretcher and quickly wheeled her into the hospital.
I saw blood dripping from her neck and I looked at the knife I was holding
I actually did stab her!
“I shouldn’t have trusted you Mr. Pelumi! You made me use my bullet. You caused a scene already and my job is on the line! You are under arrest!” he said, put my wrists together and placed them into cuffs even as some nurses came around to swoop me off unto a stretcher and wheeled me into the hospital as well.
“Adejare, this is your plan right? You have failed! I will make sure you lose this job!” someone said but I couldn’t see the person because I was in serious pain
Whoever just spoke now was definitely talking to the IGP!
So his name is Adejare?
And he pleaded with me to behave well oooo!
Now, I had not only landed him in soup but I had placed him into the middle of a big pot of boiling pepper soup!
….Watch out for the next episode….
Thanks for reading