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I got to Ekiti on that very day which happened to be Tuesday though it was getting late in the evening, I was glad for my homecoming but also sad for the circumstances warranting it. After greeting my Grandma and briefing her on the situation of her son in Lagos, I dashed off to my maternal home to see my Mummy who they said has been sick.
The condition I met her reduced me to tears. It was my sobbing that woke her up from her sleep.
“Mummy, could this be you for Christ sake?”
“Yeah it’s me.” she responded with a faint smile.
Though she wasn’t that robust before, she wasn’t that slim either, but she has gotten so frail and weak that I barely recognized her lying down on a mattress in her room.
“I have been waiting for you these days so that I can get well” she continues her statement.
“Waiting for me?” I asked her in perplexing
“Yeah, because you are everything to me.” she replied me with tears in her eyes. I was confused of this statement but now that I am a little bit older I can now understand her better.
I moved closer to her and lifted her up so that she can rest her head on my laps. I asked her tearfully “But why didn’t they take you to the hospital?”
“No I don’t want that, I prefer to go as peaceful and calmly as I could.” she gave me the reply panting and gasping for breath.
“I am sorry, please take it easy” kissing her forehead amidst tears. But I kept wondering where she is referring.
“And Kay doesn’t tell me it’s up to this now.”
“I personally instructed him not to, so as for you to concentrate with your Uncle over there.” Such was the large heart of my caring Mummy; even in her own critical and deteriorated state when she needed me most, she still care enough for someone else.
“Kay shouldn’t have hidden this from me.” I insisted, “And you yourself should not have forbid him.”
“What drug have you taken and what is the nature of the sickness?” I put the question to her but she couldn’t answer anymore because she was exhausted and tired.
I broke down into uncontrollable tears and gently put her head down on the pillow. My grandmother comforted me that all will be well and she has been responding to treatment lately. I wonder what kind of responding is that, since she was put in home care.
I rose to go and looked back at the door to bid her goodnight that I will be back early the following morning, she fluttered her eyes open and said, “Goodnight my son, don’t make mistake and I love you.” And with that, my Mother spokes to me for the last time.
I couldn’t sleep that night, my mind kept going back to the condition I met and left her. I kept asking myself maybe if I were around it wouldn’t have escalated to this state; I kept on blaming myself for staying long in that cursed Lagos and staying for long in that slavery caring for someone else whereas my own very Mother deserves more care than anyone at that particular time.
Unknown to me, she has been battling with leukemia, and she wouldn’t tell anybody since the Doctor have told her that there is slim chance of survival for her. I later saw the result when she has died and we were packing her belongings.
That night I did what I haven’t done for almost a year, I prayed! And I ask God to please spare her and also forgive me for coming to Him only in my time of trial.
Around three o’clock in the morning I drifted into sleep. I couldn’t go to her the following morning because I can’t bring myself to face the agony she was into, so I laid down behind closed door in my room until evening when I heard a knock on my door.
“Please wait for me I am coming.” I said to the person as I hurriedly stand up to dress up.
It was Funmilayo. “Ah aha”, I exclaimed and hugged her and clean my tears with the back of my palm.
“How was your journey?”
“It was fine, and by the way how on earth do you know I was around?”
“Never mind” but seeing the curiosity written in my face she continues “It is Oyegbenga your friend that told me this afternoon”.
“Okay”. I could remember that Oyegbenga was there when I alighted yesterday evening and baring him, none of my friend knew I was around.
“Tuyil what happened? You look like someone that has been crying all day.”
“Nothing, it’s just that I have been weak due to the fatigue of my journey”
“Hmmm…I know it’s because of your Mummy. Don’t worry she will be well” she said reassuringly and for the moment I forgot the matter.
She broke the silent some minutes later and asked about my admission processing.
“I am working on it.” I lied to her so that she won’t know that I have been serving as houseboy in Lagos for the past eight months and I haven’t opened a book since then.
“I have gained admission to University of Ado and we will resume by June.” She informed me amidst joy and laughter. I felt happy for her and we continue to discuss till it was dark before I saw her off to her house.
I noticed some changes in Funmilayo that day that were unusual, but I thought it might be because it has been long that we see each other last. I decided against going to see my Mummy that night and that decision stood out to be my greatest regret because had I go there, i might have been able to hear her last wishes.
I woke up today feeling kind of nervy and I couldn’t explain the reason behind it. Fortunately, Tope, my old classmate was with me that day. He suggested we go to a farm and whine away the time there.
“My mind is with my mummy today, I think I need to go and see her. I can’t keep avoiding her all in the name of avoiding her agonies.” I said plucking an orange from the tree.
“I thought as much.” He responded and came down from the tree. We started for home immediately.
“Let me cut this tree and use it for chewing stick”
“I can’t laugh o, a Lagosian like you still uses chewing stick?” Tope asked me jokingly.
“Why not? At least they sell it on Lagos streets.” I said to correct his notion about Lagos. “Anyway let us hurry so that we can get home on time.” I said as we hurried back home.
As we were approaching my house, I caught the glimpse of Kay, my cousin. Tope sensed this and tried to divert my attention to another thing.
“Tuyil, you won’t believe that this primary school building over there is the best in the state.” He pointed out the school and I smiled. Unknown to me he has seen some people crying at the other side of the house.
We got to the house and almost immediately one of my relatives broke the news to me that my Mummy died early this morning!
I discovered that I have gotten used to crying and I found it difficult to shed a tear! All I could do was laughing hysterically throughout the burial. My relatives became suspicious and asked me maybe I was alright but I told them that nothing is wrong with me.
After the burial, I became so lean and frail because I could not eat. I resigned into my shell and would refuse to come out for almost a week. Both grandmas tried their possible best to cheer me up but all to no avail.
The stroke that broke the camel’s back came the following month when I received a letter from Funmilayo and it reads:
With deep sense of regret I am writing this letter to you. I just want to tell you that I won’t be able to continue with our relationship.
The reason is simple, as you yourself know already that nearly anybody that loves you dies prematurely and I don’t want to die now.
Pls I am very sorry.
N.B. I still loves you.
I couldn’t believe my eyes. Is it true that I am responsible for those deaths? I asked my rhetorically. This shattered my heart more because its Funmilayo that has been my source of comfort for the time being.
It all changed one day when one of my friends came to our house and introduced me to drugs.
“This is weed naw, I no fit take am.” I said absentmindedly.
“Just take am, e go make you forget wetin don happen.” He said reassuringly. And with that I gave in to peer-pressure and started taking drugs.
Things went from bad to worse; I would smoke Marijuana from morning to night just to run from my own fears and feelings. I would forget all about the problems at the point I smoked and started having the heavenly feelings but will later come back to haunt me whenever I came back to my senses.
I started making new set of friends. It was then I knew that people tends to change as their status and situations changes. I dropped nearly all my good friends for bad ones. I can nearly distinguished different types of marijuana from each other. I would wake up early in the morning and went straight to the'[i]Bunk[/i]’ where marijuana is being sold and smoked till around 3p.m before coming back home. This became my daily routine and I started losing my sanity but I couldn’t know.
I made sure that these actions of mine were hidden from my grandmas and some relatives. I forgot anything about schooling and I focused mainly on wiping away sorrows.
THREE MONTHS LATER
I was coming back from the bunk one day and had already smoked and drank to stupor when my Uncle, Niyi called on me and informed straight away that we are heading to Lagos the following day because Uncle Wole’s condition has relapse and he is critically down.
“So how is that going to be my problem?” I asked him back with anger.
“Please I understand your point but…..” He pleaded with me to calm me down but I was already out of control.
“How could you understand my pains?” I paused in mixed emotion of pain and anger and continued “I sacrificed my own mummy because of your brother and I couldn’t hear the last wishes of my mum, all because I wanted to satisfy you people’s wishes.” I ranted on and busted into an uncontrollable tear.
“We are sorry and there is little that can be done even if you were around.”
“At least I would have been by her side in those last moments.” I said covering my face with my palm.
“I am truly sorry.” He pleaded.
“But what about the issue of his wife.” I reminded him.
“I have taken care of that, you will be given some stipend to cater for your feeding for the meanwhile.” He assured me.
“Don’t even worry, she will know the differences between Tuyil of yesteryear and Tuyil of today.” I put in without thinking and went in to pack my clothes in preparation for tomorrow’s journey to Lagos.