It was the bitter morning I was born again as a nine-year-old adult. I can remember that morning; I woke up naïve, with a smile, which revealed my dimple, not knowing what fate has befallen me the night before.
The previous day I saw the beautiful smile which my mother had, I mean it still appeared clear like I was watching a movie from the yellow turban to the purple eye shadow to her nude colour lip stick and the beautiful sparkling ear ring and necklace which dad bought for her during their last wedding anniversary, tenth year together . Then to the yellow looking gown I remember my dad tell her that she looked like an eighteen year old lady and even giving her a good bye kiss and he did not realize that that was going to be the last of it because if he did he would not have her go . Reminiscing, I wish I had some sought of super power which would tell me about the future.
This event turned my life around. I just knew something bad had happened. Dad didn’t come home on Friday night, it had never happened before.
Bolanle and I slept off in the parlour waiting for dad to return. The help also slept off with us on the couch.
The next morning, immediately I woke up, I ran to dad’s room, he was nowhere to be found. Something must have happened! It has never happened before, even if he wasn’t coming back home, he would have called to let us know what was happening.
My instinct told me something bad had happened, I just didn’t know what or how bad. Dad finally came home and asked us to move to our family friend’s house that lives adjacent to our house. They moved into the area six months after we did. Living there was beautiful, except that I kept sensing something was wrong. Four days later, my dad asked us to come home. The house was quiet, my dad had lost about 10kg, and he was with some neighbors. They sat on a brown wooden stool by the veranda. I saw Baba Segun, Mr. Bode and uncle Jide looking morose. What were they doing here I asked myself.
Baba Segun asked me to have my seat as the eldest child, my sister, Bolanle ran to hug my dad, and she was six years old. I took the empty seat just in front of the three men; I wondered what they wanted to say that required three old men to deliver.
“Tara, you’re no longer a small girl. I want to tell you something, something happened but I want you to be brave.” I wondered, finally, someone would calm my curious nerve.
“Your mother was in an accident, and she passed.” I looked at Bolanle, she was seated on my father’s laps, playing with his hair. She obviously didn’t understand the gravity of what we just heard. The silence that followed was deafening. My favorite woman in the world was gone, my mother, Ma’ami, my chat mate, cook, wardrobe manager and personal person.
My favorite woman in the world, the one I referred to as Ma’ami had been involved in an accident and had passed. Gone forever. Never to be seen again. She was going to a church camp program. Church program! Not party. Not club. Church.
My head rang, just as it does when Jerry hit Tom’s head in Tom and Jerry. I literally saw stars spinning round my head; I was trying hard to process what I just heard.
I wondered how we were going to cope, Bolanle and my father, our relatives, the business, I. I had questions, the more I tried to take in the news and suppress the questions, and the more questions kept pouring in.
I knew my life had changed forever, I just wondered what next from here.
The days that followed were filled with hope and denial. Hope that she would rise from the dead, there is nothing impossible for God I heard, denial that Ma’ami had truly gone. It was later I discovered denial was the first stage in the cycle of grieve.
After the news, I shook my head in agreement with all that had been said, and then I asked, “How did it happen?”
They all looked at each other trying to nominate who should narrate the incident to me my father finally spoke. I looked at his face; he looked broken, weak and naked.
“The passerby said the driver lost control of the bus and the bus had somersaulted. They took her to the hospital but she had lost so much blood already.” He went on to tell me he would show me the picture of the vehicle later.
Real life just began.
To be continued next Thursday at noon.
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