“Adenike, it’s time to get up my dear, we have a busy day ahead of us my dear.” I slowly pulled myself off my makeshift bed, trying not to wake my Little John, my 4years old brother. He means the world to me. “Good morning mama” I greeted my mother the right way any proper Yoruba girl would. My mother did a really great job in raising me and my little brother all by herself, I never knew who my father was, all I know is that he used my mother and abandoned her after getting his riches from her, my mother had told me the story countless number of times.”Adenikemi, I don’t want you to hate your father for leaving me, I
was the fool for not listening to my parents words, I let love cloud my judgement and letting it control me. If I could take it all back, I gladly would my dear, but that won’t happen, I have to live with this now, but through it all I got a wonderful treasures from him, I got you, my beautiful angel.” these words from my mother never left my head, it stuck with me always. The only thing I know of my father is his name ‘Charles’ and that he left my mother after
draining her and leaving her with nothing. Little John came as a result of my mother’s
numerous attempt to sustain me and her. She met a man who had promised to pay her a sum of 20 thousand Naira if she would lay with him, I had kicked against the idea but my mother made me see the importance of it and how we needed the money even tho she hated what she was about doing.
“Adenikemi, am also not happy doing this, but I’ve given this a lot of thoughts and finally come to conclude that we need this money, you know we practically have nothing here, and we don’t get much from this food business we do, that 20 thousand would at least help us to some extent. Just look at this place we call home, its more like living in a dump and I don’t want you having this kind of life I never wanted this for you my child.” After giving her body
to a stranger, who happens to be of of our numerous customers, he paid her just 15
thousand out of the 20 he promised, giving her an excuse of being low on funds. Even when my mother went over to him telling him about her being pregnant for him, he boldly denied it, and my mother being a soft person and having no prove went away, and that’s how Little John came about, born in this same single messed up room we live in, I can still remember my mum’s screams during the labour.“Good morning mama”
“My daughter good morning, I hope you slept well?”
“Yes ma,I did. Let me help you out with that” I said to my mother who was busy trying to
keep the fire beneath the big pot from burning out“Don’t worry dear, I can handle this, you just go take care of your little brother, I can manage here myself”
“He is still sleeping and you know he does not like to be woken up from his sleep. Let me help you, you should sit and rest, am sure you’ve been up way too long, let me handle this” with that said I took over the cooking from her, the heat welcoming me as I sat down to blow the fire.
“Be careful, don’t let the fumes get into your eyes oh”
“I will be fine mum” I looked behind me and could see my mum dozing already,she looked so peaceful sitting there, her two heavy melons falling in sync with her breath calmly raising and falling.
“I think you should go in and get some sleep mama, you need it”
“Can you manage?”
“Yes mama, now please go get some sleep” We don’t have it all but having her and little
John with me is more than any other treasure. I hummed to myself as I went on with the cooking. ‘I need to get this food ready before hungry customers start pouring in’ I said to myself as I checked on the other pot with soup in it. I jumped to my feet as I heard mama scream my name, she never shouts like that, something must be wrong.
I ran inside wondering what could have happened, the sight I saw before me almost knocked me out, there on the floor is my mother crying with little John in her hand looking so pale, his face turning blue, he was having another attack and this seems worse than his previous ones “Mama, we need to go to the hospital now please, John is dying” my words felt like some sort of moral boaster as my mum got up real quick and ran out with her son in hand, she ran so fast it was difficult keeping up with her. I could not explain the sudden strength in her as she kept on running till she got to the hospital
“HELP ME PLEASE, MY SON_____MY SON_____HE____” She screamed at the nurses once she was in, they tried calming her but my mother was not having any of it “SAVE MY SON “PLEASSSSSSSSSEEEEE”
“Calm, down my dear, we will do our best” a lady said to my mother, she seems to be the
doctor. “Take him to the emergency room quickly” she shot at the nurses, as she followed behind them.
“Mama please, calm down, he will be fine” I said in tears as I joined my mother sitting on the cold hard floor of the hospital. The smell here was nice, the room felt cool, clean and
beautiful, compared to our dumpster of a home, but all these matters not, my brother is in there dying.
“Doctor please, how is my son, please talk to me” my mother said to the doctor as she came out once more “Ma’am calm down please, your son will be fine, but right now, I need you to go get these drugs now if you want your son to live” she handed over a piece of paper to my mum and went back in. In it was written the needed drugs and suggested prices.
“Mama, you wait here let me run home and get you the money you kept in the bag behind the door, the pharmacy is not so far from here, let me go get the money and bring it back so we can get these drugs for John.”My mother could only nod in agreement as I ran off immediately. I ran so fast, faster than I’ve ever ran in my life, not stopping to catch my breath or to even look out for incoming vehicles, my mind was set on getting home fast and getting the money to my mum. I was home in less than ten minutes as I pushed the door open with so much force it almost fell off, rummaging through the mess in the room I finally found the bag, took out the money. 1,2,3,4,5,6, I counted, six thousand naira. Just as quick as I was in I ran out back, hitting my leg on a hard rock sitting beside the house, tearing my flesh open, I winched in pain but I
kept on running not minding my blood stained leg. I kept running, running almost at the hospital when I bumped into two street thugs.“I’m sorry please” I said as I tried to go on running but was pulled back by one of the thugs“Where do you think you are going ehen?” she shot at me, his breath almost choking me, he smelled of cigarettes and alcohol.“Please let me go, please I need to get to the hospital, my brother is dying please” my pleas were ignored as I got a heavy slap from the other thug“SHUT UP” he barked at me “Kneel down there”
“Please I need to get this money to the hospital please, let me just go and I promise I will come back please”
“I said kneel down there” I got another hard slap from him which brought me to my knees immediately. I kept on pleading but to no avail, I was finally let go after they finally had their way with me, I screamed and begged but they ignored only listening to their urge. They left me laying helpless there, I laid there in tears for a while but soon got up as I remembered Little John, I was so great full that I still had the money with me. Getting up in pain I began
my run again, I was getting close to the hospital. I saw a large set of people gathered, but did not stop to know what was going on, something I would have done on a normal day. Getting to the hospital I called for my mother but could not see her, I asked those seated around but none answered, I spotted the paper on the floor and picked it up, I was about going back out to get the drugs when a lady stopped me.
“What happened to you, you are bleeding” she said with concern
“Ma, I’m sorry but I need to get these drugs, my brother needs it”
“Calm down, go back inside and meet one of the nurses to clean you up my dear”
I looked at her anger already taking over me, “I’m sorry ma” I ran off to get the drugs leaving her standing there, I don’t care about myself now, I need to save my brother and find mum later, she could be inside with him” Once I had the drugs I ran back to the hospital, screaming for the doctor.
“DOCTOR I HAVE THE DRUGS, I____”
“Where have you been, your brother is getting critical, and what happened to you you are bleeding” the doctor said to me
“These are the drugs ma, please where is my mother?”
“You need to get yourself taken care of first, nurse please clean her wounds”
“Where is my mother please?”
“Calm down, she ran out to search for you saying you are taking too long to get the money, she’ll be back soon”
“DOCTOR, DOCTOR WE NEED HELP HERE” some set of men came in carrying a woman, I did not care to look for long that did not matter to me now, I was about going in to see my brother when I thought I heard someone mention Little John. I listened carefully again admist the loud noise, and I heard it again, turned around and saw that the woman rushed in was actually my mother “MAMA” I screamed but I was held back as the doctor would not let me see her, “That’s my_____my mother, please let me see her” I said weakly trying to fight my way through.“Take her in fast” the doctor said. I could only watch on in tears as a day that started well has suddenly taken a tragic turn. I looked down at my leg and saw that the bleeding had stopped but the pain still stinging. After waiting for hours the doctor finally came out smiling, ignoring the smile I ran to her. “How is my brother please, my mother?” “Calm down dear, Little John is fine, he is sleeping now” I heaved a sigh of relief but quickly tensed once more remembering that my mum was still in there and she has not told me how
she is.“What of my mum, how is she?” her silence was killing but I kept asking trying to lock out all negative thoughts.
“I’m sorry dear, but your mum is gone, her injuries were just too deep, am sorry”
I felt like the whole world came crashing down on me as I heard her say those words, my mum can’t be dead, there is no way
“I’m sorry there, please be strong”
Her words began fading to me as I screamed, I screamed hoping my mum would hear it and come out, telling me to be quiet, I screamed, hoping she would tell me she made a mistake that my mum isn’t dead, but nothing happened, my mum did not walk out. With one last scream, everything went blank and dark for me, as my mind raised back to this morning, raised back to all those years, raised back to my mum,Little John and I laughing. I could hold on no more has I finally caved in, it all became dark, nothing but total darkness. The only
home I’ve ever known destroyed.
©Ajibade Oluwapelumi E