We have got this heart touching story, titled: “The Thorn In My Flesh” and here is a brand new Episode for your reading pleasure and am sure you’re going to learn a lot from this story..
That day, mama Toke woke up early and decided to go and hawk in the neighboring village like she had been doing for the past two days. So far, she had been able to save N5, 500 from the sales and all she needed to make up the money for her daughter’s examination was N2, 000. She woke up early and packed her wares in a basket and then walked out of the house gently, careful not to wake her daughter who was still fast asleep. The village where she was going to sell was several kilometers away and she had to trek the long distance, this was the reason why she had to wake up early and leave even before her daughter woke up.
Toke was in the small shaft kitchen outside the compound trying to warm the leftover food from yesterday. That was to serve as her breakfast and even lunch until her mother returned from wherever she was going to very early in the mornings.
Toke wondered where had her mother gone to that early in the morning. She banished the thought from her mind and bent on her knees to adjust the firewood which was giving her a tough time because they had been beaten by the heavy rain that fell all night. She was still on her knees trying to make the fire come up when she heard a wail like sound, few meters away from their compound.
She ignored it and continued with what she was doing but the wailings grew louder and louder and Toke thought she heard the wailers making their way into her compound.
Toke: “what is happening this morning and why are people wailing?” she asked rhetorically and raised her head to peep outside. She saw that the wailers who were on a straight line were coming into her compound, one after the other, in a mournful procession.
Toke: “ah, what are they coming to do here? Is the king of our village dead? Even at that, why should they come into our own compound? I wish my mother was around” she said going out of the kitchen and standing at a distance away from the wailers who were now in the compound.
If Toke thought it was just a procession of wailers, she was wrong as she saw many villagers including youth and children troupe into her compound after the wailers had marched in.
She saw her uncle’s wife and her cousin, Gift among those who had trouped in. When they all got to the entrance of the room where she and her mother occupied, they stopped and the tempo of their cry increased.
Toke could not afford to keep quiet anymore as she had never witnessed such a thing before.
Toke: “what is going on here? Who are you looking for? My mother is not at home. What have we done again this time around?” she summoned all the courage in her and asked.
At the sound of Toke’s voice, the wailings rose up to the sky as if her voice had been petrol added to a flame. Some shook their heads and shrieked; others beat their chest and bit their fingers.
Toke saw her aunty rolling on the ground and crying uncontrollably.
Then she looked well and saw that some of the youths who were carrying a pitcher wrapped with a wrapper had let it on the ground and people moved away from it. Toke knew that only dead bodies were carried that way. Her heart flew to her mouth.
Toke: “could it be…?”
“No, it can’t be”. She couldn’t even bring herself to complete the sentence. She moved close and surprisingly enough, people made way for her. When she was few meters away from the body on the floor, she stopped, fear suddenly taking over her.
Wailers: “o ma shey o (what a pity). How can people be this cruel, wasting human life like that? This is the height of wickedness” they chorused simultaneously.
Toke ran to the pitcher and yanked the cloth off it. She froze, when she saw her mother lying dead with a deep machete cut on her forehead.
Toke: “noooooo!” she screamed with all the strength in her and woke up.
She looked around her and she was alone on the bed and in the room, her mother had gone out even before she woke up as usual. Toke was sweating profusely and her body was shivering from the horror she had just seen in the dream.
Toke: “it was a dream, what a terrible one. Where is my mother? She has been going out very early before I wake up these days. Where could she be going to so early?” she asked.
Toke: “my mother, the only parent I have in the world die? How will I survive without her? No, I have to go and search for her” she said.
In her heart, she heard a quiet and still voice whisper to her to get on her knees and pray but she ignored it. That was not important. What was important was for her to go and search for her mother and return home with her, that was the only way she could prevent the dream from coming through.
Hurriedly she brushed her teeth with the dogon yaro chewing stick that her mother had brought home the previous day. Her mother could not afford to buy toothpaste and so they opted for its alternative.
After brushing, she wore a faded floral dress that had seen better days and ran out.
Her first port of call was the market and after walking around aimlessly for hours and asking traders if they had seen her mother, she left when all of them said they had not seen her mother in the market for days.
Toke: “but my mother has been going out consistently these past days. How comes they are saying they have not seen her in the market for days? Where could she have been going to then? Or has she gotten a job that she did not tell me about?” she soliloquized.
She moved around to all the building sites that offered daily jobs to women but her mother was not there. She proceeded to the few people she knew were friends with her mother but they all told her that they had not seen her mother in days.
To satisfy her conscience, she decided to check for her mother in her uncle’s house even though she knew that the probability of her mother being there was less than one out of hundred.
Mama Gift: “you don’t even have respect at all. You come here, greet and then open your mouth to ask if we have seen your mother, are you alright at all? Are we your mother’s keeper? What have we got to do with your mother?”
Toke: “I am sorry, ma. I just thought she may be here since nobody in the village seems to have seen or heard from her” she said respectfully.
Mama Gift: “well, she is not here. The last time I saw her was few days ago when she went to the guest house close to my shop to sleep with a man, which is what she has been doing recently. You can go to the guest house and check on her, maybe she has decided to move in there permanently” she derided.
Toke: “my mother with a man in the guest in? Could that be the meaning of my dream? No, that is not possible. My mother will never do such a thing” she said and ran out and went back home to weep.
Mama Gift: “see her, like mother, like daughter. You will soon start your own very soon. Nonsense! Come here and ask for your mother again and I will make sure I poison your heart against your mother” she said………Tbc.