BTSTU (Jai Paul Cover) by Niia
“I reckon there are good men and women left in the world but they are few and almost impossible to find.
I don’t spend my time searching for them through the chaos. I just imagine their good deeds will eventually shine the light on them.
There won’t be many chances to impact a life better than the one you have now. Leave a positive mark.
People are easy to manipulate as the situations change but let your integrity speak for you. Let you message be the same.
Do good and love hard.
Say a prayer whenever you can.
No good deed goes to waste. And someday you may need one and you may not have the power to dictate.
Give love and do well. In this life, you are only a chapter in a page less book”
– The Wordsmith
The story was that my parents wanted more.
More like me.
My family members always told me that I was the perfect baby. I rarely cried and I always smiled.
More importantly, I always slept through the night.
But they wanted another me. Well they wanted a boy.
I think secretly my father did but my mother was probably content with having just me. You’ll understand why at some point.
I was always thought that there was a part of me that needed more focus. Like I was not fully grasping who I was. But life is full of unique ways to change stories, I just always felt mine would go a certain way.
Our life was easy.
Well mostly easy.
Argentina, London, Australia, Gabon, and Sweden to name a few countries we toured together as a family; mother, my father and I.
My life plan was simple; be better than your parents. Funny enough, none of the pressure came from them.
But they were such amazing people that I automatically knew that I had to be better than both of them.
I envied my mother.
I watched how my father looked at her each day and I craved that sight. I craved that love and care that I saw in his eyes towards her.
Hating my mother was not an option don’t get me wrong. I didn’t envy her because I wanted to be her exactly, I guess I should clarify and say that I wanted the attention her person commanded.
She had always commanded attention and respect.
Her father and my grandfather, had overthrown his brother for the crown in our hometown.
At the time of this happening, my mother had not been born. Essentially, my grandfather had wrestled for power even though he didn’t have a successor lined up.
My mother and her siblings came a few months after the “coup”.
It moved seamlessly, that my uncle would take over after my grandfather.
My mother was the first-born and she was like a son to my grandfather.
Tough in power and wise with her care to the people, the people loved her.
Everyone loved her.
She was around for eight years before my uncle was even born, so lets just say that the people had really gotten used to her.
There was a story told to me about how she acted during my grandfather’s 60th birthday party.
Tradition states that the King showcased the blessings the land has given him.
These included material things like cars, livestock, clothing and the most important of them all; his children.
For whatever reason, the story states that my mother had decided not to be paraded. She refused to go out in the usual order; after the livestock.
The story says that she blatantly told the people in charge
“I am daddy’s favorite so I am going before the cars and all”
They also never failed to mention that she was only 8yrs old at the time. Some have questioned the validity of that incident but never questioned that it’s something she could have said.
I have always found that story hard to believe but I have never doubted that my mother was that woman.
I think it was evident, the amount of control she had in the household when she returned from college to inform my grandfather that she was marrying my father, a radio producer and no one resisted.
She was highly opinionated and respect but always humble and submissive to my father.
He married royalty but kept his normal life, he was the executive producer of some of the biggest shows on 103.5FM in Lagos.
We primarily lived in Lagos but had houses in various cities around the world. We traveled at will but one of the key values held by mother was the power of family and it’s togetherness.
So whenever I was home from school, we would always eat dinner as a family together. The table made and all, we would share stories, catch up and just be one.
The ability to influence things like that was the trait, I wanted the most from my mother and I think she knew it too.
. . . . .
“Susan, you know I left the money right there.
Are you sure you didn’t see it?”
I asked one of our maids
“No madam. I no see am”
I felt like she was lying to me but I wasn’t about to go searching her room.
I stared at her and then I walked away.
I could hear chatter in the kitchen between her and the cook.
Our house in Lagos, in the Lekki area was huge. Really too much space than we would ever need and it truly sucked to be the only child.
Remember how I talked about my parents wanting another kid?
Well, this was why. I basically grew up with maids as my only friends and I know my dad wanted me to have siblings but particularly a brother.
My mother being the first for my grandfather, if she didn’t present a boy, the crown would skip our household and settle on the head of my uncle.
This particular afternoon, I was on my midterm break from my boarding school, which was about an hour outside town.
Somewhat like the Spring break given to those in American schools but it was our refresher.
I was planning to go out with my friends that evening and I was particularly irked that I thought I had put the money in particular spot but I couldn’t find it.
I was in my room getting ready when I heard a knock on the door.
The door opened slowly and Susan appeared. She immediately got down on her knees and began begging.
In her right hand, she waved the money I was just looking for earlier
“Madam, I am sorry. I no mean to take am
please I just want to send am to my family for village”
I got up and smiled.
I walked up to her and I pulled her up.
Now I referred to her as Susan but I grew up calling her Aunty Susan. She was old enough to be my mother and she along with my mother, raised me.
I knew she had the money but I just wanted her to tell me.
I walked with her to the bed as she cried profusely
“Aunty Susan, I am not upset you took the money.
I am angry you did not tell me you needed it. You know I would have given it to you freely”
She nodded and said
“I was just afraid ma
My daughter wants to enter Unifasity and I don’t have enough money to pay.
I sorry ma”
I gave her a hug and handed the money back to her.
“Aunty, next time, tell me.
Stop crying. I will give you the rest of what you need when I get back.
She nodded as I let her out of the room and finished getting ready.
Now before you assume that I am some self righteous person, recognize that if my mother had found out about the incident, Susan would have been dismissed.
I was able to get the money from my mother. I can’t even remember what lie I told to get it but I did.
I remember returning to school and feeling accomplished but bigger tests of my character were coming along the way.
. . . . .
“What do you mean that Idris Elba is not sexy?
Have you seen the man?”
Tolani was the queen of arguments like these.
It was a Saturday evening and we waited before dinner time.
In the girls hostel, we hung around our bunks and just argued about vain attractions to men some of us might never meet.
“Tolani, remember the guy that played Oscar Grant?
Or the guy from House of Payne, the darker one?
Those men are sexy!
Everyone just says Idris Elba is sexy because a lot of old women just want him”
Tolani, my best friend always found a way to turn a debate on it’s head.
“So you’re telling me that if Idris Elba walked in through that door right now, you wont let him go to work on you?”
I giggled and looked at my half naked body and said
“He wouldn’t know what to do with me”
Everyone in the room burst into laughter and we went about getting ready.
I was putting on some make up (A contraband at our school at the time) when I heard my name
“Bola Adekanmi…. Bola Adekanmi”
I turned around and said
It was one of the aides calling my name.
I walked up to her and said
“Yes… who’s looking for me o”
with a smile across my face.
She looked at me with seriousness in her eyes and said
“Get dressed. The principal wants to see you”
I actually wasn’t scared. Unlike most students, when I was called to the principals office, I didn’t actually panic.
The principal was friends with my parents, so I never really worried.
I arrived about 10 minutes later at the principal’s office. She was in her seat with her head down.
“Bola, your parents have asked for you to come home.”
I just assumed it was because we were going on a trip. After all, my birthday was only a month away. But graduation was also only two months away, so I wasn’t sure.
We had planned as a family to visit Spain in the summer for my birthday.
Maybe it was an early birthday surprise, I thought to myself.
Either way, I was going home and I was good with that.
I greeted our driver as I got into the car
How body na?”
He forced a smile and greeted me.
He drove me back to the hostel where I grabbed a few more things and then we were on our way.
I was actually kind of pleased to be going home. I had been missing my bed for a few days.
The drive was okay. It was evening time and not too much traffic.
Oga Wisdom wasn’t talking to me much but I didn’t make anything of it. I was listening to the radio and grooving away.
We arrived at my house at about 9pm.
When we showed up, there were cars everywhere and a lot of people.
Our cars were parked under the shed to the right but nothing explained all the other cars.
I continued to feed into my theory that I was getting a surprise birthday party.
The driver parked the car and I hopped out.
When I walked into the house, it felt like there was a cloud; a thick cloud.
There were a lot of shoes in the front of the living room.
I could hear crying and wailing.
I wasn’t sure what was going on.
My heart was starting to race.
My palms got sweaty.
I was reaching for my necklace. It was something I fiddled with whenever I got nervous.
I made my way closer to the living room and the cries got louder.
I finally stood in the doorway.
Everyone instantly turned towards me. I could see the sadness written all over their faces.
They looked at me with pity.
I just thought my grandfather had passed.
But I scanned the room, and there he was.
Sitting in the corner of the room with his guards around him.
Tears in his eyes.
I looked at my dad, his head in his palms.
I scanned the room again. Susan was on the ground in the corner of the room crying. Hard.
I wanted to open my mouth and ask but I couldn’t find the words.
My brain wasn’t linking up with my tongue
I wanted to cry but I froze.
I wanted to ask why but I knew nobody would answer right.
I want to move but I froze.
My everything was gone.
And in that moment, my whole world became void.
. . . . .
My interaction with you was like a pencil
Gliding along my heart
You register unique memories
Trading what I felt with you is impossible to imagine
Falling in you is something I would repeat gladly
Today, the memories we shared keep me warm
I dig deep and find you through every storm
I can’t seem to understand why you left so soon
I can’t understand why you left him too
But home within ourselves
You gave us love
And left before we could share
Things are not the same
My heart now lives in pain
Losing you doesn’t cause as much hurt as it did that first night
Now I have no one in my corner
No one to hear my plight
Every night I close my eyes
I imagine myself on a flight
One-way ticket from here
Destination to wherever I can set my eyes on you
And keep you in sight
Mummy, I wish you could hold me for one more night
My heart is void
And sore from war
From battling my demons and not allowing myself through the trap door
I miss you
Look out for Part 2 and catch up on #WordsOfWednesday
Real Talk (The New Way of Attractions)
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Thank you for reading and commenting. You are highly appreciated.
Lookout for Part 2 of Pains next week.
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