A small crowd followed me home from Akin’s house. When my village people saw me and Akin walking towards my house with my travelling bag on my back, they knew I did not die after all. There were salutations from every compound we walked past. We walked past the front of Baba Land lord’s house; it was Tunde that opened the door when he heard the noise from the people following me home. He screamed when he saw me and ran into my arms, we hugged passionately.
Brother you are alive? He asked
Yes my dear, God protected me! I replied
Wow! I thank God you are alive o! Brother do you know you are my uncle?
Yes I know now! I replied
Baba land lord is your father! He said enthusiastically
Yes my dear! So I just heard.
You are my uncle, brother BJ, you are my blood! He said as we all marched towards my house.
It was at this point that those following us started arguing about the striking resemblance between Tunde and me.
No wonder Bolaji loved this boy so much! One said
Hmm! Blood smells! Another said
Hmm! Blood is thicker that water indeed! Another offered
They were saying a lot of things to my hearing but in my mind, I was troubled. My emotion was running wild. How will I react when I see the woman who brought me into this world and abandoned me? Hate or love? How will I react when I see my friend and drinking partner who has suddenly turned out to be my elusive father?
Akin! I called my friend
Yes BJ! He answered
I feel for a bottle of Gulder!
No nah! Not now please!
I am scared! And why are these people following us?
You are a miracle! You returned from the land of the dead, and people follow miracles!
Hmm? I asked
Hmm! He hummed.
Brother! Daddy will get well if he sees you! He thinks you are dead! Tunde said as he ran into my house through the front door.
We got to the front of the house, I could not move further, I stood looking at the closed door and opened windows. Normally every opening would have been locked up awaiting my arrival. Although I had given Baba landlord the spare key for contingency sake, he would not ordinarily open my door or windows.
While I was still outside looking at the house, the door opened and Baba land lord limped forward with the aid of a walking stick, Tunde was beside him beaming from ear to ear. He stood looking at me.
Eniyan tabi ebora? Is this a human being or a ghost? He asked
Eni yan ! Akin replied
Mobolaji! He called
Baba Landlord! I replied.
He placed his walking stick by the wall and tightened his wrapper securely around his waist. He picked his walking stick and limped towards me.
Mobolaji! He called again
Baba! I replied
Every one was quiet.
You are not dead? He asked.
God rescued me sir! I was killed but God rescued me! It’s a long story! I said.
We embraced as he got to me; we both broke down in tears as my escorts shouted in jubilation and cheers.
After crying together for three minutes.
Has Akin told you?
I am your father!
It is strange!
We used to drink together!
We were friends’ o!
Please come with me! Let’s go inside the house
No, I can’t! I said. Let’s sit outside at the terrace
Okay, let’s sit out at the terrace; he concurred
As I moved to sit on a Chair at the terrace, Baba landlord turned to address the small crowd that had gathered.
He is my son!
Yes we know! The people replied
He is an Engineer!
Baba Engineer! The father of an Engineer! The crowd cheered!
We used to drink together!
I have always loved him as the Son I did not have!
But he is actually my Son! A product of my loins!
I met his mother twenty-eight years ago in Lagos!
I wanted to marry her after my late wife but fate separated us
I knew she was pregnant for me but I thought she would have aborted it because she was leading a rough life then in Lagos
But she changed o! Yes! She actually changed when we were together but you know back then nah! There was no telephone so when I was drafted back to the north I forgot all about her!
Go! Go and tell the whole world that ASP Bamidele Fapohunda has a son! An heir! If I die today, I will die happy because I have not labored in vain! All my daughters are in their husband homes and none is interested in the vast portions of lands I own in the Village, Akure, Ibadan, Abuja and Kaduna!
Ha Baba Modupe o!
He went down on his knees carefully and with arms stretched upwards
Baba o seun! He said looking up to the heavens
God you are indeed faithful and merciful
How am I to know that you would bless me with a Son in my old age? So my lineage will not end with me? I am an only son to my parents too so I was supposed to have a lot of sons to carry on the Fapohunda name but I had none until now! Oh God you are wonderful
He started a song
Baba Baba Baba Baba!!
O se o Baba!
O se o Baba!
Mo wa dupe Baba!
The crowd took the song from him as he struggled to get up with the aid of his walking stick; he limped towards me and sat on an empty plastic chair
Tunde! Baba called
Get us palm wine o! My son has come home! Get every one here something to drink!
Tunde! Get your uncle a bottle of Gulder! Akin said as Tunde was about to leave for the errand.
God bless you Akin! I said. Em Tunde! Chilled one please! And make it two bottles! I shouted as Tunde sped off.
Mobolaji! Baba called me: what happened to you? I came to Owerri and heard a very terrible story about your death, I went to the Police station for your corpse but I knew better since I was one of them before! Your Corpse was government property because you were killed as a criminal. I left Owerri broken hearted and suffered a stroke when I got home.
Baba, it is a very long and painful story! I will tell you everything later, but first, where is my mother?
She is sleeping, she just took her drugs, it makes her to sleep, he said.
So what is wrong with her? I asked
It is Cancer my dear! She has Cancer in her bones!
Jesu Christ o! I exclaimed.
So it is not H.I.V Aids? I asked
No! No! It is Cancer!
Is she going to make it? I asked
No! She has a week or two, she has done several operations in Lagos but the disease kept coming back.
Can money save her now? I asked again
No! The Doctors said no amount of money can save her now. Mobolaji! I have the money! I would arrange for her treatment abroad if there was hope. The Cancer had already taken parts of her body in previous operations! Now it is the bones!
Hmm! So it has to take Cancer to bring my mother back to me? I asked Baba.
Mobolaji take it easy! Do not be hard on her. She has her reason for doing what she did.
What? I asked. She has her reasons for abandoning me all my life? Twenty eight years!
Mobolaji! Look at you! Akin intervened. Look at what you have turned out to become! Would you have turned out this way if she were around? I don’t think so! Of all the Youths in this Village how many of them can beat their chest when you stand and talk? Yet most of them have both Parents alive! Even me here that had a rich father and my Mother was doing well, was it not you, the so called Orphan that came to my rescue?
So my boy! Baba continued; just thank God for your life! Forgive and forget! She is dying so let her go in peace. Thank God also that she came home alive instead of her Corpse being brought back home, the two of you can sort out your selves before she dies. I have not left her side since she returned home and told me about you, every one is afraid of coming close to her because they thought her sickness is contagious. She said she told your grand ma about my affair with her in Lagos and how she bore me a Son but before I retired and came back home, your grand ma had died. She also has been battling with Cancer for over fifteen years; she could not come home when her mother died because she just had an operation then. Mobolaji! Your mother’s two breasts have been cut off due to Cancer!
Jesu Christi o! I exclaimed.
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That was even some years back before the thing came back into her bones! Do we cut of her bones too? She is destined to die by this Cancer I must admit! Baba said. Your mother is not as terrible as portrayed by the Villagers here! She was simply looking for the Golden Fleece that the Village does not have to offer. Many people ran to the City in pursuit of greener pasture, some made it and some did not! Your mother belonged to the later.
Tunde and one of his friends returned with buckets of drinks and every one present had something to drink before dispersing to their homes. I gulped down a chilled bottle of my ultimate beer, gave out a large belch and dropped the empty bottle on the floor before opening the second bottle.
You and this Gulder sha ! Akin said
My brother! It is the Ultimate of beers o!
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I was by her bed side when she woke up the next evening; we stared at each other for about three minutes before I broke the silence.
I don’t know what to call you! I said
Who are you? She asked with a raspy weak voice
You tell me! I said
I should tell you? She asked as she squinted her face trying to figure me out
Ha! My God! They said you were dead! She said. Have you come to take me with you?
I did not die! I am alive! I came back home two days ago! I came here yesterday morning but you have been asleep until now! I said without emotions.
Mobolaji! She called
Yes? I answered
I am your mother!
Of course I know! I snapped
I have struggled through life trying to do things my own way without success! She said
By being a LovePeddler abi? By giving me a bad name! Do you know what I have been through in life? I started fending for my self as long as I started walking. I grew up being ridiculed as a bastard in the village. I ate from the refuse; I struggled with dogs at the butchers slap for pieces of bones! I started hunting at five! All by myself! No father! No mother for me to emulate! I was a burden to grandma because she could barely take care of herself! Your mother died in this house and I did not know for three days! I was sleeping in the same house with her corpse thinking she was asleep! I took desperate risks in life that a guided Child would not take! The fact that I am alive today is a miracle! I was killed! It was just God that still has a use of me that is why he brought me back alive! Look at me! Look at my body!
Tears filled her eyes as I ranted on. Baba came in and pulled me out of the room, I was crying and yelling on top of my voice, my mother was crying too.
To be continued