Olu patiently watched his mother who kept staring at their blue tattered carpet. They couldn’t afford a rug. Even the ground had broken in places due to a long time use. He had tried several times to get a new carpet but what was the essence of a new carpet or a new rug when there was no food in the stomach. In fact, the only luck he and his mother had was that she inherited that house from her father since she was the only child, the only daughter. He too was the only child. Olu had complained to his mother times without number that her family line was cursed because he didn’t see any reason anyone should allow himself to be restricted to one child. They all gave birth to a child and die. What if the child dies? But his mother said her family members do not die until they’ve fulfilled their destiny of reproducing a child. To this effect, he had boldly promised her that he would sleep with as many ladies as possible and that he was sure to break his mother’s family’s curse.
And luckily for him, his plan worked twice. Unfortunately for him, the baby of the first one died and the other lady aborted the child without his consent. At first when he caused commotion for the lady’s family, they said they aborted the baby because he was was not rich, but after his mother encouraged his commotion , they finally opened up their most cherished box of worms: the girl’s mother got a revelation from a herbalist or was it a pastor, he wasn’t even sure of which. It was her message that really ate deep into his understanding. She said his family had been cursed that immediately her daughter gave birth to a baby, Olu would died. And she wasn’t ready to allow her daughter because a widow at a tender age. From then, Olu had made sure he abstained from Women.
‘ Maami talk na’, he said as she kept changing her sitting position.
She was a black fair woman, her complexion could be used to vividly describe porridge. In fact, but for the semblance he had with her people would have questioned her being his true mother.
‘ Mighty, I can’t do it’.
‘ Maami, think of the money and the fame…’
‘ What if she catches me?’
‘ She can’t’.
‘ How will I look like her? How will I even look at her?’
‘ She can’t and even if you’re caught she will only let us go’.
‘ I don’t…’
‘ Maami look at her picture’, Olu said hitting the newspaper. He pointed it at her. The paper was ruffled from his several attempts to reread the article. ‘ Look at the Governor’s wife picture… She looks like you. Immediately I saw her advert that she was looking for her mother, I knew if you were not her mother, you would be her mother’ sister’.
‘ You know I don’t even have a family member?’
‘ Maybe, your father gave to another child’.
‘ That’s a lie. My father was never promiscuous’.
‘ Forget that side o Maami. He didn’t need to be promiscuous. All it needs is a night of carelessness and a baby is created’.
‘ Shut up that thing you call your mouth. So you have the effrontery to call my father, your grandfather a promiscuous person’.
‘ See.. Leave that side, let’s talk about what’s on ground. Even if she won’t take you in. We’ll lie that you were her mother’s sister. That you used to take care of her as a baby because her mother was a prostitute until her mother took her away from you. That you never knew what happened afterwards’.
‘You don’t know anything. Why will someone say she’s looking for her mother on a newspaper? Something somewhere is definitely wrong.’
‘Maami, nothing is wrong. Just believe’, Olu said and he felt his anger increasing. He hit the paper hard. ‘ Do you want to remain in this poverty-stricken lifestyle? You and my father brought me into this world to suffer abi. This is a rare opportunity and you want to squander it because of your fear. I thought they said a good mother must run to her child whenever she hear his cry. I’m tired of living this life o’.
‘ Shut up! Are you the one that will face the fire? Are you the one that would do the lying?’
He knew her. Whenever she raised her voice at him, she was already considering his offer but was too pompous to show it.
‘ I’ll see what I can do’.
‘ Please accept now so that I’ll know if I’ll proceed to next stage’.
‘ See… You don’t hurriedly drink a hot tea o. Patience. I’ll try it. I pray I’m not disgrace’.
Olu jabbed the air. ‘ Yes. Maami I know you won’t be disgraced’.
He drew back in his seat and went deep into the next phase: the planning phase. Things went fast. He got all the necessary information he needed in four weeks and he prepped his mother as if she was a little child. She herself took it in and he was seriously happy.
This particular happiness had eluded him since he was a child and he was happy to reignite its fire. When he was younger, he never had a day without fighting someone or being called names because he had no father and because he was fat. Was it a sin to be fat? He didn’t create himself. God did. If all men had access to God, he would have told God his mind regardless of his power and dominion.
On the d-day, when they were ushered in despite the numerous people outside. Maybe, a lot of people had tried to con the former first lady because they had to pass through a rigorous test which they surely passed. The way people looked at his mother, she was sure to make it. He saw many of them whisper and point towards their direction. He relished that moment.
After they had been seated for close to five minutes, the first lady came into the sitting room. He watched his mother fidget and that got on his nerve. He gritted. If she screwed up their chance before they even got it, he would never forgive her. The first lady was extremely beautiful, tall, straight and smelt good.
‘ Good afternoon ma…
His mother burst tears. ‘ I’m sorry I can’t do this’.
Olu was bewildered by her. He rose from his seat in anger and pointed at her. ‘ You are a disgrace of mother. After everything…. After everything… I don’t expect her to even…’
He hissed and marched out of the room, knocking aside a maid that was bringing soft drinks to them.