“Aisha” Mom called out my name in shock. “What have you done?” She asked a terrified me. “Mama I couldn’t bear it, you were helpless what if he had killed you” I replied while mom knelt before father who was already bleeding.
She touched his chest then felt his breathe underneath his nose. Mom turned to me in tears.
“He’s gone” she announced sitting on the floor.
“Look at what you’ve cause Abdulai!” Mom ranted on and on in hausa.
My heart beat continuously in fear as the thought of getting arrested crossed my mind . “Mama” I called out to mom, “Will I be taken by the police?” I asked and mom shook her head.
“The police can’t take you cause you didn’t do anything; I did it Aisha, I killed your father” she stood up looking at father’s lifeless body.
“Mama no” I objected, I didn’t want her to take the fall over something I did.
“Listen to me!!” She yelled grabbing me by the hand.
“I’ll let my in-laws know. There’ll blame me definitely and would want me arrested, but when the police comes for me, I’ll tell them I did it. I did it Aisha not you” she explained in tears.
“Baba was beating us to death Aisha, I feared for both our lives so I hit him on the head with the plate and he fell… don’t say anything more than that”
“Mama!!” I cried.
Just as Mama presumed, my paternal uncles and aunt didn’t waste time to accuse mom of killing their brother. They had her arrested despite her own side of the story. I rushed to Mrs. Zainab’s house despite the pains I felt from dad’s beating. “Aisha” she called out quite surprised to see me. She was about to leave for school.
“What happened dear?” She asked in a worried tone cause I was in tears. “Mama had been arrested”
“Why?” She asked, “My father is dead, I killed him mistakenly but Mama took the blame then uncle Ibrahim had her arrested.”
The information was too much for her to understand, I saw it on her face, she liked confused. “I don’t understand Aisha, you’ll never hurt anyone”
I explained it all to her. Her fiancé travelled out of town, but she had to call him back on a special favor.
Barrister Ajayi came back three days later. Mom had spent three days in jailed. Feeding would have been difficult but Mrs. Zainab made it easy.
I went to the police station along with Barrister Christopher. Minutes later, we were permitted to see mom in the visiting room. Mom looked pale.
I almost cried on seeing her. The police station only permitted me to give her food once.
I hugged her tightly. I missed her warmth, I missed her care. It hasn’t been the same without her. She sat on a chair, so did i but I sat opposite her looking back at a frowning policeman by the door. Then I kept her food on the table. “Good morning Ma” Barrister Christopher greeted then apologized for coming late. “I had a case I had to resolve in Lagos”
“It’s okay” mom replied with a gentle smile. “I hope you’re feeding well?” She asked almost in tears, “Mama, Aunty Zainab is taking care of me very well you don’t have to worry”
“Please take care of my daughter when I’m gone”
“Mama!” I cried out, “My husband’s brother will stop at nothing but to see me locked up”
“I know..” Barrister Christopher paused surveying the policemen. “I know what really happened, but it’s a easy case to win, the judge will just have to rule it under self-defense”
“My husband’s family”
“They have nothing against you, neither are there witnesses to what happened.” He argued. “This is a case of domestic violence and you’re a victim, you’ll win the case definitely, but there has to be a lot of exaggeration in order to win the judge and members of the jury’s heart”
“Exaggeration equals lieing” Mama Aisha assumed, “Not like we’re not doing already” I retorted, “I killed my father” I whispered and mom looked back to see if anyone was listening.
A month later, mom was released.
On the 16th day of October, I was six months gone. I was at home, cooking rice as being instructed by mom who went to the market to get ingredients for stew.
Suddenly I heard someone scream my name. I came out of the kitchen in fear. It was one of our church member, she was weeping. My mind pondered on what might be the cause.
“Esther, I hope no problem” I asked, and she tried to catch her breath.” What happened?”
“How will I let you know?” She said swinging her hands nervously. “Please tell me now, what happened?”
“A bus hit your mother a while ago” she answered with a pause, I was already out of my mind. “Your mom is dead” she blurted out in hausa and I screamed in pain.
My heart ached at the thought of it. I touched my chest as I could not contain the pain. I wondered why bad things had to happen to me alone.
I fell on the floor as I felt a sharp and burning pain in my waist and belly.
“Are you okay?” Esther asked.
“Jesus!” I shouted holding on to my belly then I grabbed a fistful of sand. Though I have never experienced how child birth felt like but I felt like the baby was coming.
I had my baby on the sadest day of my life.
“It’s a boy” Mrs.. Zainab announced just after I had woken up. I had fainted just after I heard the baby cry.
I wasn’t bothered about the baby. I only thought of mom. It felt like a bad dream to me. “Where’s Mama?” I asked and Mrs. Zainab looked down unhappy then she looked at me once more.
“She can’t be dead, she can’t be.” I scratched my hair dementedly Mama said she’s going to take care of my baby. She’ll come back, you’ll see” I added.
“She’ll come back, if not for anything, for my baby” I assured myself.
A name crossed my mind for the baby; Hope.
My father’s eldest brother took over dad’s property so I moved in with Mrs zainab. Weeks passed and nothing happened.
Mom didn’t show up, not even when I was expecting her to. I still found it hard to accept that she was dead and gone.
Mrs. Zainab and Barrister Chris grew worried, very worried..
They suggested I met a specialist but I declined their offer.I knew i was going crazy; I had to snap out of it, I had to accept mom’s death.
A month later we moved permanently to Lagos where I began a new life.