Monday, February 26, 2007

Mummy Sunday 12

Inspired by one of my favorite bloggers LondonBuki, this is my twelfth Mummy Sunday post and the third installment of the “When You Weren’t There Mummy” series!!! I dedicate this one to all those who try knowing the odds are stacked against them… that’s real courage

Foiled Escape Attempt

Dear Mommy,

The worst part about the moving all the time was probably the fact that we never knew when it was going to happen. There were no tearful goodbyes with friends that would miss us.. no address exchanges… nothing… We’d perfected the art of temporary friendships Fire and I. Whenever it took his fancy, our father would tell us to pack up all our stuff, we’d get into his car… the loud burgundy Volvo and he’d drop us wherever was to be our new home for however long.

When I was 8 or 9, and I’d just finished my first year of high school, he took us from Lagos to our Imo State village for Christmas. I don’t remember that particular holiday. But I remember me and Fire finding ourselves in Abia State right after. He’d taken us to his oldest sister Aunty Odinaka Ibe and gone the way of Lawyer Fathers… AWAY!!!

He left Fire and I at the Ibe home for months and once again, we got used to living without him.

Aunty Odinaka was a renowned ‘fish wholesaler’ in Aba. Some of my clearest memories of that house on Ngwa road was the smell of dry fish and my strange admiration/ attraction for my cousin Alozie.

We were supposed to be enrolled in school but they were all so busy. Aunty Odinaka was busy ‘wholesaling’ her fish, her husband Uncle Obinna was busy sharing the ‘Jehovah Witness Kingdom Hall Good Message’ and assisting his wife with their family fish. Their oldest daughter Aunty Onyinye was busy in England marrying a man who hated and rejected her son from a previous marriage. Their second oldest daughter Aunty Elizabeth was busy loving her poor chemist husband, running his shop and raising his children. Their oldest son Uncle Chidi was busy giving his parents a heart attack by getting jailed for selling drugs and taking pictures in the bathtub with white girls in South Africa. Their third daughter Aunty Mma was busy worrying about her black lips and registering for yet another year… even after 7 years studying for the same undergraduate degree. Their second son Uncle Amadi was busy in his polytechnic ironing his starched shirts and worrying if his girl ‘friend’ would eventually agree to be his ‘girlfriend’. Their last son Alozie was just busy.

So you see everybody was just a tad bit 'busy' in that house.

They loved us like the family that we were… but there’s always a difference you know…

The house on Ngwa Road was never home.

But we did get extra chunks of fish in our food, lots of people to bring us back market treats and every once in a while… a chance to see and participate in the market madness.

And unlike the flat in Lagos, in Aba, we never got a whipping for going outside to play with other kids… in fact we were encouraged.

This was the second home we’d ever had where we felt a sense of communal prayer. The entire Ibe Family came together every morning at 6am to pray and share bible passages before everybody went about their business.

I don’t remember any distinct days or distinct activities… just a blurry passing of time.

THEN YOU CAME WITH YOUR LIGHT-SKINNED MALE FRIEND TO VISIT

At that point, we still had some memories of you… but you were slowly becoming the woman with the beautiful clothes and the luminuous skin and the red lips and the warm smile and the hot tears.

You cried everytime we spoke Englishwe’d completely lost our British accents in less than 3 years

You cried everytime we spoke Igbowe spoke the Igbo of our grandparents

You cried because it seems like we’d forgotten the part of our lives that had involved fish and chips and tea and biscuits after a brisk walk around our flat in Lewisham.

That was partly true, as life for us had become an invasive fish smell.

THEN YOU TOLD THEM YOU WANTED TO TAKE US SHOPPING

They gave Fire and I 4 escorts to make sure you didn’t abduct us.

To them you were the scarlet woman as:

'Good women' weren’t supposed to walk away even when their very life was at stake

'Good women' weren’t supposed to try to be independent and achieve something for themselves and their children

... 'Good women' weren’t supposed to leave their children

Our father had tried to fill our heads with tales of what a horrid woman you were… but he forgot that you were our earliest memory of warmth and heart and cheer… and that no one since then had come remotely close to reproducing that… himself included.

I still remember you holding our hands that day and trying to hide your tears as we walked along that dusty Ngwa Road strip. Then you hailed a taxi… and got in with your friend.

I can still recall the moment you started dragging Fire into the cab and tried to get me in as well...

THEN...

BEFORE WE KNEW WHAT WAS HAPPENING...

AUNTY ONYINYE RAN UP TO THE CAB AND PULLED US BOTH OUT…

ESCAPE ATTEMPT FOILED!!!

I still remember the pain and torment in your eyes as your cab zoomed off to horrible insults from Aunty Onyinye and our escorts.

………. 2 days later… our father moved us to another place... we never again lived in that house on Ngwa Road...

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

FIRST!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

WOW...is all I can say.How did you eventually escape?

didi said...

i have an aunt that has a similar story

Diary of a Mad Soulful Sista said...

sad. sad. sad!


(i shall now go back to read the post so i can give a honest and informed comment)

Diary of a Mad Soulful Sista said...

(now that i have read it,...)
sad. sad. sad!
lmao at ur aunt or cousin worrying about her black lips
naija life no dey easy. ppl have lived in such confusing and traumatic situations that they dont even think right anymore! how in the name of fukry can a woman think its right to stop another woman from taking her own kids? lawd haf marrrcy on some ppl! hell faya go dey too full o!


(P.S i just got the sudden urge to ask for fogiveness... Lord, pls forgive me all my sins and accept me into heaven when i die. like de "yooba" ppl dey tok... KO RUKO MI SINU IWE IYE! lol okay, now i know i'll get into heaven)

olat said...

At what age did you finally get to live with your mum and how did it happen?

Overwhelmed Naija Babe said...

@Anonymous: It’s pretty had to give gifts to anonymous commenters cos somebody could claim identity and receive the fantastic gift that I planned to give you for coming first… but I’m sure we can figure something out… your prize today is a steaming cup of hot chocolate and a butter croissant cos there’s a bloody snow storm outside…. You like? My dear the story of the escape is a very long one that couldn’t even end if I started telling it in the comment section… but rest assured… escape we did… I was about 13 and it was about time!!!

@Didi: It’s pretty amazing how much we can see ourselves in other peoples lives and stories…

@Diary of a Madsoulful sista: olori Beske!! So you didn’t read the story first and you were yarning sad sad sad… which part of it was sad before you read? My font? My blog outlook… you berra mind yourself oh lady!!! Lmao… that cousin of mine.. she killed me cos she had really dark(black?) lips and was always researching what procedure she could do to lighten them. Strange enough, at the time… black lipliner was all the rage so she didn’t have to bother wasting any money cos she had it naturally… but I guess it’s like they say… you always want what you don’t have. My mom never forgave my cousin Aunty Onyinye for stopping her because she’d never have stopped her if she wanted to take her children… after all she carried us in her womb for 9 months abi? lol@hell faya go full… that’s jokes… PRAI PRAI PRAI PRAISE THA LORD!!! This lady you actually prayed for the first time in how many years self? No wonder Canadian Nepa almost took light two hours ago… lol… God was trying to tell us that something extraordinary had just happened in Canada… MadSoulSIsta had just prayed!!! Abeg next time you’re talking to God… please bring up my name sha… me self I want to secure a place in heaven!

@Olat: We ‘escaped’ our father and Nigeria when I was 13/4… but I never got to really live with my mother till about a year later… it was really hard adjusting initially but now… everything is great… stick around and you’ll read more about it cos it’s honestly too long a tale to be really told in a sentence or two.

Nilla said...

This pikin you're funny....LOL @ "Their second son Uncle Amadi was busy in his polytechnic ironing his starched shirts and worrying if his girl ‘friend’ would eventually agree to become to ‘girlfriend’. "

Take care Missy!

Poetic Justice said...

Ndo! omo you make my heart ache!

Nyemoni said...

Wow.. That Aunty of yours is summin.. Despite having sent 4 escorts, she still followed you guys. Thank God your mama finally got you outta there against all odds...

LondonBuki said...

ONB, you've been through a lot o!

Thank God for where you and your family are right now...

You were in high school at 8/9? Wow!

Take care and have a fab week...

omohemi Benson said...

I'm glad that you and your mom&fire are back together now.

It is a sad story but I like the way you tell it.
I admire your mother's courage,I admire your strenght,even as a child to hold on,when others would have given up.

I like this part
To them you were the scarlet woman as: 'Good women' weren’t supposed to walk away even when their very life was at stake 'Good women' weren’t supposed to try to be independent and achieve something for themselves and their children ... 'Good women' weren’t supposed to leave their children Our father had tried to fill our heads with tales of what a horrid woman you were… but he forgot that you were our earliest memory of warmth and heart and cheer… and that no one since then had come remotely close to reproducing that… himself included

Nice post.

Calabar Gal said...

Nice Post. Hope you havent given out ur anonymity with too many details like the house on ngwa road.

High school at 8/9. That was fast!! So how did ur mum finally get custody of ur and fire?

bimbylads said...

lol.. ur funny sha..but deep.. oya nooww continue the story..!

Overwhelmed Naija Babe said...

@Nilla: lol… Uncle Amadi didn’t think the things he did at the time were funny oh… I mean you just needed to see this guy plotting and spitting Shakespeare that he wanted to use for the girl… it was a little funny now that I think about it…

@Poetic Justice: Thanks mami… I guess the things I went through are shaping me into the person that I am?

@Nyemoni: My dear the thing happened like action film as if she’d delayed for only 5 seconds… we would’ve been long gone… but oh no.. she had to come with her detective work and ruin things… but yes thank God we eventually did leave sha

@LondonBuki: Me I’ve been through a lot? Maybe… but I salute you every single day for the person that you are… I mean your courage astounds me… Salut! Yeah I started secondary school at 8… and graduated when I was 13… it was an interesting journey to say the least. Thanks… have a fantastic week yourself mami

@Omohemi Benson: I’m really glad for that fact too cos I don’t know what life would’ve been if I was still back there in Nigeria with my father. Thanks for your words sha… looking back on it now… I know Fire and I did a couple of things just to keep the lights burning bright… but when that’s the only way of life you know… it’s not courage… it’s just surviving.

@Calabar Gal: Thanks mami… No I changed the name of streets and people. No friend will find me out based on the story I told cos I have told none of them in real life. In the slight chance that anybody from my extended family reads this (really slim chance cos they’re not ‘computer people’) I couldn’t care less cos they’re not part of my life at this point and can do nothing that will affect/ hurt me. Yeah… I started high school at 8… it was pretty interesting but tough sometimes(oh not the book and reading part cos I got that down… it was the social and emotional part of things). My dear the story of my mom getting us is a long one to tell… but to make it as short as possible… we eventually ran away.

@Bimbylads: lol… na Sunday Sunday medicine be this oh… I no want make you overdose oh babe!

zaiprincesa said...

babes...this is so sad...You don try oh!...

Bitchy said...

Wow! I can't believe this actually happened to you. How scary it all must have been. Your aunt's family sounds rather crazy indeed. Hehe.. hope you're well xxx

36 INCHES OF BROWN LEGS said...

babe ur eye don see o!!!

Overwhelmed Naija Babe said...

@Zaiprincesa: I’ve missed you oh babe you and this your come one day disappear two weeks stuff… I’m sha not feeling it oh… Here’s to what the future brings…

@Bitchy: They weren’t really crazy… just ‘busy’… but these things are meant to shape us right? I don’t know… all I can say is thank God I’m out of it now…

@36 Inches: mami I hope you’re having fun in Ghana and drinking lots of pineapple juice… and when you can eat coconuts.. and banku and kenke and wakye and nkatie burgers and so on and so forth… come back with plenty gist oh!!!

bhookey84 said...

wow, uve been thru so muchhhhh but u r still so strong, what dont kill u makes u stronger, God blesssss...ure so funny tho

bhookey84 said...

its funny tho cause i have an escape story too even tho mine went thru but then they came to drag me back , long story lol

Idemili said...

Wow, your story is sad.
I found your blog through the comments you left on Vera's, about the 'Corn beef Cereal'? Girl, you're crazy! That must have been the Jekyll in you 'cos I wet myself.

Overwhelmed Naija Babe said...

@Bhookey84: Thanks for the kind words mami… God bless you too and I really hope to hear your story one day too… but in your own time…

@Idemili: lol@ that corn beef cereal thing… don’t mind me jare… I can be silly sometimes… I’ve actually never seen your name on my blog before so I’ll go check you out sha…

AbujaBabe said...

Babes I dont even know what to say.. I admire people like you who dont give up on life Thank God your all together now Thank God!!..
Keep keeping on B!!!

Ciao Hun..xx

chainreader said...

Wow!

What can i say? You've definitely used your eyes to see the back of your ears. Or is it head? I have problems with igbo sayings, as i have just illustrated.

How you doing, babe?

Bubbles said...

I can't imagine what it must have felt like to u and ur sister. i have a friend who went through something similar with his brothers. His mother was finally able to steal them away though.

Favoured Girl said...

Girl, you have been through a trying childhood. I'm happy you came out of it all, and you are with the person who loves you and your sister best - your mum! Do continue telling the story.

PS: I can't believe you finished high school at 13!

Overwhelmed Naija Babe said...

@AbujaBabe: Thanks sunshine… I appreciate that

@Chainreader: Mami it’s been a long time when we see your eye…. Hope you’re cool sha and everything is everything on your end. lol@Igbo sayings… I thought it was only me oh… everybody laughs at me when I try to translate those things directly from Igbo… I’m alright sha… just a little bit of fuckery going on in my life… but like Gloria Gaynor said… I will survive!

@Bubbles: My mom finally succeeded but only after years of trying… and the special grace of God…

@Favoured Girl: My dear no be small… but I know there are people who have been through worse too… so I’m just glad I’m where I am right now… Thanks mami… yeah… the finishing the high school at 13 wasn’t the hard part… it was the stuff that surrounded it…

The Life of a Stranger called me said...

Inspite of all you went through - you are still here to tell the tale. Thank God for you and His mercies. Have a blessed weekend.

Rolake said...

dis rili got me thinkin.... wat u guyz went thru...mehn! i cant say i noe how u felt...cos i dont... but.. wat can i say.... tis rili sad.... bout to cry.