Losing you!


What would our world be without the simple two-syllable named being – Mother {nnem in Igbo language}. I remember your screams and cries when we learned that Chinonso had been washed away by the rain and we became incomplete, from half a dozen to five only. Floating as fresh as ever is your smile as you read my letter apologising for constantly bedwetting at the age of thirteen. The many councils of children you called to decide the fate of a defaulting child. ‘What shall we do with Uche who has acquired the habit of picking from others?’ you asked and when we replied ‘pardon her this last time’ you acquiesced and Uche got one more chance before the gentle whips of your cane. You never kept a cane, nnem. One simply materialized when the need arose and it did so rarely. I laugh now as I laughed many years ago as your palm landed on my back because I had been very naughty, only to end up crying when the after effects of the slap reached home. You never flogged us, lengthy sermons was not your method either. Short pieces of advice here and there, a good and strong example and plenty of prayers were your style. Who can forget the delectable cat fish pepper soups you usually made to celebrate one of our small victories – first prize here, a coming of age there? Those bags and corners where you hid your little everyday things; remember how we used to joke that one day you will forget where you hid those things away from our prying eyes and grasping hands. Who except you will ask me perpetually to visit home? Who but you will accuse me of forgetting her? Who will weep on the phone when I playfully throw back that same accusation at her? Very few fears I have and none of them deep at all. One only I am sure of – losing you! God, keep her long for me.


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