“What is it Ginika?” my mother answered angrily opening her door. “What is it that the whole neighborhood will not rest?” she asked walking past me and my son and sitting down in the sitting room.
I was beyond shocked at her behaviour. This woman obviously cannot be my mother I thought wildly.
“Mama, Ebube told you he was not feeling well today and instead of you to get him drugs, you asked him to go and lie down?” My voice rose in anger and tears sprang to my eyes. “When I got back, he was beyond hot and had a terrible headache. What kind of a grandmother are you? How callous can you get? This is my son, Mama. Your first and only grandchild ……” I just broke down angrily.
Ebube lifted his head from my shoulder and cleaned my check repeatedly.
“Don’t cry Mummy, please. I will get better I promise” he said pleadingly looking at my face.
My mother who had a sneer on her face all this while just hissed and changed the channel on the television as if she had no care in the world.
“How am I supported to buy drugs for your son? She asked suddenly turning towards Ebube and I and standing up angrily from the settee.“That boy has a father, it is his father’s job to cater for him. Me Alice, will never train another man’s child. Tufiakwa! I have told you, return that boy to his father and start your life again. But no! You want to win mother –of- the-year award carrying that boy about like an albatross. Look at you. You look like a forty –five year old woman. When was the last time you had money? Made your hair like a young lady, did your nails? You have given up on life simply because you lost your job and your marriage. please I don’t have money to treat your son. I barely have enough to feed this family. What do you want me to do? Kill myself for you and your son? Ngwa, see me. Kill me and have peace. Nonsense” my mother was huffing at the end of her rant. Breathing heavily, she sat down again ignoring my shocked face.
“My son’s name is Oluebube and he stays with me ….” I started when Chinyere walked into the sitting room with a perplexed look on her face.
“What is happening?” she asked looking from mother to me “why are you shouting Mama?” she asked mother when no one answered her.
“Is it not your useless unemployed discarded wife of a sister” my mother hissed contemptuously. “She has the effrontery to question me because her son told me he is sick and I did not buy medicine for him” she stared challengingly at me while I clutched my son to me and wordlessly looked on.
It was almost as if I was having an out – of- body experience. I must be dreaming I thought frantically. I really must be.
“Sister, it is nobody’s fault that you lost your job and then your husband walked out on you leaving you to cater for your child alone. Don’t transfer your frustrations to us all. We did not cause it” She told me in an arrogant manner. “However, Mama, Ebube is a grandson of this family no matter what. His health is important too. I gave you some money last night. Quite a reasonable amount. Why didn’t you buy drugs for him? Please don’t be mean to your own grandchild.” This she said to Mama who wanted to answer her angrily but Chinyere ignored her and turned to me and Ebube.
She put her hands in her jeans pocket and brought out two 1000 naira notes and offered then to me “Go and buy drugs for him sister. He is my nephew and I won’t be here and see him sick” I took the money, murmured a thank- you to her, lifted Ebube again as he got down from my body during my mother’s tirade and made to go out of the door when the voice of Mrs. Maduka who lived in the next compound sounded near our door…..