IREMIDE; A Journey To a Name: By Peace Amos

It wasn’t the first time nor was it the second.

Tears rolled down her cheeks as she stared at her children who were bent on knowing who was smarter by playing a game of mentioning countries in the world and their flag.

She would not have been moved to tears if she had been in her husband’s house but here she is not divorced but separated.

“Mummy, Darasimi is cheating, come and warn him oo,” Feyisara said, bringing her to reality.

Quickly she rubbed off the tears. 

“Dara, be fair, you will be a good boy that way” her voice spoke in response. She wanted to go on with the response that a fair person would love everyone around him very well, that a fair person would consider the feelings of others, that a fair person would know what it is to run away from a parent’s home to marry because of love, but she had to stop and let them enjoy their game.

As she walked past the aisle of the house she could hear giggles from the third room. It was Denrele and his wife laughing off to Denrelre’s joke she had thought because he was such a jester.

This would have been her but she would not have been living in a” face me and face you house”, it would have been a flat, perhaps a bungalow with each of her children owning their rooms but there she was hinged on surviving with her kids in a single room.

She had to walk faster else she would be plagued by their happiness not because she didn’t want them to be happy but because she would have also been happy if her husband loved her as he claimed.

She got to the kitchen to begin the preparation of dinner. If she was not this early, the other tenants would come to cook as well but it would be uncomfortable as while they used gas she had the local stuff that uses charcoal, it would sting all their eyes and hisses would have rolled in like water, especially from Mummy Tomisin the woman whose space was near hers. 

The other day she told her to throw the coal part away and take an instalment of buying gas because she claimed she was being choked. Even though it is a lie, Olamide the young lady that stays beside her would have supported it because mummy Tomisin was her godmother.

She would even reel out prayers of provision for her and how she would live to take care of her children. Whether the prayers were fake or not she had to reply somehow else she would be picked on as keeping malice and quick to anger.

Slowly, the flames from the coal burned and she immediately placed her pot of water intending to make beans. She didn’t know if this type of beans would cook very fast but she had to pray it does before everyone comes out to make dinner as well. “Who knows one can pray for beans to get done faster “, she thought in her mind laughing sadly at her predicament.

“It is not that beans are bad “, she consoled herself knowing deep down that it was a flick but she had to. However, the voice of Dara broke into her busy mind. 

” Mummy beans again? he said, arching his brows in disgust. Dara was right, it had been the fourth time they were eating beans in that week and he was tired of it.

” Mummy, don’t mind him, let him not eat it when it’s done na, ” Feyishara replied to her brother. She was an angel, a solace to her troubled mind.

Dara had a striking resemblance to his dad, he took his lips and his eyes as well as his walking steps. She loved both her kids but sometimes, she wished to be ignorant of what Kunle her husband looked like but Dara was nature’s way to have him stuck in her face.

“Don’t worry Dara, we would add crayfish to this one”, she said and she got a smile. She had tried to look for ways to make the beans differently. Sometimes, she puts cowskin she had soaked the day before, other times, she makes them take it with garri. It was only on good sales days she had them eat it with bread or plantain. 

She thanked Mama Tee, for suggesting crayfish to her even though she could only get two hundred naira worth. It made both Feyishara and Darasimi’s eyes shine in excitement of what taste the beans would give that night.

Just as she was about to sit on the small stool she used and continue fanning the charcoal for fast cooking, Bimpe called her name from outside.

” Come to the kitchen, I’m here”, her voice notified Bimpe of where she was.

“This is good, it’s everyone that is cooking today,” her friend teased.

“Good afternoon ma”, Feyishara and Darasimi greeted her in unison. 

” How are you doing, my babies? hope you are good and you are not disturbing your mother, ” she replied. That has been her response every time, she didn’t want them to stress her friend and just as she finished saying this, their mother would defend them telling her how they had helped her, even if it was the day before or even two weeks ago.

She didn’t want them to feel like they were a burden. Frankly, they were, but they didn’t make themselves and who would have thought that they would end up as they did?

“Have you heard that Feyisara, is the queen of Blue House for their inter-house sport?”, Bimpe asked after the children had excused their mother.

“No, she didn’t say anything, ” she replied, looking confused.

” Eniola, told me today after she came back from school Bimpe told her, referring to her daughter.

It didn’t take long before tears found themselves on her face again. Once more Feyishara has decided to be quiet about what she needs, especially because it involves money.

“I guessed that she might not tell you that is why I came, we must do something for her and make her happy”, Bimpe said and nodded her head agreeing with her.

She has not been able to get her a birthday gift since she was four because that was when she left her husband’s house and Dara was only a baby then. She only tried to make it memorable by saving up to take them to an amusement park to ride a five hundred naira horse wagon each and lurk around to play.

“I think I will borrow from those people”, she said and her friend’s face looked at her in pity. In a bid to help, she volunteered to be the guarantor.

“The God that makes children always a blessing would ease everything out”, Bimpe prayed. Her Amen to the prayer was resounding she had always thought maybe she did not pray enough and if God had heard another person praying for her maybe the prayer would be answered. At that moment, it brought peace to her soul that someone still cared for her.

Bimpe bidded her goodbye not after applying pressure to fan the charcoal and indeed the sound of the beans boiling notified them it was cooking and had enough fire.

This day, she finished cooking very early but only if she knew that she might not succeed in this adventure three days after.

” You know I told you to take instalments, but you won’t listen, don’t let me start using a third eye, Mummy Tomisin scolded her and all she could do was apologise and she opted to carry her stuff outside even though the landlady would be against it.

She didn’t stay long in that mood, it was Feyishara fitting day, she even made yam and fried stew to grace the occasion. Her children were happy, they didn’t remember that it was meant to be yam and egg for their growing body, only the snare of Olamide and hisses from Mummy Tomisin had taken note of the wrong diet. It wasn’t their problem, they only wanted to gossip about her.

The inter-house was a day to remember for her. Feyisara Sports House won the dressing competition. Her gown was magnificent; she spent more than she had ever done on food for the dress. As she sat and stared at her child as she made the Queen walk, it was then she remembered that this was the first time she would be spending money on something that would not bring profit in any way. Her mind told her to sell it later on, but the attachment that Feyishara had to the cloth was daunting and the look in her eyes the Wednesday she tried it was something she wanted to continue to see and time she looked at the cloth.

” She is the one, that lady in a grey blouse,” an angry voice said behind loud enough for her to hear. It wasn’t that she was the only one looking at the Queen walk and the March past. It was just that only her clothes were that dull compared to other parents but her face made it look better. She was a beautiful woman.

Suddenly, they tapped her and she saw that it was those she had borrowed one from.

” Ma, it is not yet one month for me to start returning the money”, she said, genuflecting at the intervals of her words. 

” It is now when? come with us Jare”, the woman said and she didn’t hesitate as it was starting to draw attention to her.  She wanted her daughter to shine not her. She followed them to the office and she was kept away, she begged and begged but they didn’t consider her. It was not until 6 pm that they confirmed that there was a mistake. It was the clerk who had written the wrong date on her debt papers. They apologised to her but she didn’t wait to hear it, running home to meet her kids. If not for rumours and gossip that spread faster Bimpe would have not known that she was to help her friend’s children as she came late to the inter-house sport. Bimpe had lied to the kids that their mother had gone somewhere and though it didn’t sit well, they were quick to throw away any disturbing thought and look to gloss over the package their school gave them. This was the incident that made her cook late.

The next morning, after her kids had gone to school she had gone to her stall to arrange fruits for that was what she sells and sometimes it moved fast while other times it didn’t. This is because people prefer to shop at a stall where there are more goods than with her since she only could afford a small amount of goods. She couldn’t buy too much, so she would not be at a loss. Nature however had smiled on her market and people were getting bananas, pineapples and all that she had showcased.

It stopped running customers around noon. She was used to it, so she decided to sit back and relax for a moment and also to think about her life.

She remembered the day she met Kunle, he had stared at her like she was Oluweri, full of unspeakable beauty and their love bloomed fast. It was the type that burned and consumed hearts so fast that senses went out the door. This had led to Feyishara’s pregnancy and her parents did not receive it so well but she opted to live with Kunle.

Three years later, they had Dara and things were going well, in fact, they had gone to lay the foundation of the house they wanted to build just two weeks after Kunle got the land. It was as if a fairy tale would begin on her but change passed over their house and marked it for himself.

It started with Kunle keeping late nights, drinking and afterwards carrying women. She did endure but it was too much for her fragile loving heart. Kunle’s mother even made things worse and she couldn’t stay. She left and there she was selling fruits.

” Hello madam, give me a crate of Apple”, a voice said. she didn’t bother to look up as she thought it was another mind trick where she imagined customers buying off her goods at once and held the posture of her hands under her jaw. The type that shows an obvious thinking mode.

“Madam…” the voice dragged and she looked up. It was a big vehicle and it was a real woman. She rushed to answer her and on getting closer it was Farade, the girl she had helped write a proposal while they were in university. The proposal took her outside the country and separated them. She would have kept the relationship if she was living well but she didn’t.

Farade shocked to her bones, came down in tears and wondered what had happened to her dear friend. They hugged and cried and she didn’t hold back telling her friend her sad tale. 

She had been labouring for her kids but little did she know that nature had laboured round to bring Farade, so much that it made her stall that place she wanted to patronise. It was her fairy tale but it had a different plot. Farade returned the favour she had received massively. 

That night as she pondered on all that happened, she didn’t know if it was because of her kids or because of her, or all that happened, but here is the reward of something. It was too much joy that kept her awake, it was not sadness nor tears. This was the first of many sleepless nights to come. Prayers of thanksgiving, a new house, a new shop, a change of wardrobe and many things would keep her awake later.

She would laugh in places she cried, she would win in the places she had lost, and she would rewrite her story. Her name was Iremide after all.