I have never been a wayward person, I’m still not but who will believe me. I mean I carry the mark of been loose and wayward. People talk behind my back calling me names and making derogatory remarks about me. But what can I do? Before I always defended myself but now I am mute.
I grew up with a father that was very protective of me because of the neighborhood we stay in and because he wanted me and needed me to be different. Popsy was a mechanic. Didn’t go beyond school certificate. He went ahead to train as a mechanic before he was able to stand on his own. With a workshop which a friend is sharing with him, he was able to make ends meet at least for both of us.
My mother is another story entirely. I was told that she is a mother of many children with many men of which my dad and I are part of. Daddy said he didn’t know she had married and given birth before and despite warnings from fellow apprentice about her been “Aja igboro”, he settled down with her because of his likeness for her. She however showed her true colour when she started selling tea when I was 6 months old against my dad’s approval. Dad said he caught her cheating with another man at another mechanic workshop after suspecting she was making more than she should. He wasn’t angry because she cheated on him, their relationship was already strained as she had stopped having sex with him and insulted him at every opportunity. He was livid that she took my less than 1 year old self on her sexual escapades. And that was the end of their life together as my mom moved on to another husband. And Daddy took full charge of me against all odds.
My dad washed me, cared for me, tutored me and protected me especially knowing Isale Taylor as an area where you are either bad or bad. We moved into another face me I face you house and that made Dad take stricter measures. He watched me like a hawk. When mummy left us, he told his younger sister to come and stay with me until I clocked 3 years and was enrolled in a school. During the 2 year period that Aunty Laide stayed with us, she was made to come to daddy’s shop immediately she finish cleaning me up and taking care of the house. Then we will go home together in the evening. This was daddy’s way of monitoring both of us and preventing any form of mistake.
When Aunty Laide left, I was enrolled into a nursery School. Dad will pick me up in the afternoon when I close and take me to his workshop where I’ll stay till we are ready to go home in the evening. The only time we stay at home almost all day is on Sunday. He refused to let me go to anyone’s house including family members despite their pleas that they would love to help him take care of me better because I am a girl. Dad blatantly refused and continued doing all he could for me. Aunty Chioma our neighbour always bought second hand and new clothes for me on request from him. When I started my period he asked for what I could use from a pharmacy and also got more information about the do’s and don’t’s of this important stage. He counselled me to the best of his ability though awkwardly.
He urged me to ask him any and every question that I want to. As I grew bigger, he moved his sleeping space to the sitting room. He said I deserve some form of privacy. He coached and pleaded with me not to disappoint him at all.
He didn’t remarry, instead he dated 2 area aunty’s who weren’t comfortable with how much my Dad dotted on me and when push came to shove he picked me instead.
As I wrote my WASSCE (West Africa Senior School Certificate Examination) exams, the road in Isale Taylor got the attention of the government and Daddy’s mechanic workshop was affected. With nowhere to turn to as that was his only source of income, he started going to sites to work as a labourer. After my WASSCE exams, I offered to assist in my own little way by working as sales girl which he condemned. So I continued staying at home waiting for my result.
“Bimpe,bimpe come o” our neighbour’s daughter Clara came knocking frantically on our door that sunny Thursday afternoon.
I jumped up with a start as I was deeply immersed in my Nora Roberts novel and went to open the door. “Wetin happen Clara” I enquired.
“Your papa dey outside. Dem just bring am now”
I ran outside and met my daddy lying down on the floor writhing in pains. “Daddy what is the matter? What happened to him?” I asked the men that brought him.
After narrating what happened, I implored them to accompany me to another clinic where may be he can get treated.
Daddy fell from the top floor of the building were he was working as a labourer for that day. He hit his back so hard that the only way he can be able to walk again is by a miracle. Now I have to take care of him and myself. How do I do that? My WASSCE result came out and it was a very good one. Though I had started giving up on school my dad hadn’t. I decided to go look for a job which he grudgingly agreed to as he realised we needed money to survive. Our room and a parlour has been reduced to room only. Friends had deserted him as he was no longer useful to them.
“Bimpe se exam JAMB to ko o ti Jade ni”?” (Is your JAMB result not out?” My dad asked one afternoon when I came back from work. JAMB is the popular name for UTME (UnifiedTetiary Matriculation Examination) in Nigeria
“O ti Jade” (It is out)
“Oo de so fun mi” (And you didn’t tell me) “Se o pass?” (Did you pass?”)
“Beeni sir. Mo pass. O ku kin lo si Ife lo ko exam to ku ti won ba ti fun wa no date” (Yes sir. I passed. All that is left is for me to go to Ife to write the remaining exam once we are given a date”
My dad’s joy knew no bounds. He loved and have always dreamed of my attending OAU and this dream was about to come through. Except for me it wasn’t.