Ranti headed to her mother in-law to report her husband to the old woman.
Ranti: “agh, it’s even good, you are here”. She said to her husband who was with his mother at the time of her arrival at the mother’s house. “Good afternoon, Mama!” She greeted, bending her knees courteously.
Mama Agba: “good afternoon Ranti. How are the children?”
Ranti: “they are fine. Mama, see what your son did to me just because I asked for money for food from him”. She wept as she pointed to the injury at the corner of her eye.
Mama Agba: “hmmmmm, but why did you do this to your wife, Aremu?”
Aremu: “I did not hit her. She held my danshiki, so, I pushed her a bit to free myself from her and she missed her stand and hit her head against the wall. I did not raise my hand against her”. He explained looking away from his mother and wife.
Mama Agba: “toh, but, you should not have pushed her in the first place. You should have been more careful, you know women are very delicate”.
Aremu: “she did her worse too now. She stained my danshiki with the blood on her eye”. He grumbled and his mother snapped back at him.
Mama Agba: “igba yen nko? And so? Does that mean you should kill her? Just look at your wife, she is a nursing mother and she has not eaten since morning. It is not good nah. Abi?
Aremu: “I told her I don’t have money. If I have, will I not give them to eat? After all I can’t watch my children starve to death”.
Mama Agba: “dake enu e! Shut up! You this shameless thing. How can you be this wicked? Since you know you are not ready or don’t have money to take care of a woman, why do you marry her, not to talk of impregnating her?” Aremu, looked face down like a little child being scolded for wrongdoing. “What are you passing on to your children, when they see you do this to their mother? My daughter, it is you I will beg. Please forgive him”. The old woman said apologetically to bury the hatchet between the couple.
Ranti: “No wahala, he should give us money for food. Lo ba tan”. She said, facing her palms up.
Mama Agba: “o ya, give her the money she’s asking for”. She ordered her son.
Aremu: “I don’t have money, abi how else do I say I don’t have money? After all, I can’t watch my children starve to death”.
Ranti: “don’t mind him o. He is lying. He does not have money, but he is going out. Is it stone he is going to spend where he is going to?” she asked rhetorically, eyeing her husband and hissing.
Mama Agba: “that is true. You can’t be this dressed and claim not to have money. After all it is something you will spend where you are going to. Abi is it stone you want to go and spend there ni?”
Aremu: “agh, e gba mí ! Somebody should save me from these two women o. I said I don’t have money. I will sha not watch my daughter to starve to death, even if I don’t want to give my wife money”.
Ranti: “you, swear you don’t have money”. She said, pointing her finger at him.
Aremu: “woman, watch your tongue. Don’t provoke me the more”. He warned her, looking rather upset at his wife.
Ranti: “what do you want to do? Beat me again? It is even good, do it in your mother’s presence, so, that she will know the kind of person you are”. Aremu stood up and left angrily.
Mama Agba: “see my daughter, this man is my son and I know him very well. He is very stubborn. But, don’t worry, I will give you some food stuffs for you and your daughter”. She said as she stood up to get them food items from a sack close to her cane bed. Ranti thanked her and left for her house afterwards.
Ranti spoke to her daughter as she arrived home.
Ranti: “Fatou, can you see how your father is treating us now? Shé o dáa bayi? Is his actions to us fair?” she asked her daughter.
Fatou: “no Maami”. She replied, shaking her head sideways.
Ranti: “thank God you know. I want you to be serious and watchful when the time to get married comes, open your eyes wide to see”. She said, opening her eyes wide. “But before then, you must go to school, become somebody worthwhile in life, before you think of marriage and don’t allow any man toss you around like tennis ball. And I pray Allah will guide you”. She advised her daughter, pointing her first finger upward.
Fatou: “mo ti gbo maami. I shall do as you say. Ameen! Ranti prepared some stew with boiled rice for her and her daughter.
Ranti: “imagine! Someone has not eaten since morning and that never-do-well man is telling me he does not have money, when he knows I am breastfeeding a baby. Does he want us to starve to death? I know my God will vindicate me one day”. She said as she scooped some rice into the plastic bowl for her daughter.
The mother and daughter were almost done with their meal of rice and stew when a neighbour knocked on their door.
Ranti: “see, omo, I will keep singing to your ears until it becomes familiar with your ears that watch before you marry. And don’t ever think of being a liability to any man”. She said, pulling her own ears. “And I will make sure I try my best to give you the best I can afford in life”. She said as she dipped a spoonful of rice into her mouth and with a tear falling off her left cheek and looking away to avoid being seen by her daughter.
Fatou: “I have heard you maami. Stop crying. I will do anything you ask me to do”. She said, wiping the tear on her mother’s cheek. The room was submerged in silence for a few seconds as mother and daughter exchanged some non-verbal emotional feelings. They looked into each other’s eyes with millions of thoughts flashing across the mother’s mind. The atmosphere of the room became still as though it were told to give honour to their loud silence. However, the silence was broken by a knock on the door.
Mama Fatou: “yes, ta ni yen? Who is that? Enter”. She managed to speak as she gulped down water.
Dapo’s Mother: “good evening Mama Fatou”. She greeted as she opened the door, leaning against the wall with her hand on the door.
Ranti: “yes, good evening. Kila ri gbó? Is anything the problem?” She asked in a rather harsh voice, depicting what-have-you-come-to-do kind of tone.
Dapo’s Mother: “ na fight?” she asked , turning back to take her leave.
Ranti: “aghn, aghn, ija ke? I am not fighting you o. I am just wondering what you are doing here at this hour”.
Dapo’s Mother: “nothing much, let me leave. I can see you are busy” she said, as she turned her back on her friend and neighbour.
Ranti: “don’t leave nah”.
Dapo’s Mother: “Since you are telling me ki la ri gbo, let me kuku go to my house. It means I am not welcomed”.
Ranti: “aghn, aghn, somebody cannot play with you again? I am just joking ni now”. She said, forcing a smile out of her mouth.
Dapo’s Mother: “agh, the reception was not nice now. You just talked as is I have come to disturb the peace of your home”. She said, clapping her palms.
Ranti: “o da ma binu. Don’t be upset. What happened?” she asked apologetically. Dapo’s mum adjusted her wrapper like some market woman ready to dish out gossips to her fellow woman and sat down properly, gesticulating.
Dapo’s Mother: “hmmmm, ore mi, you know I like you? And I support you in all the things you do?”
Ranti: “yes I know. Just hit the nail on the head and stop beating around the bush”.
Dapo’s Mother: “ hmmm”. She sighed again. “I heard all what you and your husband were saying this evening, before he went out”.
Ranti: “ehn, ehn?” She asked, with slight irritation.
Dapo’s Mother: “first of all, promise me you will not over react when I tell you what I am about to tell you”. She said.
Ranti: “see woman, just go straight to the point and stop keeping me at suspense”. She said as she was already feeling unrest and worried.
Dapo’s Mother: “you promise me first”.
Ranti: “okay, mo ti gbo. You have my words”. She promised her friend to get the gist she had come to tell her.
Dapo’s Mother: “I have not come to scatter your home o” she said, as she squinted her eyes like an innocent child. “It is just that we all see the way Papa Fatou treats you and your children, and it will not be good to see things go wrong and not tell you”. Ranti’s heart was in her mouth as she sat at the edge of the sofa.
Ranti: “tell me what has happened please”.
Dapo’s Mother: “ehn, ehn” She cleared her throat. “I saw Papa Fatou this evening as I was coming from the market”.
Ranti: “ehn, hn, what happened to him?” she asked with a slight irritation on her face looking so unconcerned about his welfare.
Dapo’s Mother: “I saw him in a beer parlour, and a woman sat on his laps. I did not let them see me o”. This stirred Ranti up, it sent some cold sweat down her spine as she heard the news.
Ranti: “I knew this idiot man was lying when he said he did not have money”. She said, pacing the room resting her chin in between her fingers, thinking of what to do to her irresponsible husband.
Dapo’s Mother: “I felt bad gaaann ni, that what kind of man is this when I saw him”.
Ranti: “No problem. Thank you, my friend”. She said while standing and readjusting her wrapper.
Dapo’s Mother: “where to?” she asked, looking surprised.
Ranti: “to the place of course!” she fumed.
Dapo’s Mother: “you see why I asked you to promise me in the first place. This is why I did not want to tell you o. who will you say told you about it?” she asked as one part of her was happy and the other part afraid of being called names.
Ranti: “you don’t worry. Shebi emi ni?” she asked, rhetorically, beating her chest. “I know how to handle it. Fatou, o ya, finish your food on time. Stay back and watch after your sister”. She instructed her daughter as she headed for the door.
Dapo’s Mother: “be careful o, woman. Don’t go and fight there o”. She advised and followed her.
Ranti: “just leave everything to me. I am capable”. She replied and stormed out of the room.
Question: “it seems world war III is about to break. What will happen at the beer parlour?”
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