Mum wasn’t in haste the next morning; she tenderly prepared and took me to school, she was looking all sickly.
It was not until 2 weeks when dad came home, that I got to know why mum had not been going to work. It was as if we lost someone again, she started crying till the next day.
She balanced an account which was incoherent and inconsistent. Her head of department needed to have presented the account to the commissioner of finance, only for him to be embarrassed as he couldn’t defend what was given to him. Before the incident, a lot of petitions had come up against her bothering on her laxity and her nonchalant attitude towards her work.
All these happened as a result of Oguadinma’s death, those 2 months she didn’t go to work consistently and worked absent minded. But her head of department had already seen her as a diligent and a hardworking young lady. He was his favourite staff, as he called her always to help him out.
Mummy would mention how jealousy has been provoked amongst her colleagues because of the way their boss treats her and responds to her case. She would tell dad then, of how she is been accused of having an affair with the boss.
Dad would advise her then to avoid too many distractions in the form of gossips and focus more on her work.
Now she had lost her job, because she fell into the trap set for her through a mistake that almost cost the office of her boss. He had no option than to relieve her of her responsibilities.
Dad stayed around more often and then life came into mum gradually. She cared and protected me more. She told me I was her office now, one of the days I asked if she wasn’t going to work again.
She replied me saying, “You are my office, money and all I got now. You would pay me off with time Obi m”.
I got so many answers as unraveled puzzles while I was young, until I grew up to understand what they were trying to tell me then.
My 5th birthday was within the week and mum had got a lot of things to celebrate me, I had never got a birthday celebration like the plans I saw was in place for me this year. Last year, nobody told me a ‘Happy Birthday’, not to mention a celebration but this year was a discrepancy and the biggest I think I have seen. Mum was planning the party on Sunday when daddy would be around.
Daddy was around with a cluster of friends and relatives that came around aside my mum’s direct relatives. I missed the year’s birthday without Oguadinma. But there were lots of things to eat and drink. I wondered if mum saved for one year to host this day. I was yet to really reckon with the value of what was given me but, then I was indeed happy. The day was as big as what I imagined.
And everyone ate and was merry. Haven’t seen this number of persons in my house in recent time, so I found the moment fun and interesting. This was the last I saw my home with life.
Monday was here again, and dad left for work, mummy was still settling and arranging few things not touched from yesterday, I didn’t go to school because I was so tired from yesterday and mummy let me be. She woke late too.
Dad came in 2 days from Monday, which was Wednesday afternoon with a very terrible countenance. He almost had tears in his eyes. He was so not looking like himself and his tie was sagged, without his suit jacket as he would always appear. That was the worst look I had seen my dad put on.
He was the last person we expected home at such an hour; the time should be 12 noon. Mum was transfixed when he saw him, and she was lost in agape.
Daddy said nothing and presented her with just a paper. That was a letter. Mum in curiosity skimmed through the sheet given her and in few seconds, tears began to roll down her cheeks and I believe she didn’t know when she began to wail. She threw herself to the floor and what she kept saying was, “God why?”
“Why my family again?”
I don’t know the content of what was given her but I ran to her to understand why she was crying that much. She seemed uncontrollable and I didn’t know when I joined her to cry. Dad could not utter a word of consolation; he just sat on one of the sofas and buried his face in his palms.
What actually happened?
Daddy has been so busy in the past months, running around to meet up with the target given him. His branch performed poorly and the bank was in a financial downturn due to the huge amounts of loan granted to many of its customers which some of them weren’t traceable anymore.
Daddy’s branch was the branch that had offered these loans most. Before now, it had been a lucrative venture for the bank as most people who were granted little loans repaid it and in time. This gave the some other branches the bravado to try same as my dad’s worked out for him. They called him one of the pillars of their bank. It was in the second quarter of last year that this venture began to have negative impacts on the bank. From then up until now, his seat had been at stake, not forgetting that the financial crises the bank is running into may cripple it anytime soon.
Daddy ran around to secure more customers, but it was like the more he dug the earth, the rockier it became.
Today, what he feared most had gripped him.
I didn’t just understand what was going on so well, but the mood in the house affected me and I felt sickly. Slept off on time but the house was dead cold until I slept.
Daddy stood from the couch he was seated to his room without uttering a word. Mum sat on the chair, gesticulated and sometimes muttered words which I think she was asking God the reason for her existence. Well, I became so tired and I had to sleep.
I was the first to wake up the next morning or should I say left the room as when I saw my mum’s eyes, it scared life out of me. Her eyes were as furious like a warrior’s and the red colour was like that of the zobo drink, I doubt if she ever had a blink. I prepared myself for school that day, which had never been, and I noticed no food was prepared for me. Mummy did not take me to school that day.
When she took me to Googoo’s elder brother who normally drives us to school, she asked her, “Mummy Obi, are you ok?”
She said she was fine, but when he insisted, she only told him that conjunctivitis had been disturbing her for some days now. I knew mummy was lying but I couldn’t say otherwise.