Soji arrived at his father's house in Akure and shockingly realized his mother is terribly sick. He deliberately cut himself off the family and so, nobody except Jide, his cousin has his contact number, and he made him promise never to give anyone else.
The only time his mother or anyone else in the family sees him is when he comes home on some occasions he's in Nigeria.
"But why didn't Jide tell me she was this sick?" He said in his mind, as he gazed on his once beautiful and energetic mother as she peacefully lied down on the bed in her room.
"How long has she been like this?" He asked Timileyin, a young teenage girl his siblings employed to be taking care of their mother.
"Like a month ago now, she kept on calling your name. She said she wanted to see you, she has even instructed me to send for Uncle Jide, since he's the only one in contact with you, but Uncle Jide hasn't come yet" she replied, then asked to excuse herself and went out of the room.
Soji knelt down beside his mother, he could feel the weakness in her body, he held her hand and called her softly "Mummy"
She opened her eyes and gave him a dry smile, then she coughed before she started talking.
"Yes ma....Timileyin said you've been longing to see me"
"Hmmmmmm" she sighed deeply "Soji, I've offended you and I can't take the guilt any longer"
"No Mummy" Soji said admist tears. He couldn't believe the once energetic up and doing woman he knew could be this weak and helpless. He felt pity for her and regretted neglecting her at her old age. "I've forgiven you a long time ago Mummy"
"Hmmmmm Soji, you don't understand" she said softly with a coarse voice. She sighed again and continued "I didn't give birth to you" she paused for a while to allow what she said sink into Soji's mind, then she continued
"Your father made me take an oath not to tell anyone including you, even though I didn't want to take the oath but he forced me. Your father impregnanted our house maid, I was pregnant around that time too but I lost my baby and your father urged me to take you as my son since your mother died shortly after you were born" she paused again and coughed repeatedly for a while, then she continued.
Soji couldnt believe his ears. He's now starting to understand her nonchalant attitude towards him
"I was so bittered because I lost my child while you survived and your father showed you so much love. I wanted to pay back so.....so I did something to you when you were young" she stuttered
"What did you do to me?" Soji asked, almost yelling
"I..I....I'm the cause of your inability to have children" she said, bursting into tears.
At this point, Soji dropped her hand and got Up.
"What?!" He exclaimed and tears started flowing down his cheeks.
"Soji, I'm so sorry. I didn't know what came over me. I allowed my hatred and jealousy for your mother to over-cloud my judgment. Your father wouldn't allow me maltreat you physically, that was what prompted me to go that far" she further explained with tears.
"I can't believe this. So the problem I've been into for the past 25years is your doing?" Soji said as he collapsed on the floor with tears.
"Please forgive me Soji, that's all I ask"
Soji and his mother cried together for the next 15mins non-stop. He was just wailing and rolling on the floor. This is just too much for him.
After weeping, he got up, knelt down beside his mother, held her hand and looked into her eyes, then he said
"Mummy, I forgive you, that's the only thing you deserve now" he got up after saying this and went out of the house.
He never saw her again after that because he was told few hours later that she has passed away.
When Soji got to Lagos, where Dare and his family live, he didnt bother going home since he knew everyone would have gone out. He went straight to Dare's office. He entered into his office and didn't say a word, rather he collapsed. Dare left his table hurriedly and went to carry him up and made him sit on the sofa. "What's wrong Soji?" He asked, then just like a flash, he hurriedly got up to get a bottle of water for him from the mini fridge in his office. Soji took the water from him, opened the bottle and burst into tears. Dare took out an handkerchief and handed it over to him. "C'mon Soji, whatever could have happened, please be a man" he consoled.
Soji was still in tears for the next 15mins, his friend was tired of consoling him so he sat beside him and watch him cry. After weeping and taking the water he was offered, Soji told Dare all his mother said.
"I am finished" he concluded
Dare couldn't believe his ears, he almost felt like crying himself but since he was at the consoling end, he held his grip. He felt so much pity for his friend.
"I didn't wish for her to die so soon" Soji said softly
"Hmmmmmm" Dare sighed
Soji spent the rest of the day at Dare's office and the next 2days at his house before he finally decided to go back to the U.S.
"are you sure you are strong enough to go back?" Damade's Mum asked him when he announced to them about his going back the next day. Her husband has obviously fed her with the story.
"Yes I am. I don't have much of a choice" Soji replied with a faded smile
"Hmmmm, it is well" she sighed
Soji went back to the U.S the following day and continued his life. He and the whole of Dare's family never stopped praying for him and hoping for a miracle.
AUTHOR: Peace Toluwanimi Odeniyi