The day was Sunday, a mighty beautiful Sunday. The place? The ancient historical city of Owo, sometime before the Niger Area could declare Uhuru! The stage was set for the birth of a maiden, a saintly damsel, the apple of many eyes. She was not of royalty but her ways were. Beautiful and simple at heart, dreaming dreams any young maiden would dream, reveling in the sheer awesomeness of her terrain.
Empowered by her little flicker of optimism that she might someday belong to royalty, she said “yes” to a doting young Prince Charming whose habitation of the palace was not to be. He rather preferred the life of a sailor and she was just as glad. Every girl would have a sailor, if the prince didn’t come by!
And so began Abosede’s real sojourn on the journey called Life and its uncertainties. She tells me her story today and I tell you the same and know that you will know better after this.
She ‘sailed’ away to the capital city Lagos, where she would birth her 5 children, between intermittent voyages of her sailor husband. Ever the devoted wife that all expected her to be, she never asked for much, ever content with the available. An unsavory side to this though was that she never questioned her husband’s decisions about the family. She didn’t think it necessary. She trusted implicitly. Unknown to her, her sailor husband also suffered the same malady: of trusting too much. He trusted another – his ‘best friend’- with his life and those of his loved ones, his resources, investments and entire life savings.
Trust came crashing one day, when he found out that he had been swindled and lied to. But alas! Too late, his job was already lost. He never would cross the borders on board grand vessels in the uniform of a sailor. He never got a severance pay. All the property that he had committed to his friend had been sold. It was the sad beginning of an unhappy tale, one that would leave its bitter aftertaste on the mouths fed hitherto.
In exchange for meager returns, Abosede would trade petty stuff. She tells me of how she sold off all her gold and other jewelry, when it was time for her children to start higher learning. How she would trade her clothes, ridiculously under-priced by hungry ravens who took advantage of her misfortune. She relates to me her indebtedness to many a borrower, just to see her children succeed.
Many waters have passed under the bridge but for her, it is not yet freedom. For she cries, she looks back on the sands of time – how much of a long way she has come and how she has nothing to show for it – save for hips needing to be reset, pains that defy analgesics and the now wavering ray of hope that the future would be bright. She has no abode of her own, no shelter to protect her from the elements. She tries to forgive – herself and her husband – but her heart fails her sometimes, and yet she must.
I listen and I am thinking, that I would never be so naïve as to accept hook, line and sinker (plus fisherman I think) everything that anyone would have me believe, or to live in the mistaken confidence that tides never turn and that fortunes never change. But I forget, that I am wiser today because she was imprudent yesterday. I see clearer today because yesterday the outlines were hazy for her.
Her children love her, for they owe a lot to her but at this time, their love is all that they can give. The “system” still hampers what they wish to become – true successes – worth putting a smile on their mother’s face.
Abosede, I salute you. You are strong, you are brave, you are kind, unselfish, adorable. Many call you màmá but your children call you Mámà, for you are strong, you dare all the odds. However, to me you will always be the Sunday girl, not just because you were born on a Sunday but because you bring sunshine into our lives. I celebrate you today, with the prayer and faith that such audacity to hope will be rewarded.