That Friday was our unboxing day, Dad and Aunty Morin were in charge of unwrapping the gifts while I recorded the givers of the gift. The place was getting too quiet and it was making the work boring, so I decided to break the silence; “Mum around what time do you wish to leave tomorrow?” She smiled and gave the reply I least expected, “I would love to live with the first available flight, so if anyone cares to see me take off, they had better be present from the dawning of the day”. She didn’t stop smiling, Dad dropped what he was doing ; “Dear, do you really wish to go that early?”
“Yes I do, I’m getting more and more impatient, I can’t wait to reply this call.” Dads eyes dilated and became red, Aunty Morin and I had also burst into tears. Mum was now the one petting us. Dad shrugged his shoulders as he rubbed his palms together and said “He gives and takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord That seemed to me like a succumbing to what must happen. Aunty Morin and I were still crying a river, I wanted a discussion and not what I had got. We kept on doing our work and the silence persisted just that it was obvious our hearts weren’t quiet, as We would heave sighs and sob from time to time. Mum was the only exception she was just all smiles.
“Dear, I have an assignment for you.” Mum said “What is it?”
“Good, you and Titi would go on a foodstuff shopping.” She turned to me; “Titi don’t do the major work, I want to see how this my boy would fare in our absence”. Dad smiled and Mum continued; “I’ve prepared the list of things you would be getting and by 3 O’Clock you guys should be leaving.” She concluded her instructions and winked at Dad, he bowed, “Yes Ma! Your wish is my command.” Mum laughed I and Dad smiled but all of these didn’t matter to Aunty Morin, she kept on weeping.
* * *
Going to the market with Dad wasn’t fun at all. This was his first time in a very long while pricing goods from mallams, to worsen matters Mums list was really difficult to attend to, She had very hard to find stuffs on her list. “Dad, we’ve got to be on our way home now. Its getting dark and the traffic congestion would be much, moreover you were talking about a last dinner treat for Mummy.”
“Titi I understand but this is my last assignment for her. In her living she did all the foodstuff shopping, I should be able to do same in her dying.” Dads mind was made up, trying to persuade him was a waste of time, he wasn’t going to look back until he had ticked every single thing on that list. I had no choice but to endure.
All that was on my mind as We were in the traffic congestion I predicted, was how to get home as exasperated as I was and start preparing this last dinner that Dad insisted We must cook together. I tried persuading him to buy it from an eatery on our way home, but No! he wouldn’t concur.
Soon the road was cleared, we arrived home around 8;00 pm. As we were bringing out the loads from the car, Aunty Morin came to lend us a helping hand.
As the door swung open, all I noticed was that aroma and I couldn’t but ask; “Aunty, what’s this I perceive?” she smiled and replied, “Its Mum ooh, She cooked dinner all alone, she didn’t even allow me to touch anything. She said it’s her last duty as a wife and a mother” I thrusted my fist into the air like a footballer celebrating a winning goal and with a broad grin I shouted “Yes!” Dad looked at me, shook his head and called me ‘Ole’ which means lazy bone. Dad was really disappointed and headed straight to the kitchen. “You! So that endless list that was like the one Pa Aderonmu’s family gave me when I asked for your hands in marriage was a bait to give room for this right?” We all laughed and I was the happiest of us all. “Yes, it was” Mum replied with a mischievous smile. Dad smiled, shook his head and said “You’re a case, I would really miss you”.
It was an awesome meal, Mum really did the cooking like it was her last, it actually was. Everyone poured the complements at her feet while we were eating. Mums meal made our day. “We all have to get to bed at a reasonable hour, because We’ve got a vigil to keep. I’m sure you all want to see her take off, personally I cant allow my wife leave behind my back.” Dad was right, we needed rest and also needed to see her take off.
We all left the table for our rooms, but this I know for sure; no one else apart from Mum slept.