I am telling you this exactly how it was related to my aunt, Mrs. Morawonlagba.
My aunt is a stalwart of one of those social clubs in Ibadan, Nigeria. You know the like don’t you? Anyways, she’s been there for years, one could almost say she was one of the founding members. Like her name, she really respects herself, but is not too age conscious to relate to the younger ladies in the club, so they have come to see her as an honorary aunty.
One of her favorites was Molade, she was always respectful towards her elders, never had a harsh word for her peers even when they were debating contentious issues, and generally gave the impression of being a very composed person. Over the past few weeks however, aunty had noticed that Molade had appeared to be pre-occupied and withdrawn, and was far from being her usual cheery self.
So, on this particular afternoon, as my aunt sat at home resting from having been out in the hot blazing sun earlier in the day, she was slightly bemused when her help ushered in a beaming Molade.
“Aunty mi, I’m free” was her joyful outburst after the customary greetings were exchanged. Realising that this was no ordinary gist, my aunt made sure they both had enough drinks and snacks, and then settled down to listen to what Molade had to say. Here’s her story, in her own words.
“My mother-in-law came to stay with us, ostensibly for a few days, but after a week, it became apparent that she was in no hurry to return to the village. My husband did not mind her being around, after all, she is his mother, but I began to see another side of her. Prior to this, her visits had always been quite short, two to three days at the max, so we had not had too much interaction, especially seeing as that I was at work all day. This time though, she made her presence very well felt, and made herself at home as if it were her personal domain. She thought nothing of barging into our matrimonial bedroom without knocking, under the pretext of having remembered something important to tell her son. On the couple of occasions that she interrupted us while we were getting busy, she waited unashamedly in our room as my husband extricated himself whilst remarking that she had seen it all before and that there was nothing new under the sun.
She took to making bitchy remarks to me when my husband was out of earshot; never complimented any meal I cooked, and always implied I could have added more/less salt, seasoning, pepper etc. Nothing I did was good enough, and to crown it all, she started making disparaging remarks about the fact that we were still childless after almost three years of marriage, as if I were solely responsible for the production of said offspring. She made nasty comments about my parents, especially my mum, implied that my upbringing left a lot to be desired, etc. Long story short, she made my life a living hell. What compounded it for me was the fact that she was the exact opposite when my husband was home and pretended that she was solicitous about my well being.
And she showed no signs of wanting to go back home! I didn’t want to say anything to my husband, but resentment began to well up within me like a spring, and I found myself beginning to hate the sound of her footsteps, talk less of the very sight of her. And then, the icing on the cake came yesterday as I was heading out for work. As I greeted her before heading out the door, she replied that she supposed it was my work that would inherit all her son’s wealth, seeing as that I was obviously not prepared to give him any children.
I brooded over her words for the first couple of hours at work, and then came to an abrupt decision. I asked my boss if I could take the afternoon off as I wasn’t feeling very well. I headed home, then sent out my help to get me some foodstuff that I knew would take her a while to source like giant snails, fresh obokun fish etc. I also asked my driver to take her as I did not want any witnesses around. I put on one of mama’s favourite praise tracks on, and cranked up the volume so those at the gate would not overhear what was about to transpire.
At the sound of the music, mama came out of her room, and hissed when she saw me sitting down in the lounge. I stood up and asked her if we could have a word in her room. She sighed as if I had asked her the biggest favour in the world, and then proceeded to make her way as slowly as she could without physically dragging her feet on the floor.
On getting to her room, I asked her politely what I had ever done to offend her except marry her son. Her reply was as rapid as automatic gunfire as she told me gleefully that I had never been her choice for her son it the first place, and that my fertile successor was already being groomed to replace me. A haze of red clouded my vision, and as if in a trance, I saw my hand shooting out to smack the rest of her words out of her mouth.
She gasped in shock but at that stage I was beyond recall. I started to beat her as if I was trying to coax a rhythm out of a recalcitrant drum, all the while making sure I avoided her face. I heard her crying out first in outrage and then in pain, but I frankly did not care. As I continued I repeatedly told her I was fed up of her, and that she should leave me and my husband alone. After about 5 minutes, my rage subsided, and I realized I was decking the bejeepers out of my elder. I left her sniveling in the corner with a warning to her not to interfere in our lives ever again, and then went to the sitting room to await the arrival of my help. All the while, mama was cowering in her room, too scared to come out in case she met with my fists again.
When my help arrived, I told her to make sure she did not disturb mama as she was taking a nap, and then I told her we had to get busy in the kitchen to prepare mama’s favourite stew. I proceeded to cook an Efo Riro stew with all the souls you can imagine. In went the giant snails, the smoked fish, the bush meat etc. I cooked the stew as if I was preparing it for the Nigerian president himself. All the while I made sure that I emphasized to my help that the only reason I had left work early was in order to give mama a treat by preparing her favourite meal. The pounded yam? I insisted on doing everything myself, from peeling the yam, to doing the actual pounding. When everything was ready, I went to mama’s door, and gave an Oscar winning performance as I entreated her to come out and eat. She did not deign to dignify my request with a response, and indeed I did not expect one. I then went to have a shower, and dressed up carefully, being sure to use the perfume my husband liked on me the most.
On my husband’s arrival, I met him at the door with tears in my eyes, and told him I did not know what else I could do to please mama, I had come home early from work just to prepare her favourite meal, and she had refused to even come out of her room to eat it. The smell of the food permeated the air as my husband took a deep breath, and then went straight to his mother’s room. I heard her whining as she complained that I had beaten her up, but at this point, he was in no mood to listen to her. I heard him yelling at her as he told her he had ignored her behavior over the last few weeks, but this false accusation she was leveling against me was the final straw. He ordered her to come out and eat the meal I had sweated over, and stalked away from her room with a face as black as thunder. I maintained my air of innocence all through the meal, as mama forced the morsels down her throat. I kept asking her if she wanted more stockfish, or fresh fish, if she needed more drink or more pounded yam.
After she grudgingly finished eating her meal, my husband held out a huge wad of cash to her, and told her to pack her belongings as she was returning to the village that evening. She opened her mouth in disbelief, but he was having none of it. That is how my mother in law ended up leaving o, aunty.” Molade concluded her narration with a huge grin.
My aunt was dumbfounded, but what could she say? And that is how Molade got her home back. I have told you this saga exactly as I heard it from my aunt.
Truth or fiction? You decide.
Thanks for stopping by 🙂