Your three hour journey back home had begun.
The sight of Mother peeling melon seeds was even more fantastic than the sight of orchards of different fruit trees whose shady narrow parts had brought you home after you had alighted from the Lagos bus at the junction twenty-minutes ago. You know Mother so well, her peeling of melons couldn’t have been necessary, she’s just allergic to idleness. Much typical of a fair number of African women. She glowed at your sight.
Your face had beamed at the sight of your village, in fact you grinned like a man that had just received his salary with unexpected bonuses. And you wonder why, for the memories it triggered and pushed into remembrance were nothing short of beautiful. “Oh ha ha,” you can’t just suppress the feeling. Joy contorted your handsome face radiantly. It wasn’t that the time you spent in the village while growing up was luxurious or was all fun. But you realized that the simple realization that those times were irrecoverable, and the burden of modernization, knowledge and awareness was just not there. Your heart was lighter and filled with so much foolish laughter, and your head much dafter. The sweetness of those memories was as beautiful as the rhythm of music, a teasing breeze or the morning star.
But Mother was the best part of the memory that lingered. That was why you didn’t just wrap your arms around her, you caste the burden of yourself on her. And when you drew back to take her in with your eyes once more “Mama Mama” was what you said fondly. The way you had called “mama” as a toddler. But that was so much more laconic. For even that means a whole lot more “Mama, I love you, Mama I miss you greatly.” Her eyes shone so much pleasure with her oily cheek, spread widely, resigning tiredly that you knew there could never be words accurate and adequate deserving the joy and satisfaction of seeing her little man.
Wake up, wake up! The mind is full of deceit. Now, you are upon her remains, where she was laid to eternal rest approximately eighteen months ago. Still hunched with the back bag from your journey you kneeled in such a way as if rendering prayers in Islamic rite. Your voice was soft and your crying gentle and submissive, because the realization wasn’t so acute as it had been when kidney failure had snatched her so coldly. Those nights of visitations from Mother, herself a vision in cherubic glory and apparel as of the sun in its strength, which always come upon you in sadness that consumes and peel fragments of your soul away. And you would be awoken with a strong spirit from your dreams screaming “Why must you die before your time, Why Mother?” And you would start to cry aloud: your mouth making spritles from unconstructed words. Heavily soaked in sweats of deep pain, that even a tearful expression would have been an undermining understatement.
But now, that was done with and was in truth not necessary. Your mouth pressed against the cold tiles of her grave. Your eyes closed in a deep cry, tears that were being fetched out from the deep well of your soul. As if she would hear you, from the remains of her six-feet deep. Even upwardly as the breeze wanders, “Mama, Mama” transcending and then embracing the evening breeze. And up and up it goes.
Now these were the preluded events, the circumstances that had brought you home.
Your mouth curled, there was only one thing wrong with the whole equation. The courage you had summoned to write the resignation letter in your pocket was superhuman. But it wouldn’t have been necessary if the CEO’s son hadn’t been a bastard. You really wanted to keep your honour, and wouldn’t continue to let that small boy boss you around, but you worry about Mother’s reaction. The decision seemed a gloomy one. But in fact she was nowhere, it was easy for you to have forgotten that. Because since you were but a little boy, it had always been the thought of her reaction of your actions that had kept the bad in you at bay and dimmed the evil everyman. She had been the single most efficient body that governed all the tiers of your life. But you hadn’t remembered that. Obviously that was why you hadn’t been grief strickened.
You have your M.sc quite alright, though how your Mother funded it had baffled you for months. She would never tell you, one hundred and ninety five thousand from a peasant woman who does the odd job for a high school was miraculous. Her salary wasn’t much of a deal, and wouldn’t be paid until it is long overdue. You knew, it couldn’t have been that she had the money all along and kept it from you even when there were necessities to be met. You believe she must have gotten it through some kind of loan or borrowing, but you just don’t know which.
Mikey, the younger son of the CEO’s multimillionaire firm had just completed his MBA and had returned from the states. He possesses the whole trick bag: a bounce-like walk, clean and well shaped heavy moustache, a steady, level gaze that conveyed superiority, sagacity, and a well chiselled face. He controls with too much confidence, like your very life belongs to his father as much as your source of income. A face that is quite handsome, but made to appear hyper. A wardrobe full of lehman brothers suits and adidas sneakers. All freshed out young blood. But worst still was his dominating habit, like the eagle dominating the sky. A Radical Megalomaniac.
But you knew his age, 24. In one of the errand boy occasions, your instinct had made you pull the last drawer of his huge Italian import desk. You had to laugh hysterically, confirming how young your supercilious boss is. If you had but another five years, you could as well be his uncle.
But all those details, you gave no extra regard. And you really hate it, the manner in which he places his hand on your shoulder with so much superiority, as of a father to son. And with a subdued cool voice sends you away on his assignment. The subcutaneous feeling of anger you have kept is so hurtful. But now it is bubbling hot, surpassed being remote and indeed, have lost control. It belittles your ego. He was the next boss to the CEO in the line of your work, he was placed in charge over you and many others, when he arrived nearly two-years ago.
But the beleagured vicissitude that had sprung up when you finally stopped being docile and started to show signs of resistance and demur his poisonous authority over you, even against his flaws and dishevelled managerial skills, was so embarrassing and even despicable.
In the last meeting of the staff, you made a suggestion that would need no travelling out of the country to get the company’s partners legal backing of the exportation of raw agricultural produce, the huge expenses were not necessary and the paper work of other company’s duties. But in all, your analyses had been against him. He was the One, always representing the Company on foreign visits, always flying first class and overbudgeting. And recently, findings had revealed that in-fact sophisticated prostitutes were always ministering to him in the five star hotels he lodged, and nearly all in visits that were supposed to be official.
He sent you out of the conference room abruptly, and even ordered security to its immediate effect. Which wouldn’t have been necessary. It was on behalf of the absent CEO as he had stated, for insignificant diversions which is also luring them away from achieving the purpose of the conference. You are a negative factor, and so must be removed. Even though you had aroused the support of other workers with your well structured analyses and plan. Everyone was silent, it was reasonable to, not for the love of one’s self alone but one’s family too. The men, who were the breadwinners were muted at once.
But before you left, the bastard’s eyeball hadn’t shone evil more brighter and defiantly. His heavy brows were dyed black, contracting to form a thin line over his glinting eyes. His hands folded away behind his back. His face a mask of anger, and with that action he had professed his brutal supremacy even evidently. He showed you, you saw it, and they had seen it. Nothing else, you stormed out. Gone, to be back with a paper of the already mentally constructed resignation letter.
It was the first time you had entered his office so confidently and ruthlessly, even the last time to be seen in it. Your resignation letter had met with a sack letter. He was very gentle and straight with you “the management cannot continue to cope with a negative factor, which could infect the rest of the staff and which competes against the very good of the company into retardation, much less to continue to pay to such pocket.” He showed no emotion- evil or good, just official as a boss should be. But you understood the crudeness concealed in the firm voice he could as well have said “I can stand you no more, Now go ahead and be gone from my father’s company, shoo shoo.” Your own letter was still foolishly hanging from your fingers, you had been hit first. And the blow was fatally mortal.
Impassively, you collected the sack letter to confirm that it wasn’t the CEO’s signature but his. Which was illegal, in your letter of appointment it had been written “a member of staff can only be relieved of his duty after the board of directors had decided to do so, with only an authority of the CEO’s signature himself.” Now the two words which you are about to say to him a thousand times but never to his face had crawled up to your tongue and had become poison, which you must spit out vehemently at that moment.
Even now, two hours after you handed over the company’s official car, you finished packing your belongings in the official semi-flat, which is the company’s. “You Bastardo,” the two words that proclaimed your hatred towards him still echoes somehow, with all the verisimilitude of the pain and agony as it had been, the original moment.
The evening wind had come back, it whispered into your ear, tickling…
“Do not stand on my grave and weep, for am I not here
Even though, up above I am
I am with you there
So take heart and be calm
And as long as heaven remains
In death, and in your heart, I remain even more grand
In death, my ascendency now begins
So do not weep, for I am not where you stand
In your heart I am”