It was the beginning of another term , and I had just turned fourteen ,about to resume my first year in senior secondary.Mother was doing her best to get me ready for school.
As was the custom, I ran happily to welcome her as soon as I heard the sound of her motorcycle. "Go and bring that small basket ". A smile lighted her face as she said this .
I brought and emptied the said basket. Didn't know what to make of my finding initially. For a better appraisal I picked it up . It had the usual smell of 'Okrika 'garments. I always loved that smell. Then I slowly unfolded it , and behold, a nightgown!
"What is this mma?"I started.
"Oh it's a nightgown " said my mother , beaming with pride
"Nightgown for what?" I asked trying her patience now .
"Now stop with those foolish questions and go wash it " mother shouted at me.
Like other times , it did not end there.she continued on and on about how ungrateful my siblings and i were despite her efforts. Anyways , I went and tucked the nightgown among my burgeoning boarding house collections unwashed, of course! Did I mention how heavenly those okrika garments smelled. The smell was not only distinctive, it was also a focal point of attraction and love , as was the fruity smell of the cheap sweets we licked as children. The other thing about the smell was that it had the capacity to deodorize the other occupants of the box in which it was housed !
After I had I served mother her food , i sat by her and waited patiently to set the train of my questions in motion.
"Mma, did your mother buy you a nightgown ? Did your mother own one as a young girl? Well, am sure they slept in their wrappers those days .The nightgown is a white man's invention just like birthday parties ". I actually believed people should just count their years as they come and not make gigantic fuss about them in the manner of noisy parties and birthday wishes.
Mother was busy chewing a morsel now . If she heard a word of all I have I said, i couldn't tell. And all of a sudden , it came.
"A child strapped to its mother's back on a journey, will never understand the length of the journey " .
I looked at her wondering the connection between a journey and a nightgown.
School resumption was a week away. Much as I looked forward to seeing my classmates again,some little currents of anxiety and depression were worming their way into my person.And the trigger, the nightgown! It was not so much that my routine of sleeping in whatever I came in with at the end of the day was going to be broken , as that my housemates were going to have the fun of a life time over me in a nightgown.
To be contd