For reasons that may be explained another day, my mother went through a phase where she decided going to one church was not enough. My poor brothers and I found ourselves going for 6am Mass and then trekking to the opposite end of town to what we Nigerians call a white garment church (WGC).
The church was interesting. Most of the service was conducted in Yoruba. I’m not Yoruba. To be fair to them, they often had a translator to translate the sermons into English. Given that the English still sounded like Yoruba, they shouldn’t have bothered.
We didn’t like this second church. Not only was it FAR from our house, the services lasted for an eternity and on the days my mother woke up on the wrong side of the bed, we had to wear the white dress thing too! We just didn’t get it. Wasn’t one church enough?!
My brother G was always the brave one. One Sunday morning we arrived at WGC cranky as can be. We were hungry and tired and G decided the time had come to put his foot down. B and I grudgingly got out of the car but G sat tight. My mother had gotten out and was talking to someone so she didn’t immediately notice he had locked himself in the car.
I stood well away. Blood was about to be shed.
‘G, get out of that car now!’
‘Am I not talking to you? Get out from there before I lose my temper!’
‘G, what has come over you? Get out now!’
‘Mummy I’m not coming down.’
To my astonishment she turned around and headed into the church.
Ah, I thought, no blood? I can do this too.
B and G went away to boarding school so I had mummy all to myself. As had become the norm we headed from Mass to the WGC. That day I decided it was time to try my luck. As soon as my mother got out of the car, I slammed down the lock on her door. The central lock kicked in.
Aha! Today me too I’m not going inside that church.
‘MEE, what do you think you’re doing?’
‘Mummy I’m not going inside.’
My face was set like concrete. I needed the attitude to match the words.
‘You’re not going inside ehn?’
Before I could respond I heard the locks opening.
Have you ever been knocked before? Actually, not knocked, konked? My head was on fire!
‘You will tell me when all this nonsense started. Konk’
‘You are now too big to listen to me ehn? Konk’
‘By the time I finish with you, you will tell me who gave birth to who. Konk’
She grabbed me by my ear and dragged me into the building.
‘Ah, madam, ki lo n sele? What is happening? Ejo ma, e rora. Take it easy.’
Heeding the plea of the good samaritan, she flung me by my ear and said in the calmest of voices, ‘try this nonsense again and see what will happen to you.’
I never did.