Episode 2 – DOWN TO EARTH (Tales by Midnight Series)
If your mother was the typical Nigerian mother then you would understand when I say the fear of your mothers whip is the beginning of common sense.
And I didn’t have a lot of it growing up.
I’ve always been very expressive and creatively stubborn.
The latter always got me into more trouble than I bargained for.
But for the sake of today’s story, this was not one of those days.
On this particular day, I did everything right.
I remember it as though it were yesterday.
We lived in mushin growing up and close to our house was a market we usually called night market. Till today, I don’t know why they called it that because it was equally open within the day.
But they called it that and it was your go to for everything foodstuff and pretty much anything else actually.
This particular evening, my mother gave me a thousand naira to buy some things for her. (As clear as my memory of this day is, I cannot for the life of me remember what she asked me to buy. I have tried and tried but my mind has refused to vomit this particular part of the memory)
Anyway, I walked majestically to the market, purchased the things and there was 500 naira change left.
I held this money tight with the nylon that contained all I had bought.
Which is why I still don’t know how I lost that money.
A couple of steps close to my house and I realized that the money which I had clenched so tightly in my fist was no longer in my grasp.
My mother that will drag 20 naira change from a vendor.
This woman who drove back after church to a particular vendor who was owing her 50 naira change.
How can I lose her 500 naira?
At this point, my heart was beating twice it’s regular rhythm.
That is how I began to retrace my steps.
Walking carefully back the way I had just come, I kept my gaze glued to the ground in search for my lost treasure but to no avail.
It was nowhere to be found.
This is when I got on the ground.
It didn’t matter that I was wearing my favourite grey three quarter jeans or that my crush’s house was just a stone throw from where I was and he could see me from his balcony.
I got on the floor and started digging in the dirt with tear stained cheeks.
I was desperate.
I needed to find this note.
After what seemed to be hours, I gave up and made the long walk back home.
I could tell that time had passed because the skies were dark and the moon was now very visible at this point.
“Area boys” had come out in small hurdles at the corner of the street but I did not care.
All that was on my mind was the flogging I would receive when I got home.
I had cried so much that I wasn’t sure if there were any tears left.
Unlike most people, I never learnt to chest Cane.
Till date, if you flog me, I would most probably cry.
On getting home, I heard my mothers voice from outside.
My whole body was vibrating. I was afraid.
Big girl like me, how did I misplace money?
Resigning to my fate, I opened the door to see my mother’s worry stricken face.
I was confused for a moment.
This is not what I expected.
So I stood there frozen.
“Where have you been” she asked, clearly worried.
I glanced at the clock. 9pm
I left the house 3 hours ago. The market was at most a 20 minutes journey.
Did I spend that long outside?
I don’t know if it was fear or guilt, but the only words that escaped my lips were “I’m sorry mommy. I lost your money”
I’m not sure which I felt first.
Her hands wrapping around me or her tears falling on my forehead.
Why was my mother crying?
Why wasn’t she screaming?
Isn’t that a lot of money?
This is when the tears came.
It came in shameful torrents. I couldn’t stop crying.
My mother could care less about the money. What if something had happened to me?
I remember her cradling me in her hands as she said over and over
“You’re more precious than any sum of money to me”
“What kind of mother do you think I am?”
She had asked me over and over again.
This was the most tears I have ever cried over not being beaten.
This is also one of my most vivid memories from my childhood.
When I think of this story, I’m reminded of two things.
- The prodigal son who returned home expecting the worst but came back into the beautiful embrace of a loving father.
- The same story of the father who lifted up his garment as he ran to meet his son. Not caring what anybody had to say or think. Just like I got in the dirt to search for that 500 naira. That was worth it’s value to me. So I bent down to the earth just to find it.
Same way Jesus came down to earth just to find you.
He not only found you but he saved you.
It doesn’t matter how dirty that money would have been when I found it.
I would have cleaned it and used it.
Your dirt does not erase your value.
You are worth so much.
More than money and riches
More than fame and appearances.
You’re worth the blood of Jesus.
And to you who’s been running, come home.
Because like my mom, he’s only asking.
“Where have you been?”
Also, in case you were wondering, yes that’s a picture of I and my mom at the start of the post. (Lmao. My cuteness no be today)