?️HER LAST WISH
Written by Azeemah.
“Actually, there are several tales of Moremi Ajasoro, people tell it differently but no matter how different each of these tales are, the fact that Moremi fought for her people and made them free of the invaders will be mentioned”
“Would you tell us the tale then?” Rylan asked.
“Yeah, please do. I’ve always wanted to hear the full tale myself” Layla said.
“Of course” Aunt Esther said and Jane and David who were playing, stopped to also listen to the tale.
Aria smiled, her daughter loves listening to tales, she would not even sleep if a bedtime story isn’t read to her. And she’s glad she and David are getting along so well. Jane looks pretty excited, she’s never had a friend of a different race, David would be the first. And Aria knew another reason Jane had gotten along with him so fast is because he answers the same name as her father.
Layla’s Nigerian Aunt is actually one of the loveliest people she’s met, she had welcomed her so well and expressed her disappointment that Aria and Jane didn’t arrive to meet the Nigeria meal she prepared and promised to make another one soon and s£nd their portion to them. Not only is she good natured, she’s very fun as well. Since she arrived, she hasn’t ceased engaging everyone in her lively conversation, she has been making the room lively with series of talks and jokes.
She’s far lovelier than Layla had described her.
She had planned to leave just after few hours of saying hi but now she’s stuck, it’s fun being around her and she isn’t ready to leave soon.
Aunt Esther was making Anne’s last cornrow when she started the Moremi tale.
“There once lived a woman called Moremi, she’s from Ile-ife, Osun state, the wife of king Oranmiyan and she had a young son named Ela.
Moremi was a very beautiful and virtuous woman.
Ile-ife during that time was being raid continuously by the Igbo people, Igbo in Yoruba means forest, they were being raided with no mercy by the forest people whom the Ife people thought were aliens due to their weird appearance. They for-cefully capture people and take them away to their territory to be slaves and some were even brutally killed.
The Ifes thought they were s£nt by the gods as punishment for something evil they’ve done, an abomination they’ve committed. And even with the number of sacrifices the people offered to the gods, the raids of those weird beings did not stop. The land was thrown in great panic.
Although, the people of Ife were angry about the raids, they did not have the means to defend themselves and that was when Moremi stepped in, she was unhappy alongside other people about what’s going on. She grew a strong desire to change things for the better and sought to bring an end to the bad condition of things.
She made a plan to let herself be captured during one of the raids so she might be taken prisoner to the land of the forest people and try as much as she can to learn of their secrets.
She then sought the spirit of Esimirin river where she pledged to it that; if her attempt is successful, she would offer it the rich-est sacrifice she could afford.
As planned, she allowed herself be taken captive by the forest people and taken to their capital as a prisoner. Because of how beautiful she was, she was given to the king of the forest people as a personal slave and due to how intelligent Moremi was and her noble heart, she gained the respect of all, including the king, soon she rose to a better position and later married the king.
Not long after, she learned all of their secrets and discovered they were not weird beings after all, they were ordinary humans, whenever they were going to raid, they would wear strange mantles of [email protected] and bamboo fibre, hence their unnatural appearance.
She realized that they were afraid of fire because the mantles are made of dry [email protected] and if the Ifes were to attack them with lighted torches, they would easily be defeated.
She cunningly left the palace and escaped from the land of the forest people, she returned to her own land and conveyed everything she learned to them.
Immediately the forest people tried to attack again, they were attacked by the people of Ife with burning torches, igniting and lighting them up in flames which led them to be defeated and never to return.”
“Wow” Layla smiled.
“That was a brave move”
“She could have lost her life while at it, she’s quite courageous”
“Well, the story didn’t end there” Aunt Esther said.
“Yeah, remember she went to the spirit of Esimirin river to make a pledge. Moremi proceeded there and made a huge sacrifice of tons of valuable things including sheep, jewelries, fowls, Bullocks but the goddess doesn’t want any of that, she demanded to have Moremi’s only son, Ela.”
“Oh my God!” They all seem to exclaim at the same time, except Phil though, she was touched also but hadn’t joined them in expressing it, she doesn’t even look like she was listening to the story.
“Did she sacrifice her son?” Layla asked, her father hadn’t told her to this extent.
“Yes she did, even though it was unwillingly. She sacrificed her only son and the people wept to see that. In order to make up for her loss, they promised to be her sons and daughters forever and till date, the locals are referred to as the children of Moremi.”
They had a collective sigh. “That’s sad”
“The goddess was unfair to her, was she arrested after? For taking Moremi’s child?” Jane asked.
Aunt Esther laughed. “She can’t be arrested, she’s a spirit, a supernatural being, not even everyone can see her”
“I never thought the story ended sadly” Rylan said and rest nod in agreement.
“Moremi statue of liberty was built in honor of her, it’s the tallest statue in Nigeria and the third in Africa, it’s built on the same sp-ot she lived many centuries ago within the close range of Ooni of Ife palace. The Edi Moremi festival is done every year to celebration Moremi”
“It’s still quite sad though” Fel said.
“We’ll definitely go to see it when we visit Nigeria” Rylan said.
“That has increased my desire of going to Nigeria, I want to see it, damn!”
“You can actually google it but it just won’t be the same as seeing it in reality”
“There are so many tales to tell. I wish you guys would meet grandma, she stays in our compound in Lagos, she arrived from the village just last year. She has lived for so long that she can’t even walk straight anymore, it’s either she walks with a staff or she’s @ssisted but you need to hear the words of her mouth, she speaks so good and clear. Grandma has a lot of ancient and interesting tales in her head, she gathers the children every evening to tell them tales and sometimes even the adults sit to listen” Aunt Esther smiled.
“I can imagine how great that must be” Dan said, looking like he wanted to be there already.
“Can I get a Nigeria Visa already!” Rylan gro-aned and they laugh.
“Mum can David come over to the house someday?” Jane asked her mum as they were about leaving.
“Of course, as long as his Mum permits him”
“Aunt Esther, will you allow David come over someday?” Jane asked.
“Yeah, I will dear”
“Okay” Jane smiled, glancing at David who smiled back at her.
They were both happy to have found a new friend in each other..
“Let him come over on Saturday then, you guys leave on Monday right?” Aria asked, she had suggested Saturday because Phil had given her Saturday off, she insisted it’ll be quite strenuous for her alone.
She still doesn’t know how Phil has changed for better so fast.
“Yeah, we leave on Monday”
“Ah, I haven’t even thought of that. ” Fel sigh, looking unhappy.
“Right, I can’t believe you’ll be leaving so soon” Anne added.
She was done making her hair and everyone had commented on how beautiful it is, Aunt Esther had even looked so proud of her handwork, she hadn’t thought she would get it right with the texture of their hair.
Now she’s on Fel’s, almost done. And Fel’s face is looking so highlighted already.
“We will surely be visiting again, though not anytime soon and we’ll also be expecting to see you guys in Nigeria”
“Nigeria is definitely on my list” Dan said.
“Same as everyone’s” Rylan.
“I hope you guys will keep to your word Sha, it’ll be lovely to have you guys around” Aunt Esther said.
“We definitely will” Rylan said.
“Layla, don’t you want to visit Nigeria, you do not make any comment whenever we talk about visiting Nigeria” Fel said.
“C’mon, who else would want to visit Nigeria most if not her, she doesn’t have to say anything to show her interest” Rylan said.
“Yeah, I would love to visit Nigeria of course” Layla place a smile across her face.
Aunt Esther glance at her niece, before resuming Fel’s hair. She also noticed Layla hasn’t mentioned coming over to Nigeria and she even tries to avoid talking about it whenever she brings it up, she tends to quickly dismiss it.
Well … It might be nothing though, she doesn’t have to say anything to show her interest like Rylan had said.
“I’ll leave now, it’s so great to finally meet you.” Aria smiled; she had enjoyed Aunt Esther’s company greatly.
The Nigerian woman had by far exceeded her expectations.
“Believe me, It’s really nice to meet you also, thanks for coming all the way here just to say hi to me” Aunt Esther got to her feet to walk Aria out the house.
“Bye David” Jane waved.
“Phil, I’ll be leaving now” Aria said.
“Alright, I’ll come over to the Cafe tomorrow” Phil said.
“Okay Phil. Bye guys”
Layla also stood up and joined Aunt Esther in walking them out.
They started walking back into the house after Aria and Jane got into a cab.
“Aria is great, I really like her”
“She is more than great. I love her so much”
“Obviously, you guys have quite a bond”
“Aunt Moremi, are you not going to make your own hair too? so, you’ll look fine like them” David said.
Fel and Anne looked so good with their cornrows and weren’t hesitating with flaunting it all over the place, they took several pictures already and Rylan hasn’t been able to keep his eyes off Fel.
Dan did not stop teasing him.
“I… I I’m going to make mine soon also”
“Okay, because I want you too to be fine like them,” David said, shifting closer to her and then whispering in her ear. “I will tell my mummy to make your own to be finer than their own you hear?”
“Okay Dave” Layla chuckled, her heart swelling.
How good will it be if her hair’s not falling off, how good with it be to rock the same hairstyle with her friends, how good will it be to be healthy.
Layla watched with confusion as Aunt Esther spoke to her husband on the phone in Yoruba.
Her Aunt looked quite upset and she wondered what’s wrong.
This is one of the moment it pains her that she doesn’t understand her native language.
“What is wrong with you?! Why did you stay there?” She asked in Yoruba.
“Why can’t I stay there?”
“Do you want to give me a bad name, you don’t know that people will start talking, they’ll start calling you woman wrapper”
“And what’s wrong with being a woman wrapper as long as it’s my wife’s. Am I not your wrapper ni, I sha cover you every night” He joked and she couldn’t help but chuckle.
“Femi, on a more serious note, I don’t want anyone abusing you because of me, people will start talking now”
“Let them say whatever they want to say with their long mouth, I’m not bothered and I don’t see anything wrong with helping my wife make some sales before she gets back.”
Aunt Esther sigh.
“Esther, why are you always so bothered about what people would say, ehn?”
“No, it’s not that. I just don’t want anyone disrespecting you because of me”
“Disrespect me keh? Let them come to my front and tell me to my face that I’m a woman wrapper na. They won’t even be able to say it, the only place they can talk is at my back”
He continued “After all I’m on off at work for a month, instead of just sitting inside and watching TV or listening to radio when there’s no light, staying in your shop is even better, imagine the amount of sales I’ve made for you, if I tell you ehn, you’ll be surprised, I’m even making sales more than you do sef, everybody wants to see the husband staying in his wife’s shop and you know they can’t just come and look and go , they’ll use style and buy something. We’re even gaining in their hypocrisy”
They both laugh.
Layla looked on in more confusion. Just now her Aunt looked upset and now she’s laughing.
She isn’t understanding a thing they were saying and it kind of made her wish she understands her native language, the way it rolled smoothly and perfectly out of Aunt Esther’s mouth made her wonder if she’ll ever get this good at it.
She really wish to.
Although Aunt Esther has taught her some words since she arrived but she doubt that’s ever going to make her improve, it’ll be quite [email protected] for her to adapt to the language she hasn’t grown up speaking.
She tucks David in the blanket properly and picked her phone to start playing games, it doesn’t look like her Aunt will be done with the call anytime soon.
Aunt Esther walked towards the bed after she was done and then sit beside Layla.
“You looked quite upset at the beginning of the call, I hope there’s nothing wrong?” Layla asked.
“Actually there’s nothing wrong, it’s just that my husband now stays in my shop to help me keep the business going”
“Why then did you look so upset?”
“Because it might cause people to disregard him”
“Why would he be disregarded because he’s helping you?”
“Well… That sort of thing tends to be unusual over there, it’ll make people start referring to him as woman wrapper”
“The meaning is a weakling, someone who follows a woman blindly” Aunt Esther quickly explained, noting the confusion on her niece’s face.
“Oh, you mean he’ll be referred to as that because he’s helping you keep the business going?” Layla looked quite surprised.
“Yeah, when a man starts doing things, they think his wife is meant to be doing, they refer to him as that”
“Wow, so many surprises. I never thought a man helping a woman out will be an issue in another part of the world”
“You have to be especially strong to cope in that part of the world”
“Your husband doesn’t seem to care though or he wouldn’t have stayed there knowing people would talk”
“Exactly, he doesn’t care. That man ehn, I don’t know where I saw him from. You won’t believe he’s even making more sales than I do”
“Yeah, because people wants to see the ‘mumu’ man staying in his wife’s shop so they pretend to come buy something”
A loud crashing sound halted Aunt Esther and Layla’s talk.
They were seated in the room having a random conversation after eating breakfast.
They both rushed to the living room and [email protected] at the sight in front of them.
David stood beside the broken TV, shivering in fear and bursting into tears as he soon as he saw his Mum appear.
He had been watching Spiderman and also decided to reenact it, breaking the TV in the process.
“Eh! God o, God! This boy have put in into debt o” Aunt Esther shouted, exasperated.
“Come over here!” She yelled at him and his cry grew louder as he saw his Mum was frantically looking for something to discipline him with.
She grabbed a cable on the floor.
“Are you deaf! Come here!”
“Mummy please” He cried and she hissed, going over to meet him, careful not to step on the broken [email protected]
He ran over to Layla crying and ru-bbing his back frenzily after receiving a long whip.
“Oh my God, why did you hit him with that!” Layla exclaimed, her eyes widening.
“I’m not done yet, you better tell him to leave your back so this wire won’t touch you” She said heading over to David again.
“Help me and beg my mummy” David cried, holding on to Layla’s legs tightly.
“Aunt stop! You shouldn’t hit him with that”
“I should not hit him with what, you dinnor see what he did abi! where do I get the money for another TV! Oya leave her back now and comman kneel down here!” She yelled.
“Just hold on, hitting him isn’t going to @ssemble the TV, he wouldn’t have intentionally broken it.”
“He doesn’t hear word! How many times did I warn you to be very careful here! How many times did I tell you to put your body in one place! but you won’t hear word. Rough play have scatter your head, now see what you’ve done. Where do I see money from now!”
“I was doing like Spiderman, I did not know that the television will break. I’m sorry Mum”
“That’s because you didn’t listen to me. Why do like Spiderman in another person’s house! Why! With all those warnings I gave you! Any child who doesn’t listen to his mother deserve any punishment dished to him. Oya come here now!”
“Shut up! Shey I warned you abi I did not warn you!”
“You warned me”
“Good, now come here”
“Aunt Moremi, she’s going to beat me, help me and beg her” David cried.
Layla sigh, her Aunt was looking so annoyed and she doesn’t think she’s going to listen to her.
“Aunt Esther, would you please drop the cable, and then we’ll know what to do, please” Layla said.
“Drop what, Moremi just stay out of this. You don’t know how stubborn this boy is. Look at what he did! And you’re saying I should just leave him. You! If I should repeat ‘come here’ again, you know what will happen”
David’s cry increased as he slowly walked towards his Mum.
“Gimme your hand!” She demanded.
“Give me your hand!” She yelled again when he hesitated “Abi, you want me to scatter your body with this wire!”
David shook his head.
“I won’t allow you hit him again with the cable” Layla said, stepping between David and his Mum.
David held on to her tightly, whimpering.
“Really? You don’t know that if I don’t punish him, he won’t know what he did is wrong and he’ll do it another time. If it’s that I did not warn him before now, I can still spare him but I clearly warned this boy! He just decided to disobey me, now see the wahala he caused. What do I say to your Aunt now! What type of thing is this for God’s sake! You this boy! Oya go on your knees and raise your hands!”
Phil walked into the living room, fully dressed and ready for the Cafe.
She didn’t look surprised at the scene, she already heard everything from her room.
Aunt Esther stood, not knowing what to say, the cable still held strongly in her hand.
Where is she even going to start apologising from. Why has this boy decided to do this to her.
She glared at him angrily before turning back to Phil.
David spoke up before she could.
“Aunty Phil, I’m sorry for breaking your television, it did not know it was going to break. I’m really sorry”
“Phil, Please, I know sorry is not even enough for what this boy just did but… I’m so sorry he damaged your TV, if you would please be patient with me, I will try to get the money back for you” Aunt Esther said.
“It’s fine, I was actually thinking of buying a new TV anyway, I ordered one already. If it arrives before I’m back, Layla make sure to sign the delivery form, the delivery men are going to set it up,” Phil dropped her phone in her bag.
“Make sure not to hit him anymore, he wouldn’t have broken the TV intentionally. You should be glad the pieces of [email protected] did not hurt him. I need to leave now” Phil said, leaving them all to stare after her in surprise as she walked out of the house.