So after I landed in Abuja, I went over to see my mum, (surprise visit to see my mum in Abuja)
It was a surprise visit. She wasn’t expecting me at all. I didn’t tell her I was coming because I wanted to see her reaction.
The moment she saw me she started laughing.
I knew I had gotten her.
She was very excited.
It was the longest I had stayed without seeing her.
Her neighbors who saw me arrive, came to say hello.
And soon the news reached others that Mama’s son had come.
This morning, after I had ordered sand and cement and gotten some boys to fix tiles in the bathroom, a particular woman I didn’t know came knocking.
She claimed to be my mother’s neighbor.
She asked if she was around.
I told her no, that she had just gone to the next street to get something.
She nodded and asked if I was her first son.
I told her I was.
“Ah, Ehen! Only son?”
“No wonder you look like her. Same carbon copy. Eya. Welcome.”
I smiled and told her thank you.
She peeped inside the house and smiled.
“Eyaa! You are repairing the inside of the house.”
“Kai! Eya. God will bless you.”
Her smile vanished almost immediately. I saw it. I was watching from my side eyes.
I saw her sudden expression.
Then she untied her wrapper and brought out an old 50naira from the tip of the wrapper and stretched at me.
I looked at it.
I felt cold around me. There was this sudden change around me. I knew something was wrong. I held myself back.
“Take na I dey give you.”
I asked her what for.
I took a step back.
I saw her face.
It was like a flash before my eyes. Physically she was an elderly woman. But the face that flashed was that of a very old woman with wrinkles and a thick mark on her chin. She had a cloth tied around her grey hair and a cock on her hair.
I shut my eyes immediately and opened them again. The woman’s hand was still stretched.
When she saw I wouldn’t collect it. She said to me.
“I suppose give your mama 50 naira. Take.”
I told her not to bother.
“Because you have met me, I will pay the debt on your behalf. Keep the money.”
She folded the money back in her wrapper, faked a laugh, and left. Before she did, she told me to tell my mother that Mama Akpan her neighbor came.
When my mother returned I asked her if she knew Mama Akpan. She said didn’t. I describe the woman to her. Told her she was owing her 50 naira. I tried so she could remember, but she couldn’t.
Then I realized, I had just escaped my first test.
Not everyone who flashes their set of teeth in your face is happy to see you. The same teeth, that they use to laugh and celebrate your progress and achievements in life, is the same teeth they’ll use to bite when you are not looking.