Maami, Abolade is different. He is different. Why are you all against him? Is it because he is not from our area?

Àbíké’s mother looked at her. Frustration and tiredness etched on her face. Silently looking at her daughter, she walked out of her room. The rest was history. Abike married her choice, leading to this single room apartment in a run down old and antiquated six-storey building on Lagos Island. Looking around her, she sighed. The room was not up to half of her study in the palace. Where did she go wrong? When did she take this wrong step? How did she get herself into this quagmire? She was pondering on these questions when her second daughter’s cry jolted her out of her reverie.

Maami, Maami look at Nike  

Her daughter’s shout jerked her forcefully from the past into which she had immersed herself shockingly into the present. Abike rudely awakens, seeing her child Adenike writhing on the floor. She ran to her trying to placate but it seemed the placations were not working. The child was hungry and what could assuage her stomach ache is food, which Abike does not have. Searching through the rooms again she stumbled on a tin of Garri which she gave to Nike and her siblings thereby getting a short reprieve. She decided to go out but was confused about where to go in order to get food for her children. She seemed to have nowhere to go in order to get food for her children- that was not right- she knew where to go and put an end to her children’s suffering. There are three options for her but she was not ready to go to any of them and she had her reasons and they were genuine to her. Deep seated reasons that were blocking her means of feeding her children. She would have gone to Alhaja Kuburat the children’s grandmother and her mother-in-law. She is living just twelve buildings down the lane in her own house and one which her only child and son had vowed never to enter until after Alhaja’s death.

Alhaja Kuburat lost her husband when Abolade was five years old. Notwithstanding the fact that most family members accepted the fact that his wife did not kill Alhaji, they found her guilty because they wanted to take over Alhaji’s properties. Nine months after her husband’s death, the family kicked Alhaja Kuburat and her only child away from Nureni’s house and took all other properties from her. She moved first to her family house, refused to get married, and struggled to bring her child up. Abolade became her husband, brother, son, and her father. She toiled very hard starting as a fishmonger, ending up a provision seller and taking care of her only son, making him comfortable, supplying his all his needs and making sure he went to the best schools. Like most women who poured themselves and their undying love into their sons when their own overwhelming love could not or was not requited by their husband, or who turned to their son or child after the loss of their husbands or divorce, Alhaja Kuburat became very attached to her only son Abolade. When he grew up, entered the University at eighteen, met a Princess and tried standing away from his mother’s shadow, all hell was let loose.

Alhaja Kuburat could not understand how her love, sacrifice and attention over a very long period could not be requited by someone she had spent the best of her life on. She was devastated and her anger was awakened .She saw the only block between herself and her loving and only son to be Abike and she fought her with all the weapons in her arsenal. Initially it was through innuendoes and suggestions to Abolade. It graduated to outright lies and actions against the young girl. Unknown to her, when youngsters are made to hate or turn away from one another when in love because a person or group of people is against such love, there is always the tendency for such love to be strengthened and become unbreakable. What solidified and made permanent Abike and Abóládé’s love was the fact that their parents were against it. Abike because of her background and Abolade because his mother thought Abike was stealing him from her.

The two love struck lovers finally got married in spite of all efforts against the marriage. From the first day Abike stepped into Alhaja Kuburat’s house on Martin Street on Lagos Island, it was a declaration of war which finally culminated in the couple moving into their own rented house even when they were not prepared or financially equipped for it and it was so bad that it was difficult for them to find enough to eat. Alhaja kept telling her son that her house is there for him without Abike; while the only time Olori Yetunde came to visit her daughter she not only left money for them but also left with tears while telling her daughter that the palace is still there for her without Abolade. It must have been what Olori saw that killed her because she died not more than a month after her visit to her daughter’s home. When the lovers refused all entreaties to break, Alhaja Kuburat went diabolical. The peak of the unending war between daughter and mother in law came one early Wednesday morning three years into the marriage between Abike and Abolade. Alhaja before the fateful day had tried picking quarrels with Abike concerning her inability to have a child three years into the marriage. She wanted to use this as a reason of sending her away from her son’s home. Abolade however, loved his wife and solidly resisted his mother’s plans and manoeuvres.

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