In the absence of his father and elder brother, Adakole was the man of the house. He had discovered an inner steel in himself and carried on without a complaint. He had the onus to fend for himself and his ailing mother and it was a double-fold responsibility. He went out in the morning and spent the day doing menial jobs and came home in the evening to tend to mother. And no matter how difficult it was to make out the time, he never missed a church service. But sometimes even with all the encouragement from the local pastor, Adakole would look at mother and his faith would fail. None of those things ever done had yielded result. Rather, day by day, the hope that she would pull through and live again was going with the winds.
In the evening of the day before she would breathe her last, her condition of health and mental attitude had suddenly improved to a point so disturbing. Adakole was overawed by the miracle of it. Not only did Mama consume all the pap laced with honey, the only food the sickness had restricted her to nowadays, she completely emptied the bowl and asked if she could get a refill. And what’s more, she requested him to make for her a pepper broth of periwinkles. Adakole could hardly trust his own ears. Periwinkles pepper soup was Mama’s special delicacy whenever she felt that life was a gift to be enjoyed. Of course he would do anything, if only Mama’s throat would open to receive it and keep it down.
Before long he brought in the pepper soup steaming hot. At the smell of the soup Mama stirred and rolled upon her elbow till by herself she was sitting upright on the bed. This time there was no trace of stooping. None at all, she sat perfectly upright. And when Adakole placed the bowl of soup in her hands and she took hold of the ladle, her hand did not tremble. With grim concentration she ladled the soup to her mouth until the bowl became naked. Although she spoke few words, mostly requests, but the words were very crisp and there were no coughs or hiccups in between.
These sudden improvements delighted Adakole but somewhere in his spirit he was overpowered by a certain sense of foreboding. As he looked at her from across the room he tried to see what the expressions in her eyes were, but the darkness of the room made it impossible, and then again, her head was bowed over the bowl of pepper soup all the time. She was so engrossed; more like she wanted to eat in compensation for the lost days.
Previous Posts in the Series – ALEKWU
ALEKWU Prologue – Adakole, His Brother and Their Sick Mother
Next Episode in the Series – ALEKWU
ALEKWU 2 – Adakole’s Mother is Dead or Alive