Last week, I watched as my Mum struggled with her scarf. She stood in front of the mirror and tried for the 100th time. I was certain she wasn’t going to give up until she got it right. She kept mumbling about how women in the mosque had laughed at her inability to weave the scarf like other Muslim women. That day, she wanted to make sure she went to the mosque with a proper hijab-like scarf.
After an hour, she was done and to be honest, it still didn’t look good. I watched how she washed her legs and hands in ablution and then, I burst out to laugh. She eyeballed me. “It is not me you are laughing at. It is your father’s family people”, she said before leaving for the mosque.
A few minutes later, she dashed into the house and ran to her room. I had to follow her. The mess on the floor of her room was too much to have been carried out in a few seconds. She was obviously looking for something in the wardrobe. “ Mum, what is it this time?” , I asked.
She answered me with tears. Tears that had become familiar since my grandmother visited our home one month ago.
“ The women in the mosque said my skirt was not appropriate. I can’t pray with it”, she answered amidst tears. I was livid. Asides that my mum now cried often, one of the most common phrases she says is “The women in the mosque”.
Before my grandmother’s visit, everything was fine. My Dad would go to the mosque and my Mum would go to church. When I turned 18, I decided that I would be a Muslim and she let me. I only went to her church when they had special programs.
The day Mama came was a Saturday, my Mum was up in her room, sleeping. She had just returned from a vigil very early that morning. I was with my Dad at the dining table. We were having our “first to finish eating” game when Mama barged into the room. I saw fear in my Daddy’s eyes but I didn’t get it. “ Why is he scared of his own mother? ”, I thought to myself.
“Adigun, where is your wife?” , Mama bellowed. “ She she she ”, my Dad stammered. “ She is upstairs, sleeping ”, I completed. “ Call her for me ”, Mama said. I didn’t need to move; my Mum was in the living room already.
She went on her knees immediately she sighted Mama. “ Good morning ma. What should I offer you?”, my Mum said amidst obvious fear. “Offer me your Quran and praying mat ”, Mama said. “Look at you. You have refused to take on the religion of your husband. To cap it all, you take my only grandchild to the church at your own will”, she added. “If you want to stay married in this household, you had better do the right thing ”, Mama ended. And just like she came in, she left immediately.
Pastor Barnabas was the first to visit our house when she didn’t go to church the following Sunday. “Sister Caroline, what is this I am hearing about you going to the mosque? How dare you dine with the infidels? Is this what Jesus died for?”, He said. The look on my Mum’s face said it all. She was defeated. I walked up to Pastor Barnabas and asked him out of our house politely.
In one month, my Mum had become a shadow of herself. I still hear her speak in tongues when she thought no one listened.
So, when she came home two days ago and served my Dad divorce papers, I didn’t blame her. And when my Dad hugged her before signing the divorce papers, I hated him. “What a coward?”, I thought to myself.