Is Junior Really A “Junior”? – RHETORICS
Do you see that guy, the one you all call the true son of his father, is he the real Junior?
We all know the story of his birth. How his parents were searching for years. Then the husband’s mother started coming around. Can you remember?
Mama will foment trouble. She would torment Iyawo with brutal words and her husband would look away. Can you remember Iyawo’s cries and pleas?
With Mama’s insistence, Uncle was about to throw Iyawo out. They said she was barren. They said she was dried up. We all had to come out and beg on Iyawo’s behalf. Did you come out to join us?
Iyawo was always sad. Whenever Uncle wasn’t around, she’ll lock herself in their room and cry. I could hear her sobbing at times. How did this happen to her?
She tried to be nice to kids. She’ll buy them biscuit and sweet. They said being friendly to children opens your womb to receive yours. Have you heard that before?
People began inviting Iyawo to crusades and revivals. She’ll go for prayer-meeting in the morning, and vigil at night. I use to say a prayer in my heart for her too. Can you imagine her pain?
Someone told Iyawo to visit the hospital. They carried out scans and tests on her. The doctor said she was alright. Her husband was asked to come in for his own test. Isn’t that the right procedure?
Uncle refused. He said he is a man. That men in his family have never been impotent. Can you hear this man?
Uncle told us how he could “go” all night. He bragged about his “exploits” in his “hay days”. How he has never needed an enhancer. He asked us, “why will a strong man like me need Doctors’ help in bedroom matters?”
When our landlord ask Uncle if he ever got any girl pregnant, Uncle laughed his head off. When he finally settled down, he told us how his pull-out game was inch-perfect. How is yours?
Despite all attempts to convince him otherwise, Uncle never went to see the Doctor. Instead, Mama came visiting again. Did you witness the drama this time?
“You want to tie down my son. You are a witch and have sacrificed your womb to the coven. Leave my son so we can give him a fresh, virgin wife from our village, you harlot.” What insult didn’t we hear?
It was at this point that Bros moved into the compound. It seems Bros and Uncle are from the same place. They quickly hit it off and became the best of friends. Do you remember Bros?
Bros was a player’s player. He was rotating ladies out of his room like a football coach doing substitution during preseason friendly. Do you remember them filling in and out?
When the men gathered on Sunday evenings, with green bottles in front of them, Uncle will tell Bros how he use to chop life when he was young. Can you remember their sessions?
Uncle said Bros was a learner. That at his peak, the ladies use to meet each other at his place and they dare not complain, else he would break up with them. My ears used to stretch from where I sat listening. Can you imagine the life this man has chop?
In a short while, Bros began arranging babes for Uncle. Iyawo dare not complain. She knew she was fighting a losing battle already. Can you imagine her pain?
I can still remember when Uncle said he was travelling to the village for the holidays. Iyawo refused to travel with him as she was scared Mama will show her pepper. Can you blame the young woman?
The second evening after Uncle left, we were all outside as NEPA refused to give us light. When they brought the light, we all rushed inside to watch TV. Do you remember Fuji House of Commotion?
I sensed it was about to rain and had to rush out to pack our clothes off the wire. As I made to open the door, I saw Iyawo slipping out of Bro’s room. Kilomode mo? Wetin small pickin know?
Two days later, I went to Bros’ room to borrow a VHS. As I got into the room, I noticed a pair of ladies slippers laid down inside the door. Isn’t that unusual?
You know how much of a cleanliness freak Bros is. You know no one dares enter his room with their footwear on. Whose slippers could this be?
What is my business though? All I want is Aki na Ukwa, and once I got the cassette, I dashed out to go laugh my head off. Do you remember how hilarious that movie was?
Immediately I slot the disc in, I realized it was dirty. If our play-head gets dirty, my father will kill me. I had to borrow a VHS player cleaner. Do you remember those tapes?
I rushed back to Bros’ room to borrow his cleaner. As I got to the door to knock, the net opened from inside, and there in the slippers I mentioned earlier was Iyawo. Do you have any idea how startled I was?
No one is going to stop me from watching Aki na Ukwa. Not even this Iyawo that can’t sit in her own room. I quickly rushed in and Bros started asking me silly questions. “What are you looking for this boy?”
I watched my movie after cleaning the player. Aki and Pawpaw back then were new in the industry. I can still remember how my stomach hurt from all the laughing when I was done. Have you ever laughed that much before?
Uncle came back from the village. He got us loads of goodies. I can remember eating mango until my tummy ached. Don’t you miss the days of getting freebies just by being a cute child?
A couple of months later, Iyawo’s tummy started to get bigger. You should have seen the scene when Uncle proudly announced that he has finally scored and his wife was pregnant. Didn’t you eat out of the cabin biscuit they shared?
Overnight, Uncle became a caring husband again. Mama even came around to take care of her daughter in law. She didn’t want to risk anything going wrong with the pregnancy. Is it now that they learn how to care?
The day Iyawo put to bed, our house was a party. On the day of the naming ceremony, they blocked the whole street. A cow and a ram were killed to cater for the guest. Can you hazard a guess how many bottles of coke I drank that day?
Uncle named his son after himself. The child will be known as Junior. Isn’t that a lazy way to name a child?
Junior was here and the world must know. At three months, we all went to their church for dedication. That was the first time I got to eat fried rice. It was delicious. Did you get a taste of it?
Mama stayed around to help take care of Junior. If you go visit them, you never got a chance to carry him. Junior was Mama’s pride and she wasn’t ready to share him with anyone. Can you blame the old woman?
As Junior grew, visitors would often argue about who he takes after. Some said his father, others said his mother. One neighbour even claimed babies’ faces change as they get older. Have you ever heard that before?
Whatever you had to say about who he looked like, one thing was unarguable, Junior was a fine boy. Can you remember his dimple? His smile? His complexion? His smooth skin? His chubby cheeks? Can you remember how curly his hair was?
That boy was a specimen. Whenever they had to go anywhere, Mama insisted on backing him. She said Iyawo should be learning from her how to properly take care of Junior. Shouldn’t she have just opened a Junior University?
Eventually, Mama left and Iyawo got to take care of Junior her own way. At the same time, people stopped calling her Iyawo and started calling her Mama Junior. When did they do her own naming ceremony?
Looking back at that whole incident now, I can’t help but wonder, was Junior really “Junior”?
Do you know what I mean?
I know what I saw, but can I trust my childhood memories?
On second thought, how many Junior are not really “Juniors”?