Anyway, like joke like joke o, over the past months she has continued to drop the hints here and there: ‘Oh I can’t wait to carry my grandson’ or ‘When you get married …’. At first I would take the bait hook line sinker fisherman and speedboat and start a long drawn argument that she invariably won. As if that wasn’t enough, I once made the grave mistake of asking ‘What’s the big deal about a grandchild anyway?’ in the presence of the Mother’s Brigade, and they simply DESCENDED on me. It was a traumatic experience; all my arguments were put down so fast … I have never felt so silly in my life. So now I just allow the maternal monologue go on after which I ask the perfectly natural next question: ‘Is there fuel in the generator?’
But if you know me, then you know my mother: we don’t ever give up. Weeks to my last birthday for instance, she didn’t feel like driving and asked me to drop her in the office. No sooner has I put the gear into drive than she starts lecturing me about my spiritual life and how I need to take church and God seriously and do I remember the time when I used to preach in church etc etc etc. All well and good. But suddenly she starts repeating: ‘Very soon you’ll be 23! Very soon you’ll be 23! …’ Wait for this. ‘Very soon you’ll be 23, and you will soon get married, and you need to take your spiritual life seriously...” Ooo-kayy! Hold on dear mother, what … has … marriage … got … to … do … with … my … spiritual life? Well, my response was to remind her I was actually going to turn 22 not 23 – so, what, does that give me one year of respite at least please?
You can’t actually blame her: I’m her only child you see. And the first grandson of the entire family. There’s also all kinds of family history I can’t relate here: but bottom line, it is perfectly understandable why my mother would be just a little bit anxious. In fact, as far back as when I was just entering into the University, my grandmother – bless her - put me on notice that she was bringing me a wife from Obomkpa, our village. I stared her down so hard I think I sufficiently intimidated the poor woman: she has not mentioned the word marriage in front of me ever since.
But of course my mum knows better than to mention Obompkpa, or even Asaba the state capital for that matter. Still I can stare her down all I want, she is not going to relent in her noble efforts.
The funny thing is, it’s not like my mum really wants me to get married now – she also knows that it is rather early: but all this drama is because my mother knows how much of her stubborn genes I took (my father never lets us hear enough of this – can’t blame him; the poor man is at the receiving end of both) and I think she senses that marriage is on my 2007-2017 10 year-plan yes, but only at the end of that plan! What she is doing is basically sounding the gong very early, so that as she aims for the sky, her arrows would at least land on one of the Dubai skyscrapers.
And she has a plan! After Law School, she says, I start my masters; get a job, and then get a wife. Knowing me, she says, I will want a highflying career babe, so ‘No problem,” she says, ‘Two of you can go and be flowing high; I will take care of the baby for you in the mean time.” Hold on once again – the baby? When did we get to the baby? You mean we’ve gone past the engagement, the courtship, the wedding and the honeymoon so fast?!
But it is not a joking matter o - when you remember that Law School ends in a few months, then you will understand that the battle is veeeeerrry, veeeery close. The other day she pointed to me that I am already earning more than A, B and C who are taking care of wife and at least one child and living well. When she also suggested I should join her for Singles Prayer Meeting at the (MFM) Prayer City – a harrowing and truly depressing experience where really passionate (to use a very mild word) old men and women spend a whole day alternating between moping with sorrow and energetically hitting chairs and tables in a way that suggests God should only take one look at their self-destructive desperation and send that husband down quick, quick – I realized she was dead serious.
Marriage, however, is so far off my mind that each time she brings up the topic, I am genuinely shocked. It’s not just the fact that I am still very young (after all with the way all of my peers and friends are getting married left right and center, it is beginning to look like a conspiracy with my mother!) even though that is part of it: it is rather the fact that marriage is not something I have any intentions of rushing into. I’ve got like what… decades left to live – so what’s the rush? Plus I always tell people that I have interviewed at least maybe 10-20 couples in recent years, and I repeat; it’s not something I want to rush into.
But the mother who never gives up tells me not to end up like those silly people who think that a successful career and all the fame and acclaim in the world are enough ingredients for happiness – “don’t be fooled. Life is meant to be shared, love and career need to go together.” Believe me, from experience, I agree with her. What I can’t tell her though is that the two have been going together for me for quite a while. Don’t ask me why. You really think I want to go down the traumatic road of her remembering the long forgotten subject of those condoms (actually it was just one!) in my car and how ‘Ehen, I knew it’??? Hell no!
The other day I joked that if she wants a grandchild so much then it isn’t a problem – these days you don’t need a marriage to bring a child into the world. I laughed long and hard after that; I considered it a really funny thought. She didn’t laugh.
So here we are, my dear mother is on the prowl – and from that phone call, I know the woman is going to use every single weapon in the arsenal to bring my walls down. The other day she gave me yet another classic reason why I need to bring a girlfriend home: Bring the girl so I can start praying o. When I tried to discourage her by saying that even if do I find the one I want to marry, the period of courtship is likely to be so long it will look like a sociological experiment, she informs me that I would be inviting the mortal sin of fornication. Well in fairness to her, the late Pastor Bimbo Odukoya continuously warned about the same thing.
So what was my answer to her very innocent ‘How is your girlfriend’ question? Well, I recovered quickly from my shock, laughed in the most exaggerated way possible and hailed ‘Mummy, Mummy!’ and then said nothing else. She giggled, I giggled, and she dropped the phone…
You see, the goalpost has changed, but you must never, ever forget that the game remains the same: it’s called ‘catch him’. If I admit I have a girlfriend, I admit I have begun the process of finding a wife. Me ke? Cunny man die, cunny man bury am … I am the true son of my mother!