James’ mother slumped during her night shift at the Teaching Hospital. James had to abandon his education because of his mother’s situation. She was taken to a ward where she worked. She needed money to pay her bills. She couldn’t work in her situation. She felt helpless.
James took the job of a driver at an Agricultural farm. His weekly wages helped in sorting some minor payments, but there were still many bills to settle. He remembered one of his rich friends. James paid him a visit and explained his plight. His friend refused to give him money but after persistent pleading, he directed him to a government official and a politician.
The politician heard his plight and paid his mother’s bill right on the spot. James was full of gratitude and promised to do anything for him. James would never have appreciated him if he knew what Senator Idris wanted in return. It would be something that would lead to the beginning of the end of his life.
Senator Idris downplayed the assistance as if it was nothing. He went straight to the matter. He wanted James to do something for him. It was election year and he needed the position of the state Governor so bad that he wanted to kill for it. He knew his opponent, Senator Bayole had a higher chance of winning the election because of his popularity. He needed James to kill his wife. James was reluctant but accepted when the politician threatened to kill his mother if he refused.
Two gunshots were released in Senator Bayole’s house. Shortly after, James was running for his life. He was lucky he had escaped from the house before the police came. The thought of visiting his mother came to his mind. He hadn’t seen her in a while. He hid his gun in the bag as he walked into the hospital. He was allowed access to see his mother in the room where she was.
“Oh my God, James. Where have you been. I’ve missed you”. James’ mother asked with a broad smile.
“ I’m fine, mommy. I missed you too”. James replied as he hugged his mother.
“How about John?”
“John is fine. He sent his greetings”. James checked the time on the clock. It was 9 pm. An hour before, he held a gun to a pregnant woman’s head. He could remember her sweet voice begging for mercy. She was carrying Senator Bayole’s child. He had no choice. It was her life or his mother’s. The sound of the bullet, the blood that spilled from her head, was all he could think about. Now, he’s in front of his mother, lying to her. The door to the room opened. James’ heart started racing but became calm when he saw the doctor. He had a conversation with the doctor, before he returned to his mother.
He looked at his mother and for the first time in a while, James could see his mother clearly. Her face was filled with wrinkles with lines forming under her eyes. Her lips were dry. Her hair was grey. She looked way older than a woman of her age.
“James, I need you to tell me the truth”.
James wondered what that meant. Was she aware he just killed someone? He always heard of mother’s intuition. Several thoughts flew in James’ mind.
“James!!!”, his mother called, bringing him back from his deep thoughts. “I haven’t asked you a question and you are already thinking.” She placed her hands on James’ cheeks, looking straight into his eyes. “ I’m fine. Don’t think about me, Alright?”.
“Good. Now tell me. How did you get the money?” James was alarmed. He was taken aback by the question. His heart started racing, thinking of a suitable answer to the question. He looked at his mother’s eyes before taking them away.
“Son. What did you do?”
“Nothing, ma. I stopped going to school. I started working as a driver”.
“But you won’t have earned enough money as a driver within two months to pay those bills”.
“I worked really hard”.
She held his shirt, and faced him with a sternly look. James hated looking at his mother when he was guilty. She had done so much to make his life better. He wouldn’t want to let her down which he has done already.
“What are you not telling me, son?”
“Alright, alright. I’ll tell you”.
“I’m listening”, she said, releasing the grip on his shirt.
“Listen mommy. I got another job elsewhere. Pelumi helped me get the job. I was earning more money”.
“ Why didn’t you come to visit me after you paid the money. The doctor told me that my bills had been cleared”.
James was sweating at this point. He wanted to choose his next words carefully.
“ What else did he tell you?”, James asked.
“I asked him who paid the money. He told me the money was wired. James, I am your mother, tell me something. Did you steal it?”
“No, absolutely not. I didn’t”
“Did you borrow it “
“It doesn’t matter. All that matter is that you are alright”, James said. He took a peek at the clock. It was some minutes past ten.
“Mom, I have to go”.
“Son, let me tell you something before you leave. I had you for 9 months. I breastfed you. I raised you. I also know when you are happy, when you are sad even if you are good at hiding it though. I know I have placed you in a difficult situation since your dad…”
“Don’t talk about him”, James cut in.
“Of course, I have to. If he was alive, we won’t be here. We would probably be in the sitting room, watching Television”. James nodded his head in agreement.
“Remember when you kicked Small Pop down the stairs. You wouldn’t talk to anyone for some time. You came to me and told me you kicked the dog and it died by the time you got there”. She paused for a moment to take a cup of water.
“I haven’t seen you like that until now”. She continued. “You are obviously older but I can see glimpses of the little boy that I raised. I hope it’s not what I’m thinking. If it is that, you really need to let someone know about it. Because if you don’t, your mind will break you and eat you up”.
James glanced at the clock. It was 10:40 pm. He managed to get a taxi that took him to his house. Everywhere was dark as usual. He found the way to his room. His brother had slept off. He found his bed and laid on it. It wasn’t long till he started snoring.
Hours later, he woke up with his shirt drenched with sweat. It was a nightmare. He checked his wall clock. It was 5 am. He started preparing for the day. James switched on his television to listen to the early morning news. To his surprise, it was announced that the politician was arrested for killing his own wife. James started shivering. He could see flashes of the woman’s head everywhere he went to. He remembered his mother’s words; “Your mind will break you and eat you up”.
He went to Senator’s Idris’ office. Senator Idris, who had been expecting James offered him a seat.
“She didn’t deserve to die”.
“But she did die, which was for the greater good”.
“You are the one that deserves to die, not her”, James shouted banging his fists on the table.
“James, no one is going to know you did it”.
“Do you think I care. That woman was carrying a baby. I see her head everywhere”
James broke down in tears. He stood up and made to leave.
“James, If you try to be funny, remember you have a mother”.
Out of annoyance, James lifted a metal chair and hit Senator Idris multiple times till he dropped lifeless on the floor. He left the Senator’s office swiftly.
It was 6 pm at the Teaching Hospital where James’ mother was still receiving treatment. A nurse walked in, holding a letter.
“Are you James’ mother?”
“Yes, yes. I’m James’ mother”.
The nurse brought out an envelope and handed it to James’ mother. She opened the letter. She recognized the handwriting anywhere. It was written by her son. It read;
It’s in tears and regrets I write this to you. I wish it didn’t have to come to this but I had no option. First, I want to thank you for being a good mother. You are the best mother of all time. No one should go through the difficult things you do everyday, yet you do it everyday, for us.
I’m so sorry for lying to you last night. I didn’t get the money from my job. It was paid by some men in government. I couldn’t have made such a huge amount of money in a short time. The truth is I had to return the favour or they’ll kill you. They wanted me to kill someone, which I did. I was afraid and right now, I still am.
I didn’t want to, mommy but you didn’t deserve to die that way. I was selfish. I did it. I killed her, Mrs Bayole. The thought of it has always hunted me. I could see her face all the time. I’m so sorry for doing all these things for you. I’m so ashamed and scared, that’s why I won’t deliver this letter in person. As you are reading this, I’m on my way to the bridge. If you don’t hear from me by tomorrow, I’m probably at the bottom of the river, dead.
You always told us life isn’t the end. I hope we meet in a better place. Send my love to John. Goodbye, Mom.
Timilehin Igeleke is a lover of Literature. He loves writing and reading literary works. His favourite genre is Fiction. He can be reached via email@example.com