“Aremu, keep praying for your father. He is going through a tough time right now.” Aremu’s mother spoke to him in Yoruba one evening as he sat beside her in the varendah of their modest bungalow, in a town at the Western part of Nigeria. Both of them were staring at the twilight, waiting for Aremu’s father to arrive from work.
Those words were becoming prominent in Aremu’s household. He knew his parents were going through a tough time. But he always found a way to console himself – everything would be alright soon.
For a year and half, the streets were quiet and mellowed. People counted the days in distress, sighing heavily as the sun set each day with no ray of hope to push the masses to look forward to the sunrise of the following day.
Aremu’s parents have been denied their rights for a while now, no monthly salary to boost them to work for their country. The usual patriotic acts to work for their fatherland was shattered and the fatigue clouded everyone’s judgement.
Everyone is busy looking for ways to reduce the tension, to put food on the table for their family. Things were getting tough and the country’s economy was in an uproar.
Aremu often listened to his Father complaining bitterly about how everything had gone wrong.
“A lot of people are dying because they do not have money to keep up with their medications.” His father would say, “This state is going through hard times, the whole country in general, and the government is not doing enough to clean the mess.”
The continuous cry of the masses about the Doctors and teachers going on indefinite strikes to push the government to agree on a fairer truce was sad and it did not seem to seize.
“The worst part is that Parents are even withdrawing their kids from schools just because they can not afford the fees.”
Indeed times were hard.
For some reasons,Aremu was rest assured that his parents had everything under control. Until he discovered that his father was few steps from being penniless; he wont able to perform his usual roles as the breadwinner. Even though he was just few months to his fourteenth year, Aremu could understand everything happening.
Uncertainty clouded Aremu’s future and he began to fear for his father’s wellbeing. He knew his father well, his emotions were usually painted boldly on his face. Aremu realised how it could be both a blessing and a curse to feel everything so deeply.
As months rolled by, his Father’s distant behaviour and responses to the family’s daily needs became scanty and void of life.
Aremu was afraid for his father and each time he was about to go to bed; sometimes even with an empty stomach, he prayed that things would change for the better.
Photo credits; instagram users- tope_horpload and teelospgotography
Adapted from my collection of short stories.