Share This Post

Magazine

Who will greet you at home- Lesley Nneka Arimah

‘Who Will Greet You at Home’ is not like any imaginative piece that comes by easily. But with this short piece one might be quick to remark ‘you easily cannot tell which way Lesley’s ink flows following a constant readership.’ In this, one is brought to bear with an insatiable quest for motherhood. Because she is becoming a familiar face at the Caine and seem like one whose mission would not be termed impossible until she has made her mark with the way she is pushing it.

Ogechi is the character the story is built on, whose affections climb up and down the hill on account of her babies. She is a hairdresser in Mama Said Hair Emporium.
Because of this affinity with women and their mothers, like any other new mother Ogechi met with her mother whose reaction was just to yank her cotton tufts baby in two from under its armpits. Her best reason for such devastating action was for the baby’s non-utilitarian good. The world for her needed such strong limbs that can plow and haul and scrub, otherwise death would be calling too soon. And it happened again, between Ogechi and her somewhat unencouraging mother. At the end of the day, it all needed neighbours to save the day. That had been the first incidence and another following suit; she resolved not to go back to her any more.

This time, because she wouldn’t afford herself grow a child that is after all maimed, she undid the whole patch of fibre that was the leg by pulling the string loose. At this point, one is let into one of the drives of Ogechi, of her inexhaustible quest to perfect her babies. “In the least, things had to be perfect, no less babies.” Now, she would know that the choice of yarn as material was a heavy flop.

Meanwhile, her social class is sharply contrasted with something of leisure-like, posh-like. And it was why her choice materials for making babies would also reflect the hard life a mother she would be was circumvented in. “women like her had to form their children out of sturdier, more practical material to withstand dents and scrapes that came with a life like hers.” But a life like hers was scaffold on work, work, and work. And to work she goes. In one of those not regular times she treated herself to a bus ride that turned out, a huge regret. Perhaps, she should have trekked, it was not unusual. In the ride, there were two babies-woven raffia babies. On whom poured much admiration and great anticipation from her fellow commuters, markedly by one of such passengers that made her look like some bunch of never-do-it-well because of the entirety of her unremarkable package (yarn baby) that she just gave an embarrassed smile and studied her fingers. Nevertheless, in the ride, Ogechi hoped to unseat the passenger with wary looks.

At work, there is the Emporium owner, Mama Said who was in the habit of being payment conscious- money or anything not tangible. And two other assistant hairdressers, the hairdressers at first seemed of good cheer that Ogechi wouldn’t heed and so their consequent shift of loyalty and snickering. With all the disappointment, the loose strings of the yarn baby had caused, Mama Said would still suck up her due (payment) even when Ogechi lived well under the nose of the all-important personality that Mama Said made herself. She lived in her rented apartment, ate from her establishment, and then worked in her Emporium. In fact, she was the spot all bucks stopped. Feeling as helpless as always, Ogechi let Mama Said have her wish (her choice payment in something intangible), like other desperate girls that frequented her back room.

Her longing to perfect her stitches of babies would be infuriated when she lock eyes with one done with dexterity, tears would tickle. A customer carried it into the Emporium looking for Mama Said. It was as though Mama Said never had those beautiful or sturdier materials others carried about, like it was somewhat, a hidden ploy to get them under her the more. With Mama Said attended by the customer, Ogechi begins another process to birth another baby, though wary of the Emporium’s staff awareness. She would grease her hands to fine tune this one that will be all hairs, which could survive conditions. She left work thereafter; Mama Said had blessed it without a glimpse, it was concealed in a scarf. Like other times, taking something intricate since she had no money to pay for blessings.

At home one morning, the baby is snatched up in some uncomforting, Ogechi would attempt assiduously to comfort, but it continued. At the long run, it festered one night when the hair baby stood over her at night. With tense struggle she fights off her horrible hair creature by setting it into flames while it clung stiffly to her head. Moreover, she is hit by both physical torture and persevering emotional uneasiness that gave birth to a seeming new and better perceived beginning, devoid of Mama Said’s blessings. 

Share This Post