Jele o sinmi

“Break her hands!! Break her legs!! She must not go!! Get the Ataare, some salt and a metal spoon”, Papa said. Mama hurries out of the room to get the pepper, salt and spoon. I stand with Bamitale, holding his hands tightly as we watch Papa in silence. “Hold her hands, Iya Sinmi. And legs too. The salt will bring her back. Pour everything in her mouth”, Papa says as soon as Mama comes back in. Mama is crying. I see her. I pity her. I even cry with her, occasionally wiping my eyes with the ends of my wrapper. “We should go”, Bamitale says. “But I want to watch everything”, I say to him. “Her body is going stiff”, Mama Cries, holding on tightly to me. “Help me!” I’m her 9th child. The ones before me are gone. Come back as me, they say. Of course! Papa gave 8 blows. They died after each one. His blows did not touch me, just the poor woman I call Mother. I lived. Papa shoved the spoon in my mouth, down my throat, blocking air. “It will hold her teeth apart”, he tells her, reeking of Ogogoro. Mama should have known. His hands are not steady. “Bamitale, let’s go. This house can now rest”. Mama bursts into tears, screaming “JELEOSINMI” as I walk away, hand in hand with Bamitale.