At Least Two Parties to a Relationship
There can only be a relationship if there are at least two parties; if one doesn’t exist there can be none. Space distance is not a barrier; neither is rime distance. Race constitutes no barrier; neither does religion.
I started a relationship with God through my parents. They used to take me to Church and bought some story books, in pictures, for me; even long before I started school more than six decades ago. My parents didn’t go to school. No, sorry! My father never told me he went to school. My mother said that she started but when her classmates noticed she was doing fine they started harassing her because her senior brother was leading in his class. She said that they used to torment her; demanding to know if the school was established for her family only. That would be sometime around 1926; her education was stopped to protect her.
I developed a hate relationship between a dog and me one Sunday afternoon. We were on our way back from the Church and this dog was rummaging through a dustbin. There were other dogs around. It looked healthier than them. I went near it and called “dog, dog”. It snarled at me and pursued me. I thought I knew how to run but I was saved because it knew that if it pursued me too much the other dogs would take over the dustbin. From that day, I never pursued any dog ravaging at a dead animal or searching for what it could pick at a dustbin.
One of my father’s cousins generated and established a hate relationship between him and me. My parents knew that I wouldn’t touch a commode, talk less of carrying it when full. As at the age of four I would open the door and get outside to ease myself, even at midnight. Then, my parents travelled and this cousin came to sleep in our house. He brought in a girl for the night; on my parents’ family bed. I loathed him enough for that; but what can a child of 5+ do? In the morning he insisted that I should carry the commode. I refused. Every occupant of the building testified that my parents didn’t ever ask me to carry commode. He insisted and forced me; beating with hands, whip and cane. I had scars all over.
We forced the girl out of Lemǫmu Street for that reason. We were staying on Lemǫmu Street Ekotędo Ibadan
She was the only working class girl I knew on Lemǫmu Street. Before the event, Alade and I liked her and almost every day we would stand on the verandah of our house to be able to greet her each time she came back from work. Alade’s parents occupied the adjoining house to our own building; within the same compound. From that day, any time she came back from work, we would meet her with empty milk cans and short sticks, drumming and singing “aşęwo, Aşęwo;” with made-up songs that related her sensuous sex cries and the story of the commode. Our song indicated that her urine smelt filth like 3-day-old cow’s urine. He changed her route to her residence but we located it and followed up. She eventually packed away.
My father’s cousin established the hate relation after my O’ Level. My father was late before I finished my Teacher s’ Grade II Certificate course and I took the GCE O’ Level. With the good success recorded, I thought I could receive assistance from him to secure a job in Lagos so that I could look for a place where I would be attending evening classes for GCE A’ Level and be able to support my mother with the education of my siblings. He was then the General Manager of a vehicle sales company owned by the Western Nigeria Government.
His response to my request for assistance was “Everybody has his own problem!” Since then I treated him as having his own problem too.
The irony of life was that we never had contact until my penultimate class in the university. Each time I had occasion to meet with him in the assembly of his age group I pretended I didn’t even know him. Since he acknowledged that he had problems and didn’t want me to add my own. I didn’t want his problems to get stuck to my own either. He would be about 25 years older than me.
He heard from my mother when I was about to get married and requested my mother should ask me to see him. I simply asked my mother to ask him to send me a certificate confirming that he had solved all his problems.
In the real sense of the word, I don’t hate. But I keep people at bay or in heart, based on the hand of fellowship that they stretch towards me.
Going back to our God – You Relationship, I’ll give two examples. Both are of the same generations and both were surviving ones of two sets of twins. One of them became an atheist because he believed that if God exists his twin sibling shouldn’t have died. The other gave his life to the service of God because he believed it pleased God the he is the surviving one of a set of twins.