My book, Omo mummy (literal meaning, Mummy’s daughter) will be coming to major bookstores May 1, 2013 (by God’s good grace). Omo Mummy is a full length novel and is the story of two very different characters – Kofo Oyetunde and Rotimi Wright – who fall in love and keep going at it despite life’s difficulties, and wow, do they go through some challenges. It’s a story I guarantee will touch your heart, just as much as it touched mine while writing. You can read excerpts here by clicking the cover below. I will be sharing the official blurb of the novel in the coming weeks, but I just thought of sharing the cover with you.
Posts Tagged With: omo-mummy
Warning: Contains language that could be considered offensive.
I’m laughing at Tito’s last comments, and also thinking of my strange reaction to her quiet, older sister when I walk up to the car. Sam is waiting for me beside the vehicle. Restrained annoyance is etched on his dark-skinned face.
“My guy, where you go now?” he asks in pidgin.
I get inside the car, turn on the ignition, and motion with my finger that he should get in. He’s not fully seated when I turn the AC knob clockwise. True, the car is running low on petrol, but if cool air doesn’t blow on me, like right now, I’ll combust from my own bewildering thoughts. Hot air from the vent initially blasts across my face. Sam says “Yeh!” In seconds, the air turns cool. Sam stares at me, a perplexed frown furrowing the bridge of his nose.
“Don’t ask,” I say.
From the corner of my eyes, I see him shrug. He sticks a fat envelope in the cup-holder. “Twenty grand,” he says. “For two bed spaces.”
I nod, pretending hard to concentrate on my driving.
“You’re not counting?” He sounds baffled.
“I trust you,” I reply. No, I don’t trust Sam; I’ve never trusted Sam, just as I’ve never trusted anybody when it comes to my cash. But right now, my brain is too wired up to even think about money.
“My guy, you see ghost?”Sam asks.
Something more than ghost, I reply wordlessly. Kofo, in her snug princess t-shirt- looked so girly-woman…and in all of the right places. I don’t believe I’ve ever had this kind of reaction before to any female. Who knew – looking at her from afar and dismissively labeling her as a Jambito – that I’d be struck by her witchy brown eyes covered by her glasses once I came closer? Dammit, but it’s good to be rich because then, one could look pretty like Kofo. She’s not exactly what I’d call beautiful. Yes, pretty is the word alright. But then, something tells me rich or not, Kofo is naturally pretty. To think that she’s only 18! I scratch my head with one hand.
I really shouldn’t be thinking along these lines, especially when Kofo’s mom was just as pleased to see me as I was to see her. And the woman had hugged me too, really warm and nice, like a good parent who’s happy to see her child., even though I’m not her child; even though it had taken a lot of self effort on my part not to grimace when she’d said she remembered me as a baby, confusing me for Dayo.
Chief Oyetunde’s wife hasn’t changed much though, I reflect. Still very petite, with dimples in her cheeks when she smiles, and a glowing dark skin that reminds me of that model in the Joy soap commercial. Kofo seems to have taken well after her mom. When I was a child, I used to fantasize that Mrs. Oyetunde and her husband were my parents. They were always so poised, so rich, and appeared devoted to their two girls. But of course, those were the whimsical thoughts of a child. No more. I’m a man now, a man whose only fantasy – if one can even call it that – is to make enough money so he can transition efficiently to the new life that’s calling for him in Chicago. That’s right! The US oA!
Besides, the woman has enlisted me to protect her daughter from Ife boys, and I can tell that Kofo is going to need some serious protection the moment some unassuming guy walks up to her and gets struck by her sweet-faced look. She’s an unconventional beauty, that Kofo. And her prettiness is more in her eyes…and her pert nose…and her cute lips that contrasts nicely against her skin. God! So flawlessly dark-complexioned. For one blasted second, I’d stared at her lips like an idiot when her mom did introductions.
Speaking of introductions, I snicker, remembering how Kofo squirmed when her mother introduced her to me.
We brought your younger sister, Kofo to school…Remember her? She was about eight when your mummy passed.
Yes, I do remember her, even though she’s no longer eight; even though she isn’t my younger sister.; even though she sure as hell isn’t my type…with those big, trusting eyes of hers hiding behind her glasses.
I’m the last person Mrs. Oyetunde needs to protect her daughter from the so- called yeye boys of Ife she talked about. Me and my depraved soul isn’t what any sane-thinking parent would want around their daughter., not that I have any plans to do anything about my attraction to Kofo. But a deal is a deal; I’ve promised Mrs. Oyetunde that I’ll come check on Kofo tonight, and against my better judgment, I’m going to stick to the plan.
“So my guy, how much have you saved up?” Sam cuts into my thoughts as I drive past the gates of OAU.
I shake my head ruefully, thoughts of Kofo still shadowing my mind. “Not enough,” I reply, and it’s the honest truth. How much is enough to help one relocate and settle down in the United States, a country where the cost of a semester’s tuition is more than the cost of building a house in Nigeria?
“You know, why don’t you just swallow your pride and ask your father for help?”
I can feel my pupils narrow, and I can’t help the sudden clench to my hands at Sam’s suggestion.
“Sam,” my voice is deliberately soft.
I give him my best knifelike stare. “Shut the fuck up.”
“Okay.” Sam holds up his hands in surrender. “My guy, just trying to help o. You need the money and your father can -”
I don’t let him finish. I stop the car suddenly, and hold him up by the collar. Sam looks stunned. “Don’t. Ever. Ever…” I’m bristling with so much anger and hate , it’s difficult to finish my sentence.
“Okay, okay, okay,” Sam splutters, completely taken aback by my sudden rage. “Put me down. Put me down now.”
I release him and he slumps back, quite shaken, into the worn leather seat of my ’88 Honda civic. I take a long deep breath, collect myself and resume driving.
“I won’t suggest that again,” Sam says after a long while.
You better never.
“I need to get some fuel inside this car.” I say, and just like that, I forget Sam’s errant mention of my equally errant father and settle my thoughts on a pretty girl in a pink t-shirt, staring at me with big, brown eyes.
“…and they lived happily ever after.” Mummy closes the book, smiles, and kisses me on the forehead.
Tito – my sister, she’s six- is snoring beside me on our bed. She fell asleep – a long time ago – when mummy opened the book to read Cinderella’s story. Mummy always says Tito is too tomboyish to enjoy stories from a good book. Ruffian – that’s what she calls Tito. Mummy is very happy that I love to read, just like she does. She says she used to be a teacher before I was born. Mummy says she stopped teaching when she married Daddy and started to have babies. So, she likes it when I read. Mummy doesn’t mind what I read, so long as I read. She’s always happy every time I tell her I want a book for a present. Mummy likes to read to me too. Tonight, she’s very happy to read to me because Tito and I are travelling again tomorrow. Tito and I travel outside the country a lot because Mummy and Daddy are very rich. That’s what Aunt Dokun – Dad’s sister –says. But this time, we are travelling for good…we are going to be in a new school. A boarding school for girls. Somewhere in London. It’s supposed to be the best school for young girls and Mummy and Daddy always want Tito and I to have the best. They say there aren’t many good schools in Nigeria anymore because there’s too much erhm…bribery and ehrm corruption and that ehrm…the leaders don’t care too much about education. They are very worried about the new president. Babaginda – I think that’s his name. It’s a long name. Daddy says he fears this new president will make Nigeria worse.
Mummy and Daddy – they call us Adunni. Daddy says it means My Delight. Mummy also likes to say that I’m her dead mother who came back to life. Yetunde…that’s my other name. But Daddy doesn’t like it when mummy calls me Yetunde. Daddy says it’s super – ehrm – superstitious? to say someone is their dead mother come back to life. So Mummy only calls me Yetunde when Dad isn’t looking.
“Did you enjoy the story?” Mummy asks.
I nod. I’ve heard Cinderella’s story many many times. I never get tired of it. I sigh because I’m happy. Very very happy. I love Cinderella’s story. It’s my best story of all. I like her pictures in the book too. Cinderella has white skin and long hair. Her eyes are blue. I have black skin and my hair is not that long. It’s black and it hurts a lot when the hairdresser is fixing it. My eyes are black too. But it says in my passport that I have brown eyes. And I have glasses. Everybody in my class thinks I’m smart because I have glasses. My white teacher, Mrs. Herbert – she looks like Cinderella, but she’s old – always tells Mummy and Daddy that I’m an intelligent Nigerian girl. She says I’ll be a professor one day. I don’t know about that. I don’t think I want to be a professor. I think I’d like to be Cinderella.
But it’s going to be hard for me to look like Cinderella. Look at her hair. Look at mine. I have attachment in my hair to help it twist into braids. Bob Marley – that’s what Mummy calls it. Bob Marley style. Tito and I, we always have Bob Marley style on our heads. It takes forever for the hair dresser to get it done, but once she’s done, we always look pretty. I know we look pretty because Daddy smiles and says, “Adunni mi.”
“Mummy, when I grow up, I’m going to be very pretty like Cinderella. Then, I will fall in love, get married and live happily ever after.”
Mummy frowns. “Ehn?”
I repeat myself.
“Kofoworola, you are very pretty now. I don’t want you to be like Cinderella. I want you to be Kofo. Besides, no talk of falling in love yet. You are a little girl. Just eight. You need to face your studies and then, you’ll go to a good university and when you finish university, you will marry a good man.”
I nod. But I’m confused. Why doesn’t Mummy want me to be like Cinderella? She’s pretty. Prettier than me.
“Why don’t you want me to be like Cinderella? She’s very pretty and she lived happily ever after.”
Mummy shakes her head slowly and stares at me. “Oloun e ma gbami.”
“I think I’ve made a mistake.”
Mummy smiles a little. I think she can read the question in my eyes. She shakes her head. “Kofo, I want to tell you a story that’s even better than Cinderella’s story. It’s a story my own mother told me when I was a little girl.. It’s a Yoruba story about a girl. Her name is called Adunni too. She was just like you.”
I sit up immediately. Mummy has never told me a Yoruba story before. “Is there a book? With pictures?”
Mummy smiles sadly “No. Not that I know of. May be one day. I’ve heard rumors that there will be a television show on NTA soon that will show Nigerian stories like Adunni’s. If it’s true, I’d like to name it ‘Tales by moonlight’.”
I smile. Tales by moonlight. I like the sound of it..
“But for now, it’s not in a book and it’s not on TV. So, it’s an alo.’
Alo? It’s an odd word.
Mummy grins. She likes it when I’m confused. Because it means I’ll be curious. And curious in mummy’s eyes is a good thing.
“Alo means folklore…. Or a story in Yoruba. And when I say, ‘Alo o’, You’ll say ‘Alo’. Okay?”
“Alo,” I reply.
“A long time ago, there lived a girl called Adunni. She was very beautiful. She had lovely skin like yours, Kofo.”
I giggle. “Did she wear glasses?”
Mummy smirks. “No. She didn’t wear glasses because they didn’t have glasses back then.”
I giggle again.
Mummy wags an admonishing finger at me. “And don’t interrupt me in the middle of an alo. It’s not good.”
I stop giggling and sit still.
“Adunni lived with her wicked step mother. One day, Adunni’s step mother sent her to a forest that was far away to go and fetch some water. Adunni fetched the water but got lost on her way home. So she began to sing a song, asking for help from Olodumare, the god of their village. Now, there was a prince passing by. He wore purple aso-oke and had many servants. He heard Adunni singing in the forest and he loved her voice. So he sent his servants to go and fetch Adunni. When Adunni saw the servants, she got scared and wanted to run away but the servants told her not to be scared; that the prince had heard her beautiful voice and wanted to make her his wife. So the servants brought Adunni to the prince. The prince was happy because Adunni was just as beautiful as her voice. So, he married her and on her wedding day, he gave her a purple aso-oke, just like his own to wear. And they lived happily ever after.”
I sigh. “That was a beautiful story, Mummy. I like alo.”
Mummy’s smile is very big. She looks really happy with herself. She rises from the side of my bed. Tito snores loudly.
“Good night, Kofo,” Mummy says. She gives Tito a quick glance. “Sweet dreams.”
Sweet dreams too Mummy, I say in my heart. I close my eyes and fall asleep.