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: rotimi Wright
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.
Rotimi Wright, 1985
I’m back from school and Mom is in the living room. Her bony shoulders are slumped back against one of the flowery print sofas. She’s crying again. A short sigh escapes me as I watch Fola and Dayo my younger brothers run up the stairs after a hurried hello to our crying parent who waves dismissively back at them. Boys will be boys and pretending that there’s no problem is often the best way to deal with a dilemma you don’t know how to solve. And we all know the dilemma in the Wright’s household is none other than Dad and his many flings with just about anything that walks in skirts.
My eyes follow the receding backs of my brothers. I’m tempted to follow them; tempted to ignore Mom’s sobs. My ingrained good manners wins and I find myself opening my mouth to ask the two questions that I’ve asked for the millionth time in my 14th year.
“Mummy, what’s the matter? Why are you crying?”
I know her answer before she replies. Like the very predictable chorus to a song, it’s always the same every time.
“Nothing,” she says, her smile tight. Then she resumes her sobbing like I’m no longer there.
I shrug, feigning nonchalance but the fact is, her tears this time bothers me. So I stand there, refusing to budge and for the first time, I allow myself to acknowledge the physical changes to her body. She’s become thinner. I remember that two months ago she went to the hospital to have an operation. I still don’t know what was taken out of her body but she did look slimmer, less bustier, even prettier after the operation. But now, I’m not so sure. Now she looks too slender. Too weak. It suddenly occurs to me that my own mother is disappearing right before my eyes. Like a fading fragrance. To think that it’s over my errant father makes my blood boil.
“Should I call Celina to bring you something? Water?”
She shakes her head.
My long arms hang down my sides gawkily even though I long to reach out to her and hold her, tell her that everything is going to be all right. That Dad is nothing but a loser, a thorough jerk for constantly cheating on her. But of course, I tell her none of these things because truth be told, I’m getting just as sick at Mom as I am at Dad for her continued demonstration of helplessness, crying over a man who apparently doesn’t give a hoot about her. Between my parents, Dad is the most fun, a man who plays with his boys like one jesting with his buddies -but there’s the word on the street that he is planning to marry a second wife and I can’t forgive him for that. One would think that after three boys, my father would stay committed to my mother. Isn’t that what all these typical Yoruba men want? Boys to continue their legacy? To show the world how virile they are? And Dad has got to be the most Yoruba man I’ve ever met. A man who till date requires all his sons to fully lie down in prone position when greeting him good morning and expects us to do the same every night when we go to bed. Then, he’ll guffaw loudly and call me “Goliath” because I look ridiculous prostrating on the floor with my long limbs.
But seriously, why does he run after other women? I don’t get it, but even more difficult for me to understand is this: Why does Mom allow Dad to roughshod her so?
Finally, she looks up at me after what seems to be like several hours even though it’s only in seconds.
“Rotimi,” her voice is hoarse from her tears. “What are you still doing here?”
“I want you to tell me why you are crying.” My voice is more hostile than I mean it to be. From her raised eyebrows, I see that I’ve surprised her just as much as I’ve surprised myself. I mentally note that my left foot is tapping the very ugly, dark green carpeted floor of our living room as I wait for an answer from her.
God, but I hate this carpet. I wish someone would yank it off and throw it out.
Mom doesn’t reply but starts crying again and this time, I lose it big.
“Is it Dad? I swear to God, I’ll kill him if he keeps up with this, dammit.”
She gasps, shocked at my antagonism while I think to myself that I like the way dammit rolls off my tongue. Suddenly, I feel quite americanish.
“Why do you let him run over you? Why do you let him make you cry?” I want to say dammit again, but I figure it’s best not to overdo it.
Again, she doesn’t reply. She doesn’t cry either. She only stares at me for a long while, her eyes filled with a melancholy that threatens to soften my rage. I’m tempted to cower in shame at my disrespectful tone, but I don’t. Instead, I dock my head to the side. I’m too tall for my age and it’s a little uncomfortable to have my head in this position.
“What I’m about to tell you Rotimi, you have to promise not to tell your brothers. Okay? I don’t want to unsettle them. They are too young.”
The oddness of her request has me raising my eyebrows, but I nod anyway.
Minutes go by and Mom finally decides to open her mouth to talk to me. It’s one that will tear my soul apart like those detonating bombs thrown around in Sylvester Stallone’s movies my brothers and I watch on Saturday mornings.
“I am dying, Rotimi. I have cancer. Breast cancer.”
I gasp. What is she talking about?
“The doctors treated it some months back,” she continues, “but now it’s come back and it’s malignant.”
My eyes widen as two big words pop into my brain: Cancer and malignant.
I look at her chest, and I see that it is flat under her blouse. Understanding slowly descends on me.
“Dammit,” I mutter. It comes off my tongue just as awful as I feel inside.