‘Mom, are you saying that sex is bad?’ Rita asked.
Her mom was silent. She had a far away look in her eyes, something Rita had never seen before.
The noise of the crickets filtered into the room. Night birds shrieked at each other with playful delight as they scampered in the remaining portion of forest that civilization had not encroached on.
‘Ada,’ her mom paused. When she wanted to tell her something very important, she called her by her native name.
‘You know I love you very much.’
‘Yes I do mom.’
‘Have I ever told you something, anything which you later found out to be false?’
Rita thought for a few seconds. There had never been an occasion when her mom deceived her or told her to tell a lie. A long time ago, Rita had eaten a portion of her dad’s dinner before he returned from work. Rita loved egusi soup, with grilled goat meat. It was too tempting to resist. When her dad returned from work and found out what had happened, he called the four children together. But before he could say anything, her mom had fished Rita out. She was the only one, apart from the last born who liked grilled goat meat. The last born was in school, so the culprit must be Rita. She confessed and was given a short lesson in honesty and integrity. Several years later, this lesson remained with her.
‘No, mom, you have never told me a lie.’
‘A man who says he likes you should be patient to know your soul before he goes after your body. Your soul is the seat of your emotions, will, personality, dreams, hopes, likes and dislikes. Your soul is what makes you unique, different from every other woman.’ Her mom paused and drank some water. ‘A man who likes you has to walk through the passage of your soul to get to your body.’