As narrated by Jude Idada on Facebook…
At the Ozone cinema yesterday, while I waited for a friend.
The crimson sun hung half buried in the horizon outside the large windows that overlooks the Commercial avenue neigbourhood.
A woman came charging up the stairs.
She patrolled the lobby where the tickets, pop corn and drinks are sold in her green sequined gown which had a black pouch tied around her waist.
Her hair was packed in a hair net.
No make up.
Her slippers made a smacking sound as she trudged around periodically looking at the corridor that led to the cinema halls.
I watched her.
Saw her repeatedly shake her head as though she wrestled with unsettling thoughts.
The minutes ticked.
Then a crowd came out of one of the cinema halls furtherst down the corridor.
Chattering and laughing.
Silent and sober.
They poured into the lobby.
The woman made a beeline for a couple who were amongst the ones seized with laughter and joy.
Wakanda fever in the air.
The lady of the couple was young and had an extra tight fitting Man United jersey upon black jeans and black running shoes.
Her hair was dreadlocked and hung far below her shoulders.
Stud earrings dotted her ears.
She was polished dark skin, light make-up, painted finger nails and beautiful.
The gentleman was dressed same way.
As though twins.
He was fair, full bearded and tall.
They held hands.
And that was the first thing the irate woman in the green gown attacked when she got to them.
She hit the hands so hard they separated as she screamed one word.
The couple spurn around in shocked surprise.
All the lady could do before the hot slap hit her was exclaim.
Then the woman pushed her as she screamed.
“You want to disgrace me.”
As the lady staggered back, the woman with a quick sweep of her feet, cleared the ladies feet from beneath her.
She collapsed on the floor, her side hitting it first.
The gentleman took several steps back.
The crowd stopped to watch.
Save for the woman who had jumped on the lady and now sat astride her.
“You are fifteen years old and it is following man you think is the reason God created you eh!”
Slaps upon slaps rained on the lady, so furiously you couldn’t hear what she was saying as she rolled her head from left to right to avoid the flying hands.
Her own arms were pinned to her side by the womans knees.
“When you get pregnant, whose house do you want to bring the bastard to?”
The gentleman was now by the staircase looking from afar.
I walked over to her.
She gazed at me.
Hell burning in her eyes.
“Are you mad?!”
Her rage was resonated like a blast of wind from her.
I stepped back.
She turned back to the lady that lay squirming and murmuring under her.
“You want to be like your sister? You both want to kill me? You want to be useless like your father? You think it is my job to raise bastards for you all?”
Each question was accentuated with a loud smacking slap.
Then from the pouch she removed a pair of scissors and began cutting off the dreadlocks that adorned the head of the lady.
The lady screamed.
It felt as though cutting the hair was infinitely more painful than the slaps she had received.
“Mommy please, stop. Mommy! Mommy!”
“You are lucky I am not pouring acid on your face. You think to be beautiful means you must be a prostitute. Your mates are at home doing their homework, you are hear looking for penis. If you move again I will remove your eyes, and we will see how you will find men to follow. Harlot!”
The lady lay there trying to heave her mother off her, as she cut every one of her dreadlocks.
“It is that your stupid school I blame. Private school, private school. Your father wouldn’t let me hear word. He wants his daughters to be as loose as the useless women he chases. I say if you move I will gouge out your eyes. Don’t try me. Stay still.”
And she lay still weeping loudly as the woman cut off all her hair in such a haphazard manner that when she finally stood up and began slapping the lady towards the staircase, her head looked like a badly harvested farmland.
“I will disgrace you. Next time you come here, everyone will laugh at you. If you don’t behave, I will follow you everywhere and disgrace you there. Soon there will be nowhere in Lagos that shame will not be waiting for you there. You think you can be dodging. I have eyes watching your every move.”
The lady tried to walk with the last verges of dignity she had left as the woman rained slaps and insults on her.
The gentleman ran down the staircase as she approached.
The crowd watched silently.
And when she and the woman had walked down the staircase and the woman’s voice still echoed up towards the lobby.
The crowd dispersed.
Whisperings, laughter, murmurings.
As though it was a sight they beheld on the daily.
While I stood there, feeling rotten and sorry for the poor lady, who had been socially raped so publicly by a woman who was her mother.