I was in the class but my mind was somewhere; my JavaScript teacher was explaining how the variables or properties and methods of a function that has returned can still be accessed by another function defined in it by the concept of ‘closure.’ As I thought of this concept, my mind drifted from the class to the world I had hated and ran away from — my family life. We were a very happy family until Ugonna left –— a death which could have been averted if only the eyewitness of the accident had not chosen Instagram upload as the first course of action at an accident scene.

2011 was the worst year to be eleven. I watched Dad blame himself for the death of his first child. His misery soon killed him as he died of heart attack. Mom had been strong for us as she assured Adanne and I that everything would be alright after father’s demise.

When the wind blows, one sees the bottom of the chicken, quite explained the other side of my once loving uncles. It was like a nightmare as I had to travel back to the village from boarding school because as Adanne had told me — we had a court case.
I thought the house was the only thing they had access to despite the fact that my Dad, their own brother was late, until they took everything from us. They requested that my mother had to ‘keep their brother’s lineage going.’ This was after they had insisted my mother stayed at home and had a male child for Dad; according to them, they were being benevolent to their dead brother.

Mom didn’t have a wealthy background to stand against them, and for other reasons I didn’t know, she gave in to the idea of marrying my uncle.  My sister and I were sent away to a secondary school at Ado Ekiti, a school which — according to Mom — was a good missionary school and better than our former boarding school. Mom never visited, the distance and the condition at home didn’t make things easy.

Holidays were spent at different homes of our maternal family. In my JSS 2, I was summoned by the Principal to speak to Mom on phone. I took the phone after Adanne had spoken with her, and asked about the situation of things at home. She said that all was well and that I had a baby brother. It didn’t make sense to me at first but Adanne later explained to me what she meant. I didn’t really know how to feel as Adanne tried to make the news a good one. I know the birth of a child brings joy but this was no joy for me, it only made me more withdrawn from even my seemingly close friends. I only had two companions — my books and my sleep, every other thing seemed like a threat to me.

Mom always had a way of picking positives from bad situations and this Adanne was lucky to have, while I got the easy-to-get-depressed from Dad. I tried not to show it in order not to add to the burden already at hand. Things didn’t get better for Mom despite the assurances she made, there were problems everywhere, and I only got to know after overhearing my maternal cousins discuss them, no one was going to tell me to my face.

During my JSS 3 long vacation, we once went to visit Mom in the hospital, she looked badly injured and I was told she sustained those injuries while doing house chores. The true story however, was she had a fight with my Dad’s elder brother’s wife, her co-wife. I learnt this from cousins later. Even in the hospital she assured me that all was well but the look on my face worried her because she somehow knew I wasn’t that little baby of the house everyone was protecting anymore.

At a point in my SS2, she spent almost 3 months at her parent's place which had become a home for me considering the fact that I only went to my paternal place ceremonially. The reason for the incident I wasn’t told as always, but when I confronted her she knew she had to give me something more than ‘all is well’ this time.

And so she assured me that everything she was doing was to help us (Adanne and I) get a good education and secure a good future so we wouldn’t end up being insignificant in the so-called men’s world.

At that point, I knew she had had the peak of it. Mom was always sweet and had a way of making everyone look good, but here was an exception and she was near her elastic limit.

But that didn’t stop Mom from trying to shield us from the fierce looks of my uncles. Her episodes with them she didn’t tell, but somehow I knew she was facing far worse. By her second year in the university, Adanne severed all links with my paternal side. I didn’t meet my half brother too because my uncles forbade Mom from bringing him anywhere near my maternal home, and for me I gave up reaching out to my paternal relatives. I was tired of their closure — a culture I detest so much; unfortunately, Mom was the variable they had access to.

“...with the concept of closure explained, we close today’s lecture at this juncture. See you on Wednesday by 10 a.m. and no African time programmers!” And that was Miss Uche, my JavaScript teacher as she brought me back from the long bad old days.

Mom had now found her balance and joy which were her variables reassigned outside the function where the closure was scoped and these global variables (Adanne and I), her lawyer and engineer to be, were her bulletproof.

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