Iyanla: Our Mother Has Come (Part I)
(A three bedroom Maisonette in Thamesmead South East London, the living room is furnished with two settees, a television stand with a VCR and DVD player. A raffia mat hangs on the left side of the living room with two canvas paintings of ADE and REMI’S wedding on the right. Enters ADE and REMI coming back from lunch with their friend Peter)
ADE: (Laughing) Peter is a nutcase, did you hear what he told the lady as she passed by him.
REMI: I have often told you, someone needs to teach him how to treat a lady.
ADE: He means no harm. It’s just a laugh.
REMI: Ade, that’s not acceptable, he is vulgar and rude.
ADE: That’s just Peter being himself.
REMI: Explains why he is still single.
ADE: You’re taking this too serious, it was just a joke.
REMI: It’s a joke is the excuse you keep giving for his behaviour, it’s not funny Ade.
ADE: Okay, let’s drop it.
REMI: Why do you change the subject when I’m making a point…
ADE: Honey, Peter is a clown.
REMI: That’s no excuse for being a chauvinist. He needs to be careful before he’s accused of sexual harassment.
ADE: Mama and Shola will be here any minute now. He said they were close the last time I spoke to him at the restaurant.
(REMI is quite)
If it makes you happy, I’ll talk to him.
REMI: That’s the most sensible thing you’ve said all day
ADE: I didn’t know I was being assessed for my sensibility.
REMI: (Throwing her handkerchief at him) Oh, come off it…you know what I mean
(The sound of a car pulling up is heard)
ADE: They’re here. (With excitement)
ADE: (Sarcastically) You’re very excited.
REMI: Just a little…you know.
ADE: (Taking her hands) Hey, there’s nothing to be nervous about.
REMI: If you say so.
ADE: I know so.
REMI: You’re the boss.
ADE: That’s right, let’s go get them. (Laughing)
(ADE goes to open the door. Enters MAMA and SHOLA. They hug and greet each other and MAMA starts praying in Yoruba for ADE)
(Mama is in the living room, dressed in her Iro and Boba and she is going through ADE and REMI’S wedding photo album. Enters ADE with his briefcase and tie in one hand)
ADE: Mama, you are awake, aren’t you tired?
(ADE knotting his tie as he gets ready for work)
MAMA: Ade my son, there’s enough joy to keep me awake for another life time.
ADE: Mama, you’re still as sweet as I remember you.
(Enters SHOLA, greets MAMA and ADE)
ADE: Shola, my man.
SHOLA: That’s me for you o! I came down to see you for some change before you leave.
MAMA: Shola! You still think you’re a child?
ADE: Mama, leave him alone, I’m not complaining.
(Brings out his wallet and gives SHOLA £50)
SHOLA: Thank you, this will do me just fine.
MAMA: Spend it wisely.
SHOLA: Mama, ha! I’m not a child; at least I didn’t wear Iro and Boba to travel.
(All three laughing)
ADE: That’s your fault.
SHOLA: (Laughing) You should have seen her complaining it was hot.
ADE: Mama, next time you wear something simple.
SHOLA: See you later, going back to catch some sleep men!
MAMA: Ade my son, what would have made me even more joyous…
ADE: Mama, please, please, let’s not start this again. I am not God and neither is my wife. It’s out of our control.
MAMA: Ade, you can do something about it if you want to. There are people back home that will be happy to help.
ADE: Mama, I’m a doctor, I should know where to ask for help…
MAMA: They say a blind man can’t help himself.
ADE: If I am correct, what makes you think a half naked priest in some corner of a village will have the solution?
MAMA: Don’t show such disdain to what has kept our ancestors from generation to generation.
ADE: Mama, let’s drop this matter, this is not why you came and please leave Remi out of this.
(Enters REMI dressed in a grey trouser suit)
REMI: Morning everybody, Mama you’re up already?
(REMI turns to ADE)
ADE: Not hungry, will grab a bite at work
REMI: Mama, I can’t believe you are awake. You should be in bed resting after such a hectic journey.
MAMA: It’s in my nature to wake up early. As a wife and mother of two sons, I am used to it.
REMI: Mama, you’re in London now and you’re here to relax. Can I get you anything before I leave for work?
MAMA: (Drops the photo album) No, I’ll be fine.
REMI: Not a breakfast person like Ade, now I know where he got that bad habit from.
ADE: (Cuts into the conversation seeing the look on MAMA’s face) Babes are you coming with me today?
REMI: No, I’ll take my car; I need to pick up our outfit for Wole and Dupe’s baby christening tomorrow.
ADE: Oh! I almost forgot about that, I was going to ask Shola to go out with me tomorrow night and leave you and Mama to do some bonding at home. I guess we can all go out next Friday.
REMI: That shouldn’t be a problem,
Ade told me you were once a teacher and a headmistress and later owned your own school?
ADE: More like a boot camp.
REMI: Don’t be silly.
(Turning to MAMA)
Mama you have a good understanding of kids, the centre could do with your help. You could come down one of these days to my pre-School centre and help with my kids?
MAMA: I’ll be happy to help.
ADE: Mama you can’t handle the kids the same way you did your students at home, I have no money for Police bail.
(Rubbing his palm against each other)
(Pointing to the kitchen direction)
There’s lunch in the microwave for you. I promise to come back early and spend some quality time with you.
MAMA: What culture trains a woman to wake up and greet her husband standing?
ADE: Mama, please there’s no need for the lessons on culture and how to greet.
MAMA: It doesn’t matter where you are, a woman must learn to observe her culture.
(Vehemently stating her case with her hands)
No matter where your father and I go to, each morning I greet him the way an Ondo woman greets her husband.
ADE: Remi is not from Ondo and I’ve no problem with the way she greets me.
MAMA: Maybe that’s the problem.
ADE: My wife is not a robot.
MAMA: What’s wrong with her doing what tradition commands? Tell me, is that why she cooks with the microwave?
ADE: Mama, she said your lunch was in the microwave, it’s ready and all you need do is warm it up. Mama please don’t do this —
MAMA: Do what Ade? Speak the truth, my son. When a man’s house is not in order, very soon his neighbours will know.
(Defensively with anger in his voice)
ADE: You promised you wouldn’t make this an issue before your arrival. It’s not open for discussion.
MAMA: The elders have a saying; the sound of a crying baby is the joy of a mother. Where is my joy or do you want to bury me in shame?
ADE: I thought Shola and I were your joy?
MAMA: I meant the joy of future generations.
ADE: If it makes you happy, we will adopt.
MAMA: Tufai! God forbid, do you know the consequences of doing a thing like that?
(Raising her voice and standing up)
ADE: Mama, there is nothing wrong with adopting a child.
MAMA: What have you eaten Ade? Just what has that woman given you to eat that makes you think you can go out and take another man’s child.
ADE: She is my wife, not that woman, and people adopt all the time and they’re not possessed.
MAMA: It’s unheard of, that a son of Ondo with seed in his loins cannot have his own child and decides to borrow another man’s child.
If she’s happy to play with other people’s children, it doesn’t mean you can go and get one from the market.
ADE: Mama, it’s our decision to make, Remi and I; not yours.
MAMA: Not in my lifetime. The blood of our fathers does not run through its veins and who knows if the parents were mad people.
ADE: Mama, I can’t begin to fathom what you are saying. What has come over you? Remi is not God and she can’t magic up a child.
MAMA: Eight years of marriage Ade with nothing to show for it and you tell me there’s nothing she can do.
(Moves close to him, touching his head)
I can see oyinbo breeze has entered your head.
I’m happy with my life.
MAMA: Really? Is that why you sent us a post card that you were now married, a postcard Ade. A postcard!
(Demonstrating her actions with the paper in her hand, Ade takes a step back)
ADE: Is that what this is about? I didn’t do things the way you and Papa wanted it.
MAMA: We wanted you to come here and study, we didn’t ask you to become an English man with no culture, you are from the soil of Ondo.
ADE: I never said I was ashamed of my place of birth and who lied to you that the English man has no culture?
MAMA: Then tell me why you changed your name to Oba and not Omobabalola like the rest of us.
ADE: They could hardly pronounce my name at school or anywhere else…Oba made life easier.
MAMA: You should have taught them how to say it. You didn’t have to change it, to make life easier for anyone. Did any of them change theirs for you? It’s simple my son, one syllable at a time, Omo- Baba –Lola.
ADE: If that will be all, I should be on my way.
MAMA: If you had listened to your father and I, you could have come back home and married in peace.
(Enters REMI, ADE and MAMA are surprised to see her back)
REMI: You won’t believe I forgot the new packs of job description for my staff.
(Runs upstairs in a hurry to get the packs)
ADE: I hope you are happy with yourself. Please drop this early morning assault and I’m not your only son. Its time Shola too gives you grandchildren.
(As ADE exits)
MAMA: He said he met someone the last time he came to visit and is hoping to cement the relationship over on this trip.
(Still talking as REMI comes back down with her packs in her hands)
REMI: Is he gone?
(MAMA doesn’t respond to REMI’s question as she walks past her and goes up the stairs. MAMA exits, leaving REMI confused, exits)
To be continued…