Baba’s Scar

…I know Baba has a scar. I saw him get the scar, or not…. 


Baba dealt with automobiles. He had a big and flourishing shop at the centre of the market in our town. On some days, he worked while on other days, he rested. He did not work himself to the bones like a clock. His maxim was “Do your best and leave the rest to God”.


He sure did his best in taking care of us —my irresponsible brother, his saucy baby mama, his lachrymist of a child and my indifferent self. Plus my mum when she was still here. You see, my mum left two minutes after I was born. I was told she did not even get a perfect glimpse of my blood-smeared face before she hurriedly left our earth. In search of greener pastures, I think; since my face was so red upon delivery.


I was in the kitchen when the devil’s incarnate, a.k.a my brother, came bursting through the living room door, his leashed dog on his tail. He came bearing bad news, as usual. He informed me that Baba had had an accident at the shop. I headed to the shop thinking it was not something serious. Accidents happened at the shop occasionally; an unscrewed bolt, someone slipping on engine oil and knocking out one of their incisors in the process or a talkative apprentice who hit a mallet on his fingers while doing what he could do best— talking.


Nothing in this world prepared me for the peacefully static image of Baba, decorated in smithereens of glass in crimson liquid, on an old bench in a shop where he had spent the better parts of his life. That same bench was what we had sat on together for years while he told me stories of his childhood days. I always laughed even though I had heard those stories a million times. Something told me I would never sit on that bench again. What grabbed my attention was the gaping wound on his left cheek. Just from under his left eye to the corner of his mouth. My Baba had fought with a customer. In an Italian movie, this customer would have been a mafia lord.


The version of the story narrated to me was that the customer complained about his car giving him issues even after Baba had repaired it. Baba informed him that he had to get a few new parts to get the car up and running. However, our Nigerian mafia lord went hysterical and attacked Baba. He accused him of stealing his car parts, slashed his left cheek with a knife and pushed him into a glass window. Baba hit his head on the window sill during his descent from the mafian push and the impact made him close his eyes forever.


I am not sure if the Nigerian mafia lord had experienced karma the way Baba said all evildoers would, but I know the wound on Baba’s cheek would have left an ugly, jagged scar. I am sure of it, even though I was not allowed an opportunity to confirm because they put him six feet under a few days after the incident.


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