My mother’s cousin died last month and relatives called from the village to tell her.
But the phone connection was so bad, she couldn’t hear them, so when they said he died of cancer, my mother, standing by the window for better reception, said, “What? Tanker ke? Ni bo?”
The person on the end of the line replied, “At home.”
My mother hung up and put her hand over her mouth.
She said, “Baba Sola ti ku o. A tanker ran into his house and killed him.”
What struck me later, after it was cleared up, wasn’t her mistake but that for her, both options seemed equally likely. That here, between tanker and cancer, one did not seem more farfetched than the other.