We didn’t grow up with our mum but she will always come first.
As I watched my dad walked up to us on the high table, looking tired and spent, I couldn’t but look up to heavens in praise to God; the one who rewrites stories and rewards every one accordingly.
It was my first child’s christening. My mom -gaily dressed- sat beside me, holding my daughter while the pastor preached on. As if the man was in the spirit, he digressed into how mothers are precious. He talked about the journey of pregnancy and how wicked it would be for anyone [irrespective of who you are] to come in-between a woman and her child.
I looked towards my dad, perhaps, he got the message but as usual, his expression bore no emotions.
I was less than 10-years when it all started, or should I say; when I started to notice. My parents had 5 of us – 2 girls and 3 boys. Unfortunately, one of the boys passed on some years ago. Perhaps, in the course of telling my story, I would talk about him. He was my immediate younger brother. His name was Rapheal. I miss him so much but let me not digress just yet.
Looking back now, as the 2nd child, I never noticed any cordiality between my mom and dad. My dad was a trained pharmacist. It was his family members who got him a wife from their town; albeit an illiterate woman. As daddy progressed, mom was limited to only bearing children. She had the five of us in a space of 9-years. After a while, I think my dad started to get dissatisfied with an illiterate wife. Mom was fully dependent on him, she never made anything for herself. My dad was choleric to a fault; always wanting things done his own way. No one is right and mom, ignorant of her own right as a woman, did only what her husband allowed.
I remember we were 12, 9, 7, 5 and 3 respectively when dad returned from work one day and sent mom packing. We lived in a room and parlour apartment in a densely populated estate. I remember people trooping into our sitting room to plead with daddy, mommy on her knees crying, holding on tightly to my then 3-year old brother, Robert. I remember daddy yanking the crying child off from her grip and tossing him into the bedroom. I remember him shouting at the five of us – we were wailing- to go into the bedroom and stay there till he said otherwise. I remember neighbours pleading with him. The women on their knees, the men standing and making little sermons here and there… My father remained adamant and insisted my mother must leave the house that very night.
My mother pleaded that she had no where to go, and I remember my father telling her to go and die if that was the case.
That very night, ignoring the pleas of neighbours, ignoring the tears of his five children, my father sent my mother into the streets with nothing to her name. He wouldn’t even allow any of the five of us to step out with her.
From then, things took a worse turn…
(To be continued…)