On my way home, I wore a huge smile on my face, not because I was in any way excited about going back home. Infact., I’d rather have my head chopped off than think of going anywhere close to that house, it was nothing but packaged hell on Earth, beautiful and breath taking on the outside but rotten to its very core on the inside.
That day was different, my mother called me and told me that she was expecting a baby, my sister or brother would be arriving soon and the excitement exploding in my stomach was too huge for words to contain.
I didn’t know when I threw few of my belongings in a small bag, strapping my guitar behind me as I hurried out of my hostel. I always carried my guitar anywhere and everywhere i went, it was my shadow, my bestie, merely staring at its strings brought me peace and ease.
My Mum told me not to come home but I didn’t listen, I wanted to protect her and the unborn child, I dared all the consequences and in no time I landed at the front door. Seeing me walk in, she came and hugged me with a smile larger than the one I had on my face.
She smacked my back playfully, we were just about to enter the house whenthe entire atmosphere changed. The sky became darker, the wind protested vehemently, nearly throwing my guitar off my shoulders but I grabbed it just before it landed on the ground. I silently reassured myself that I would be fine even when my heart kept on throwing painful blows at my conscience,
” Come on, it looks like it’s going to rain, let’s go inside.”
I dragged my mother who seemed to have noticed the abrupt defiance of the atmosphere and in a twinkle of any eye, I was right in the middle of the lion’s den. My mother went on to prepare my favorite dish while I walked to my room, nothing had changed except that my stereo system wasn’t there and all my CD collections had disappeared.
The last time I came home, I had to go straight to the church because no one was around and it was on a Sunday, I watched my father sweat profusely on the podium with a microphone in his hand addressing the congregation. I never followed any of my father’s rules but that day, I defied all of them,
* Never uncover your hair
* Do not wear trousers
* Do not attach anything to your natural hair.
* Do not have tattoos on your skin.
When my father saw me entering the church with no scarf wrapped on my head with a wig on my head and newly drawn tattoos on my skin, he dropped the microphone and ordered the ushers to throw me out. I wanted him to have a heart attack so he would feel the pain he was putting my mother through. I did it because I promised him I would do it if beat my mother but he chose to dare me.
I was only sixteen when it happened, I was the only child because everytime my mother made the slightest mistake, she got the beating of her life. I was the only child because I had lost four of my siblings to my father’s brutality and sheer wickedness, all in the name of religion. I remembered when my mother served him food with a different plate, different from the one he uses and he broke the plate on her head, using the broken pieces to give her scars on her arm.
After that Sunday he came home, he didn’t say anything at first but he entered my room later that night with a bucket of boiling water. He forced my feet into the bucket of hot water, that was not all, he made sure to use heated pincers to burn off my outer skin in an attempt to atone for my sins. I never defied him after that till I entered the university, during all those trying times, my mother got me a guitar saying that,
” I’m sorry that you have to go through this.”
” Let’s run away, Mum. We’ll die here o!”
” Shhhh, we can’t leave, your father would change, I know he would change someday.”
” Is it after he’s put you in the grave before you know that you do not have the power to change such a vile person? He would kill you!”
” No, he cannot do that, he’s just facing some problems now that’s why–“
” How many babies have you lost, Mum!!!! Four children!!! Don’t their lives even matter to you at all!! A man who can kill his own children can kill his wife even if she has ten lives!! Instead of fighting back or running away, you sit here and make excuses for that wolf!!!! Is that it?”
” Oluchi, you don’t understand. I love your father—“
” Love gbakwa oku!!! Let love burn to ashes, Mum!!!”
I told her that I was going to leave but I never left, I stayed with her because I knew that I was her strength, if I had left, she would have died almost immediately. He blamed my love for music for my behavior and I wasn’t too surprised when he smashed my guitar to pieces a few days later. He also called a barber to cut my hair turning me into a monk overnight. All my mother did was to beg, plead and cry but he said,
” I wouldn’t let my family taste hell fire. Trust me Angelina, I’m doing this for you and our daughter, if I am not strict, you both won’t make heaven and I do not want that!”
” We do not need to see hell!!!! Having you as my father is worth more than hell!!!”
I got a slap that smashed my face on our dining table for taking back at him. He had my mother wrapped around his little finger, constantly washing her brain with lies and deceit. I was still going down memory lane when I heard my mother scream.
I ran off like a child chased by a masquerade only to see him with a belt in his hand, his demonic figure hovering over my mother. In the bid to save my mother, I grabbed a wine bottle and smashed it on his head. I smiled when I saw blood rushing down his forehead, from smiling I began to laugh at what he had become, a passed out king with no value, with no crown. I grabbed my mother by her hand and said,
” Whether he wakes up or not shouldn’t be your concern! We’re leaving, even if we have to live in the slums we would, over my dead body would I lose another sibling to this dog!!”
After a few days of hiding my mother in my hostel, news came that my father had committed suicide leaving all his property to my mother. Praises of what great man of God he was, greased the newspapers and magazines. Some members of the church called him THE GREAT PRODIGY OF GRACE but they never knew what a disgrace he was on the inside.
I became a musician with dyed dreads on my head,while my mother lived the rest of her days in peace. I was happy he committed suicide like the coward that he was because if he didn’t, I would have had to commit murder.
My Nostalgic Pen ❄️❄️