My mother and I held each other when he rushed inside. My mother was about to say something when we heard his loud cry in the room. We ran inside and saw him searching his bag. I was scared when he started murmuring and scattering his clothes on the bed.
“Dear, what are you looking for?”
My father didn’t answer but kept searching the room for something. We stood at the entrance to allow him move around. I looked up and saw the big frame of their photo hanging there. The thought of getting married didn’t interest me again when I noticed the off and on balance in their marriage. I cannot compromise my peace of mind for anything.
My view about marriage was only bliss but I discovered from some families in our town how they patched up and hid some painful experiences as revealed by their children whenever we gathered to play on the playground around the central mosque in our town. One of the Pastors’ children told us he never cared for them but preferred to cater for some church members.
The way my mother murmured around the house sometimes revealed her secret fears and pains.
“What are you searching for?” She asked him again.
My father stood still in order to respond but held back. The whole place was littered with his clothes, shoes, files and a pack of condom.
“What! What’s this?” She picked it up to show him what she has found.
I hid behind the door because I had just been shown how it looked like by my friends. I had always resisted their pressure to give in to Bayo, one of the prefects in our school. He liked me so much and professed his love for me. We exchanged some love letters and really charged me up. When I informed Thonia, my close friend, she encouraged me to give in and taste the true meaning of love.
I remembered one night behind the school hall where he promised to give me a valentine gift. I liked receiving gifts and that was one of my weaknesses but Bayo had another gift for me. The way he held me looked like the way those actors behaved in the pornography films we enjoyed watching in our hostel. I had temporarily lost my sense of reasoning when I suddenly pushed him aside. Like a flash, my grandmother’s warning against immorality came to remembrance.
“Any girl who engages in pre-marital sex will lose her dignity and her moral fence will beginning to crack. It destroys! Flee immorality!”
The warning, “Flee immorality!” kept tormenting me as I struggled with Bayo. He almost overpowered me but I escaped. The incident happened some months to our final exams. When I informed Thonia, she told me I had missed the opportunity of being deflowered by a handsome guy. There was a strange belief among us then that being deflowered early by a handsome guy would make us more attractive and to enjoy our marriages later in life.
“Honey, what is it doing in your bag?” she flared up dangling it before him.
My father lost his balance again and couldn’t reply on time.
“Em… You mean this? Em… It was a mistake?”
My mother demanded for an answer as she moved closer to him.
“Mama Rebecca, don’t give in to the devil. Let’s settle this matter amicably” he said calmly with a tint of fear.
“Who’s the devil? Where’s the devil? What has the devil done? Answer me!” my mother was ready to tear him apart.
I hid myself behind the door and praying to an unknown God to intervene. We have had enough troubles that day and wished it was a dream.
“Ha! You pushed me?” My father’s loud voice brought me back into reality.
“Yes, I pushed you, adulterer! You have finally crossed the boundary today!” She was cursing him with unprintable names.
“Is she not the woman who couldn’t raise her voice against my father that is spewing out fire now?” I thought within myself.
Then I heard someone knocking on the door. I perceived it might be our neighbour. Mrs Teniola should be crowned the “Mother of gossip”. She once told us that Mrs Lewis was sleeping around with men only for her to be slapped by her to produce the evidence. She was disgraced and I lost my respect for her. True to my guess, she was the one at the door.
“Oh Rebecca, is everything OK? I heard someone shouting here. I heard thieves are active in this area nowadays.” I knew her tactic was to find out the truth. How would I expose my parents to a talebearer like her?
“Mrs Teniola, may be it is from the other neighbours. You know our family is always peaceful. Thank you for your concern.” I replied her to shut her mouth.
Then my father raised his voice again, “Who are you? I will show you my true colour today, useless woman!”
When she heard that she wanted to prove her intuition was right but I quickly jumped at the situation with another version,
“Yes Dad! It is Mrs Teniola here not the trouble maker” I pretended as if I was replying my father.
Then, I turned to her, “Ma, are you a useless woman?”
“No!” She responded.
“OK. Bye Ma! I dismissed her quickly.
There was perfect silence as I locked the door. I went toward the bedroom and heard my father begging her and pleading with her. A thought came to mind whether I should enter the room or not. After a while, I summoned courage to confront them like I did before.
When I entered the room, I saw my mother unconscious on the floor.
“Dad, what happened to mum?” As I shook her to wake her up, my father fled.
“Dad! Dad!! What have you done?” I screamed.
I didn’t know what to do or who to call. I was helpless and confused and ran to my room to pick my phone. As I began to dial…
To be continued in Episode 7.