Are real and uncertain
Lives start and end here
Are real and uncertain
Lives start and end here
He is the worst one
The enemy from within
That hones his evil craft
Under our very noses
He’s of the worst kind
Our friendly foe
Who steals off our innocence
Under cover of night
Our trusting kin
Slumber and smile
While you scar our bodies
Our minds too
Rendering us numb
How can we forget?
You are the one
That you pretend
To shield us from –
You taught us that
The world was evil
Who could have known
The world was you!
PS: I’ve heard some terrible stories in recent times that I cannot even retell on this page. There’s a lot going on now, when it comes to child sexual abuse. What we hear sometimes. …. is really scary. Why, even parents! Our children can’t run out of this world now, can they?👫
Toun Salami hissed, as she paced around the room in anger. Samuel, the young man who handed her the tape and who she had earlier contracted to wiretap the house, was trying in vain to calm her down.
“Take it easy, madam. Things like this happen. You just have to take it easy, okay?”
“Mtscheww! How could he? How could they?”
She hadn’t bargained for this. The other day when she had invited Samuel to install a listening device in the house after everyone had gone out, all she wanted was to spy on Idara and hopefully chance on her conversations with whoever was responsible for her pregnancy, seeing that she had refused to open up on his identity. But nothing prepared her for this betrayal.
For the first time in her life, she felt alone, lost and completely clueless about her life – her husband, who had stooped so low to cheat on her, their only son – Dotun – whose brazenness knew no bounds. He had no qualms blackmailing his father at the expense of his mother. Then there was the housemaid she had literally picked up from the gutters, who thought of no other way to return her kindness than to direct her lustful tendencies towards her mistress’ husband! Whatever happened to family? Whatever happened to love, devotion, gratitude and one good turn deserving another? She fell on her knees; this was too much to bear. Tears flowed as her whole body shook.
“Haba Madam, take it easy now, ehn. You have to approach this matter with a calm mind. Here, take a sit.” Samuel pulled a chair close for her and helped her up. She gratefully accepted. Just then, the doorbell rang. It was Idara returning from the errand that had been concocted to keep her out of the house long enough to attend to this necessary business.
“I think I’ll take my leave now, madam.”
“Okay. Thank you. I’ll let you know if I need you again.”
“Yes madam. And don’t worry, I’ll help myself out.”
“Yes, thank you,” Toun accepted graciously, for she was sure that if she went to get the door herself, nothing would keep her from strangling Idara. “And please let the maid in,” she added.
When she left the study a few minutes later, she was resolute. She would play this game the way they all wanted it. She would take it all with a smile, continue to be the good wife, the doting mother and benevolent lady of the house. The game had only just begun. “Let’s see for how long the bunch of you idiots can hold out,” she muttered.
I adore you
You despise me
I reach out to you
You draw away from me
I’m endeared to you
You find me repulsive
I cry for the pain you cause me
You laugh at my tears
I want to build you up
You want to self-destruct
You detest me – the one who loves you
And court those who plot your fall
Now you find yourself in the dungeons
Tell me how long before it’s the end
For what measure of time you stay ousted
Before the end begins
And Gog and his cohorts lick the dust
I pray you, do not stay away too long
For you my soul yearns
This great gully between us
I can reach out across no more
And in the event that this made no sense
And self-destruction is the way for you
Just know I was the one who loved you
The one who still loves you despite
He paced nervously back and forth in his private study.
”I need you to claim responsibility for Idara’s pregnancy,” he announced to his son.
“You heard me.”
“Name your price.”
“Dad, I can’t believe……”
“Name your price!”
Pause. 15 seconds.
“I….I….I’ll need to sleep over this dad.”
“You will not sleep over anything! I said, name your price!”
“I’m sorry dad but this will have to wait till tomorrow.”
Dotun could read his father’s desperation. Suddenly he felt like Duncan Mighty. He shook his head in disbelief at how quickly the table could turn when you “stumble” on “important” information. He blessed the day, no, the night – that opportune night – when he had caught Idara and his dad in “the act.”
“How dare you tell me to wait?” his father barked, breaking into his thoughts. “In this house, I call the shots…..”
“Well not anymore dad!”
Now helpless, he said, “Alright son, please just say what you want and I’ll do it for you. Anything. Just name it.”
Dotun reeled out: “A university education in the US. Freedom to live my life without your busybody interference. And a well-funded bank account, so that nothing goes wrong.”
His father’s eyes narrowed a bit. “What could possibly go wrong? And how much are we looking at here?”
“I don’t know dad. You call the shots, remember?” The scorn on Dotun’s face was obvious.
His father thought long and hard, before acqueising. “Done. You start in September.”
Dotun smiled. He knew that if his mother ever learnt the truth about the housemaid’s pregnancy, his father was toast.
There was something else about that smile. It was the realisation that he had just unlocked the door to an endless goldmine.
I love you
Even though you seem not to deserve it
I forgive you
Even when you seem not to be contrite
I take you by the hand
Even when you perpetually seek independence
I nurture you
Though you seem to be all grown up
I believe in you
Though you give me much to doubt
I brave the odds
Even though not sure how they’ll even out
I’m certain there’s color in tomorrow
Though today’s all grayscale and sepia
After all the work and toiling
A crown awaits, I suppose
It was well past bedtime when the knock came on her door. She was seated in front of her desktop trying to do some work but was dosing off in the process, so she wasn’t sure if she’d heard a knock or it was something else that had jolted her back to consciousness. She tried to get back to work and then the knock came again. She was sure this time. She called out, “Tare, is that you?” wondering what on earth her daughter was doing up at this time.
“Yes mum,” came the hesitant reply.
“Come in,” she said, urging her daughter in.
Sotie was a hardworking migrant mother of two, a single mum who loved her 2 teenage daughters to bits but had a disagreeable way of showing it. She smothered them with so much “love” that they could hardly breathe. One couldn’t now dismiss the possibility of paranoia because she called her daughters practically every hour, wanting to know if they were fine. She also had a temper that would dwarf that of water at its boiling point. Her mother once told her “Sotie, you’ll send my granddaughters away from home, with your style of parenting.” Funny how it proved true, in time. Last summer, her older daughter Ladoh stormed out of the house after an argument they both had and has been living with her boyfriend ever since. But Sotie still loved and missed her daughter very much.
As Tare walked into her mother’s room, she couldn’t help but wonder if this was the right thing to do, judging by her mother’s reaction in Ladoh’s case. She decided that she was going to tread cautiously. “Mum,” she began, after she was beckoned close, “I uh…..” she started to stammer. Sotie sensed the hesitation and her eyes narrowed. She was always too quick to catch this kind of vibe, even ones that were yet to hit the air. Tare took a deep breath (she was going to spill it out anyhow, heaven could fall for all she cared!) and said, “Mum, there’s a boy at school, who really likes me. He wants us to be more than just friends.” This she blurted out and followed immediately with a heavy sigh of relief.
Now Sotie would, on an ordinary day, have gone off the handle immediately but a glance at the clock (it was past midnight) told her that hysteria couldn’t be more ill-timed. Too, she was fast realizing that that sort of reaction wasn’t working with her daughters. True, they were of Nigerian origin but having moved to the United States in their tender years, this was the only culture they knew. Now sitting before her daughter, the alarmist in her kept saying, “you stupid ungrateful girl. I sent you to school to study and you come here telling me that a boy is interested in you! What! Are you out of your senses?” In any case, on this night, while the struggle between Alarmist and Level-headed went on in her mind, Level-headed held sway. She smiled.
“Wow! Honey, that’s beautiful!
(“What!” exclaimed Alarmist).
Level-headed, pretending not to notice, continued, “You know, dating affords you the opportunity to get to know someone better, especially if you’re hoping he’ll be your Mr. Right. Now, tell me honey, what do you think about him?”
(Alarmist interjected again, “like seriously?! I think I’m having a heart attack!)
“Well, he seems to be a nice guy and I kinda like him,” she said, completely oblivious of the conflict going on in her mother’s head.
“Hmm, that’s not a bad thing, if you manage it well, was Level-headed’s gentle answer.
Tare poured out her heart and Sotie, for the first time, really listened to her daughter. She didn’t know what came over her that night but she was sure that they had struck a chord in each other’s heart. Tare, on her own part, knew that this was not the mother she had known all her life. This one was different and she preferred this one.
After that, they got closer and closer. Sotie would tease her occasionally while they did the dishes together, asking, “so how is Mr. Right today?” and she would say with her happy smile,” Last time I checked, he was still nuts over me.”
One Saturday afternoon, she chanced upon Tare’s phone. Actually, Tare had fallen asleep on the sofa while chatting and the phone had dropped off onto the fine rug lining the floor of their sitting room. She bent to pick up the phone and something caught her eye: it was the last line of a chat that read, “My mum’s my best friend. I can tell her anything. She doesn’t judge me” Her heart melted. She was so beset by emotions she didn’t notice her eyes fill up, only realizing it when she blinked. She said a silent prayer then and thanked God. Something was finally working.
Stealthily easing out of the living room lest she wake the young lady, she prayed again, this time for her older girl, Ladoh. She missed her so much but Ladoh wouldn’t even pick her calls.
She still spoke to her kid sister Tare though – they had a special bond between them as many siblings do, that withstood all pressure from without. Unknown to Sotie, Tare and Ladoh were talking more often these days….
It was Thanksgiving Day and the twosome of mother and daughter sat at the table, hands held together, eyes closed in prayer, grateful for the love they now shared and wishing for the day when this duo would once again be a trio, as used to be….
Then the bell rang. It was a silent question as they looked up at each other, wondering if the other was expecting a visitor. Tare said, “I’ll get it.”
Ladoh was standing at the door, baggage and all, her face covered in a grin. “Hello baby sister.” Tare flew at her, screaming with all of the excitement that she felt. Sotie edged questioningly towards the front door wondering what the commotion was about.
When their eyes met, it was to say how much they had both missed each other and how they both were sorry for the events that tore them apart. Sotie hugged her daughters tightly. This was no ordinary Thanksgiving. This time, their entreaties to God took on new meaning. This was a war where the three of them had all come off victors.