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Dozie Ethelbert 1

He flung me so hard that I used my head to break a side stool. That was the much I remembered, there was a total black out.

I was cared for and tendered to at my maternal home. My head was stitched and bandaged. This was how I got migraine that often arrested me for the next 6 years. I couldn’t shout or stay in a noisy environment for long without going for medications.
When I woke up in the hospital, everything was in shades and blur, voices echoed to me like they were miles away. I tried to get up to reality until I felt a sharp pain on my head. Grandma held me back and said, “My child rest”.
Mummy had bruises over her face, she couldn’t just talk to me rather she was crying. Aunty Nneka was around and held her, she was furious with the whole situation.
“How can a man turn into a beast to his own family, eh!? I don’t know why God does things in some way I cannot just understand. He knows that if I am to be the one in this your position, Uwaezuoke would rather be in the condition he left this small boy. What more on earth does he have rather than you and his only son? A son at that, many men a crying to have just one, and here he is not being appreciative. Men are insatiable. Give them one thing, another becomes a problem. Tufiakwa!
Grandma asked both my mum and aunty Nneka not to raise their voices where I was as it wasn’t good for me. They later went outside which was as a result of compulsion from aunty Nneka. She was angry that she felt like drawing the day back, to reverse the situation.
I stayed for 1 week at the hospital and in those days, I never saw nor heard from the man I called, my father. My maternal home footed my hospital bills and I was treated alongside my mum. That was when everything about my dad began to displease me and the days of his rebukes now seemed as wickedness to me.
Mum went back home after having conversation with grandma, on how to avoid provoking his wrath and not getting dad angry. Her siblings weren’t happy with what was happening, but they encouraged her that it would never last forever.
“If you leave him now, it would seem like you turned your back on him because times and things changed. Marriage is for better or worse”, they often concluded.
I knew that if my paternal grandparents were still alive, it wouldn’t have gotten to this. Both my paternal grandfather and mother died in 2 years consecutively about 4 years ago. It was rumored that it was as a result of their closeness. That also took them even unto death.
Dad’s only sibling and sister was yet to gain stance with her family in the U.S, they left a year before we came back to the village. Even the little aide she offered my family. She did through my mum. She was angry with what she heard, but couldn’t do anything about it as she was far. Dad was his elder and would rather not listen to her.
Daddy would go out from the house and stay days. This became his most recent way of living. His teeth now turned brown and there was no time you wouldn’t perceive alcohol from him. He would come back wailing and screaming or kicking the door. Mum would open and he would hit her hard on the back or wherever his hands got to.
Mum was looking slightly refreshed on the outside, but that look was the worse deception anyone could think or imagine. She is lean and weak on the inside; her nights were filled with tears and prayers. She prayed to a point that she often asked if prayers really worked. If she ever said that before her mother, grandma would always shun her and ask her what had kept her to the day she is seeing.
Dad was heavily drunk the day I came in, he didn’t see me. It was in the morning that he rose and tried hugging me, smiling and saying he was sorry, it was because of this bad luck in a woman she married that made him transfer aggression to his blood, he said. I couldn’t hug him as I ran behind my mum carrying my head with my hands, as it was still aching. I stayed for 2 weeks in my maternal home as result of medications and proper care , I missed my mum strongly that I disturbed I wanted to see her. Initially, they all kicked against it, but I disturbed often and they played a lot of pranks to make me wait for mummy that she was coming. But as days went by, it wasn’t true. My head ached until grandma sent mum’s youngest sister, aunty Chinelo, to take me home.
Mum never mentioned to anybody that dad had beaten her up because he accused her for taking her son to his enemies. It was when she bent down to carry what grandma sent to her through aunty Chinelo. She saw her back and screamed.
“Sister, what happened to your back!?”
Mum covered it up quickly and replied, “O! That one I had a sharp fall with my back”.
The liar was a lame one; it was a teeth mark that tore deep into her skin.
Aunty Chinelo left the house in tears, she had the intention of sleeping over but she left angrily, tired and disturbed. Even mum’s persuasions couldn’t make her sleep for a night.
“Sister I have asked you to quit this marriage before this marriage quits you”. She told mum.
She has been the only one against what every of her sibling had believed; that my dad will be better again.
Mum smiled and told her that everything would be fine. She didn’t want to see my dad to prevent trouble. She left in a low spirit.

I am now 17 years old and nothing much have changed in my house. If my mum was not around to talk me down when I am angry or had things I needed to do that was breath taking or anybody from my maternal home. None on earth could sway my mind from it. I became totally aware and not willing to take any insult against my mum or family. A form of life I would term cruel.
There was a day a woman insulted my mother in the market. She was pricing her food stuffs. The woman told her, “No wonder you can’t manage your husband, you don’t know how things change in this country abi? Please do not transfer poverty to my stuff”. Mum could not buy anything further, she came in confused.
She was just accounting her ordeal when I ran off; I didn’t want to hear any of those ‘it will be well’ messages. I blocked the woman on her way home at night and gave her countless lashes. I did that and left the village for some days. Heard the husband came ranting with some members of the vigilante at my home.
It seemed like all mum’s effort to put up with something was proving abortive, as she never lasted in any business. One of the reasons could be because her money missed often at home, irrespective of how or where she hides it. There was no other termite in the pocket aside my dad. If those monies got missing, that’s when he stayed more days not coming home. She fried akara and plantain for 2 years and when it was dying out she switched to buying and selling of vegetables, hawked sachet water which we did together before or after I go to school.
All the while we were subjected to pass this tsunami of life, I have never seen my mum idle, she got engaged one way or another. Left for her and myself, we would leave the village and have a good life for ourselves.
But I often wondered the stupid thing she had for my dad which she called ‘love’. I had often told her to give up on the marriage early enough even when I was 12, but she would always say, “My son it’s not like that, that is not the way I met your father. I know he would be better someday. I doubt if you would understand what I mean, maybe when you get to the age of getting married you will”.
Yes of course I didn’t understand, because I had no interesting tale to tell about my father not to mention someone being so engrossed to him.


Anticipate the last of the series by next week.

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