You had always rejected Mother’s lovers, repelling them with hostility. But you accepted Charles. Because the night before Mother introduced him, she fell on her knees, pleading with you to let her, the one who had sacrificed all for you, have a taste of love again. You had crumbled in guilt. You thought perhaps you had been selfish.
So when the fair man with the graying goatee stretched out his hand for a handshake the next afternoon, you took it. This time, with a smile that was not so tight. You observed his dimples and complimented them, remarking that they made him look handsome. You could see that Mother was delighted, as she and her new man laughed over your compliment. Her gaze locked onto yours, and she mouthed, ‘Thank you.’ A knot loosened in you. But some knots are better left tightened or loosened at the right time. For a thousand knots replaced the one a month later.
As your emotions rose in your mind, they fell and broke like cheap china. And in the thousand knots, you couldn’t navigate. For two weeks, you had stomached the bile. The bitterness reigned over you, raged inside you, filled you up.
Mother noticed it, dripping out as it did in the colours you now wore. Blacks and grays. Like a mourner. And the drip manifested in how she had to call you a dozen times, standing in front of you, before you answered. And today, at the balcony, with your back resting on the balustrade, the glass of lemon juice you were caressing falls as you answer. It hits the floor with a loud shattering sound, spraying glass and liquid on the ground.
Mother stares at you.
You stare back.
“Ada, what is the matter with you?” she says, her tone earnest. When you do not reply immediately, she says, “I’ve got you a new laptop and the engineer was able to retrieve your project.” She moves from the back door, closer to you.
You expel a heavy sigh. “Nothing, mum,” you say woodenly, head bowing, eyes on the shards at your feet.
She tries to hold your face, searching. “This has been your answer for days. You have to tell me something today!”
“He raped me, mum. Charles raped me!” you blurt, a stream of tears dropping down your cheeks in accompaniment of the anguish you feel.
“Ah!” Mother withdraws, hands flying to hold her chest as if trying to stop her heart from dropping out from its cavity.
You look at her. She is shaking her head slowly, like one who has been betrayed with an expected lie.
“I didn’t know how to tell you…” you choke out.
“Why, Ada?” she says in a quiet tone.
You stare at her, befuddled. “Why what, mummy?”
She is still shaking her head, her eyes staring a fountaining accusation at you. “The man I dated before Charles…you said he looked at you funny. The one before him, you said he asked you out. The one before him, you said looked like a gold-digger –”
“Now this one raped you? I thought you accepted him. I thought you liked him. I should have known you were just pretending. I didn’t believe it when he told me you threatened him. He said he can’t live with us because you threatened him. Now this – he raped you?”
Tears bearing an expression not unlike yours are now streaking a path down Mother’s face. She is hurt. And you are dumbstruck. She doesn’t believe you. You cannot believe that your mother doesn’t believe you.
“So tell me, Ada – Why?!” she rages.
You look on, not saying a word, your eyes pleading for her faith, your tears seeking her love.
“Why won’t you let me have my happiness, Ada?” she storms.
The words prickle like barbed wires into your soul. The happiness you let her have had robbed you of yours.
When you won’t say a word, she turns and stalks out of the balcony. You turn to the balustrade, to the dimming ball of yellow, your hands gripping the railing. Mother doesn’t believe you. You cry out your bitterness…
Like you had cried that evening, two weeks ago. Charles had rung the door bell. Your eyes asked questions when you opened the door. Because Mother had gone on a business trip and Charles knew. He said he’d come to see a friend in the neighbourhood and decided to check on you. You let him in. It was a good gesture.
After serving him a glass of wine, you left him watching DSTV in the parlour, to work on your school project in your room. When he came into your room, offering his help, you sensed trouble. But it was too late. He knocked away the phone you scrambled for. He pounced on you, your laptop slipping off the bed to the floor in a crash. He pinned you down and let you struggle till you became weak. Your screams were soon reduced to whimpers. And Mother’s lover had his way, his painful thrusts serving him your plate of hymen, breaking it.
The image of how you were defied is like a dose of cocaine. You scream at the falling darkness. And your grip tightens on the railing, as though to uproot the structure. You feel broken. You are broken.
The walls around you suddenly feel tighter. A loud voice in your head screams for freedom. Your heart throbs rapidly. You are suddenly claustrophobic. You turn and hurry downstairs, out through the front door, feeling awash with mounting urgency as the warm breeze slaps your face.
This feeling, it has to go, the voice urges you.
You walk through the gate and move purposely down the street, the blare of horns and grind of engines ahead beckoning like a siren call.
There is nothing here to live for. Nobody to live for! The voice is now screeching like a banshee.
You welcome the clangor as you step out into the busy road, oblivious of the speeding traffic. You are willing to embrace the voices in your head. You sway your way into the highway, accepting what you know is coming; what you know you deserve.
Hysterical screeching. Horns. A thud. Chaos.
Slowly you feel yourself embracing tranquility. Silence. Peace. Your last feeling.
Written by Osilama