I can never forget how I made my life fall apart. How I watched it tear, with my eyes bulging with anger and my legs walking to a path I never knew, without hesitation. I was amazed at the journey beyond my family walls until I finally saw how dark the world was, felt the hotness of the breeze and heard the wind whisper angrily into my ears, forgetting my previous kindness.
May 28, 2015, was a memorable day for the family. Mama had just prepared a delicacy with so much enthusiasm. Oh! What a caring woman mama is. Eagerly waiting to see the face of her man, who had gone out before the cockerels crowed. She couldn’t wait to see him lick his fingers and watch the egusi disappear into his palms and then give her a peck with sincere appreciation accompanied by a smile that shamed the brightest stars.
It was a cold night. Mama often told us stories of events that took place when she was younger. This night, she chose to tell us about the days of Oyenusi and Anini, two of the most fearful beings who hailed from our great country.
“I watched them take the lives of innocent children and spill the guts of men with loaded wagons” Mama narrated, as though she had been at the scene of the unfortunate events.
“Oh! Anike! A very good childhood friend of mine was one of their victims. We mourned and hoped for the return of better days” She continued.
While we listened to Mama’s story, we ate our meal like someone was going to snatch the plates away from us. Mama watched us eat as she spoke, smiling at herself as the bowl of pounded yam and egusi disappeared into hungry bellies, leaving no trace behind.
Suddenly, we heard an unfriendly sound at the door.
It was 11:43pm and my younger ones were already asleep. I was still awake, dancing on my feet, hoping that my little sister would fall asleep on my back. Mama was also half-awake; waiting patiently for her husband to return before she would say goodbye to the day. Her head falling incessantly from the headrest of the sofa where she sat.
We heard a voice from the door. Chills went down my spine as the voice shouted, “You are dead meat tonight!”
I couldn’t hear my siblings snore anymore.
“Who could that be?” My six-year-old brother asked, trembling with fright.
The voice roared in response, “It’s me Adewale!”
Mama raced to open the door.
Before she could open her mouth to render greetings, the ground sounded gbam! as her head kissed the floor.
Mama was on the ground. Helpless.
“Oh no! Not this bipolar thing again!” She cried
I watched my father hit her helpless body as she tried to wriggle free from his hold. The look on his face scared my younger ones to death.
On that day, cries couldn’t reveal our ages. I wept as much as my younger ones did and puberty refused to take place in my heart.
At some moment, as if to take a rest from pounding my mother’s flesh, he looked up at me, panting heavily. I felt humiliated and my thoughts escaped my lips.
“You are a monster!”, I uttered with a shaky voice. His face wore an evil grin, and my face sounded like an applaud, as his right palm met my left cheek.
I managed to find my way outside and screamed for help, but I could only hear the sounds of the creeping insects. I yelled until people began to troop out of their houses in the dead of the night.
Mama was finally rescued and taken to the hospital by a driver who lived close by. A lawyer was among the crowd, agitating for human right violation and how my father should be punished, probably jailed for committing such a disastrous act. I tried to pacify him because I couldn’t bear the shame of being the daughter of a convict. The whole world would know my father is not totally sane.
One Mrs Johnson, who was among the crowd, rescued my three younger siblings as they wept bitterly and shivered like winter had come to visit them in a tropical zone. As they left for her house, the crowd stayed back, cursing my father with diverse dialects.
I went away from home that night with my heart filled with hatred, and darkness, and confidence even though I had no idea of where I was headed. Whether the crowd tried to halt my steps that night or not, I cannot remember, because I never noticed. The only voices I listened to were those in my head.
I promised myself that night to avenge my humiliation and make my father feel how I felt and even beyond what I could ever imagine I was capable of doing. Yes! I wanted to have his blood in my hands before he had mine, and probably my mother, whom I never knew whether he ever loved.
I slept in cold nights, my head cried to the pinch of the burning sun and my legs complained of heading to an unknown destination. I just wanted to meet those who were darker than the man who hurt me, and happily stretch my hand to receive an unfriendly tool, with which I would spill out his guts while he shouted for help. Seeing my mum was no longer a priority to me. My siblings were at the back burner. I had become devoted to the blurry life I thought was perfect.
Now, I am fascinated by inhumane lifestyles, after shedding the blood of my own father. A man who never had the blood of another on his hands. The man whom I thought I was better than. After wasting several lives for my training, I’ve been married to this path that is far away from my values.
I hope my mother’s prayers would save me from this furnace. I wish I could explain to my mum how I got lost but she’s somewhere terrified of the person I have become.
I now walk in the path she had always told me not to cross, and I wonder how I am of any difference from Oyenusi and Anini whose stories mama had told us about. For I terrorise the society, my family and even myself.
Olaseni Kehinde Precious was born in Akure, Ondo State, Nigeria on May 20, 2001. She writes from Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife where she studies English language. Kenny is a diligent young lady who has a great enthusiasm for essays, poetry and other creative works.