Saturday, 8 March 2014
IT STILL FEELS LIKE THAT MORNING
I was far from giving up ,not now that I had Pere the fastest athlete in my school a dozen of footsteps behind me and in just two sprints I would be pushing my chest against the blue finish ribbon putting my house at the top of the inter-house sports score chart. It was just a thin space between my chest and the blue finish ribbon, so small a space that even air had to squeeze in to pass through when I was awoken by a loud noise , and voices screaming at their peak sandwiched in tears, coupled with the piercing cry of Boma my baby sister ringing through the tiny corridor that connected the bedrooms to the living room mummy! Mummy! She cried.Jumping out of my bed in anxiety and dragging Boma by the hand to the living room. It was Mum and Dad again! throwing clenched fists at each other’s cheeks as soon as they had the space to do so and mummy yelling ‘’yeye man”!!!Irresponsible man!!!Cheat!!!!!”See the time you come back home to your wife and children”. I was young but I needed not to be told that father had just returned home from one of his regular womanizing and drinking spree as the smell of alcohol totally suppressed the fragrance from the glade air freshener anytime he drew closer or opened his mouth. I was young and helpless , at barely fourteen years of age the was no way I could separate a fight between two furious adults despite my pleas of Mummy and Daddy please stop fighting nor Boma’s crying could stop them so I ran to call Adamu the gateman. Apparently on exiting the brawl the fighting grew worse as Adamu and I ran into a half-chocked mother with father’s belt stiffly tightened around her neck, half way under the dinning table and pieces of a broken glass scattered recklessly on the floor and father pressing the lower part of his abdomen with blood dripping unto his shirt, obviously mother must have stabbed him with the glass on the stool beside the dinning table in self –defense as he tried suffocating the life out of her with his belt on her neck .I was staring at my both parents half way unconscious with tears dripping down from my cheek unto my favorite superman pygamas Adamu struggled to lie father into a more comfortable position to stop the blood from dripping but that did not help much. Mother was breathing but with eyes still closed and tiny blood trickled from the side of her head, the entire living room was polka dotted with little drops of blood here and there. It was still very early in the morning, even the sun was yet to wake up from its sleep, so was port-Harcourt and everyone within my neighborhood except for trailer drivers and crying babies making it impossible to get aid to the nearest hospital. As soon as the daylight flashed Adamu got some neighbors to rush them to the hospital were father passed from a heart failure and excess loss of blood .Mother was unconscious for three good days as a result of the injuries she sustained on her head and in no time was arraigned before a law court with charges of murder ,but somehow the plea of self defense and no intention to kill ,coupled with reliable evidence ushered mother out of the court room discharged and acquitted .This was not the fist time I watched them fight ,that morning only turned out to be the climax of it all.
It has been years ,since this occurrence but the thought of my children asking me about their grandfather or over hearing people say their grandmother killed their grandfather in self defense drives my memories back through the roads of my arduous past, then I become bitter and once again it still feels like that morning.
By Owajioniro Benson
6th March, 2014.