“A child who lives with violence is forever changed, but not forever damaged, there’s a lot we can do to make tomorrow better”.
Lying on the thatched mat, staring into the dark sky, the cool evening breeze making sonorous sounds in my ear and soothing my pores. I recall how this dark part of my life was built.
Tuesday, walking past my parent’s room, I heard whispers, from low pitched arguments it grew into heightened voices, became an alteration and eventually turned into the broad stroke of someone’s palm on the other.
Then ensued some minutes of inaudible sound, suddenly a squall tearing through a moment wishing the silence could last forever. My little brother lying abreast, turned, “They have started again”, I was agape, “What are you doing awake?” I asked, “The scream woke me up”, with thoughts flooding my mind, “He has witnessed these episodes happen endlessly, how could I let him go through the same torture, I went through?”
As the sobs turned into tears and the tears gave birth to screams, I left his side, standing at the doorpost, seeing him turn her into a punching bag as her screams were muffled with several fists. My anger wells up and it seemed to always be greater than the former, I remember the parlance of praises from a cripple he gave a few bucks and Nuhu, his friend’s son, he gave candy.
I was perplexed. This man, everyone referred to as my father but I’ve grown to despise. This man, everyone respected because they felt was upright and religious but I saw as a coward. This man, everyone thought was kind but I saw as vicious and cruel! The brute I called my father, couldn’t they see him for who he truly is?
Taken aback by a cry out, “Daddy is hurting mummy”, I hastily got in the middle, with tears streaming down my cheeks I accosted the man I no longer regarded as my father figure.
With deep inspirations and expirations he stopped, my mom crying profusely cursing the day she met him, I put my arm round her back so my palms rested on a shoulder trying to comfort her but to no avail. She had had enough, she stormed across the room to meet him, holding his shirt by the neck and raining degrading remarks, she evoked a second round, now with his palms compressing her neck, my brother intensified his cries, confusion clouding my thoughts.
It kicked in, how many more episodes could I take, how many more before the innocence of my brother is taken away, frantically I got up not knowing what I was in search of but I knew I had to salvage the situation, looking at an angle, my eyes fell on the pestle used to prepare dinner, I picked it up and aimed for my target, hitting the target, he fell to her feet, the room grew silent and soon we could hear each other’s breaths.
Eyes opened wide, staring at me, she asked, “what have you done?”, her gaze shifted from me to her husband lying on the floor, moving him with her foot, hysterically, I try to justify my actions, I didn’t mean to, moving slowly towards the body lying still, I bent down wiping the tears that just began to stream uncontrollably down my cheeks.
My mother reached out to check for a pulse, I prayed earnestly she’d feel one; the skin on his face began to turn reddish-purple. His neck took on a bluish tint. She lifted her head and our eyes met, the look in her eyes only meant one thing, moving my head from side to side one word came to mind; “Killer!” How was I going to face the authorities, society, my little brother or my conscience?