The wrath of a mother

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By Francis Agamah

 

“Richard! ……..Richard!!……. Rich….ard!!!!” I heard my mother call me with so much venom in her voice. I remained in my hiding place. “Where is this idiot, bastard, scallywag?” Still I remanded in hiding. Then I heard footsteps. They were my mother’s. I began to shiver. I knew what to expect if she caught me. Instant and merciless punishment. I had broken one of her ceramic cups while washing the mountain of plates I had been washing for over an hour.

The footsteps got closer. I shivered. My heart began to beat in a sporadic pattern. My pulse increased and beads of tears dropped down on my chest. My feet wobbled and shook terribly. I couldn’t control the motor movements of my limbs. In that moment, I wish I could be teleported to another planet to avoid the massive punishment that was about to befall on me.

It was not magic but mere intuition. My mother’s cane landed on my back before I had the chance to run away from her. She whipped me again and again, “gba, kpo, gba, kpoooo. You idiot!!! You broke my ceramic cup,” she shouted at me. “I’m sorry , mama, it was an accident. It slipped from my…..”

“Shut up, you nitwit. He-devil. Useless child, how can you break my precious cup if you are not the devil himself?” The cane landed on me again and again. I cried out loudly, screaming at the top of my voice but my mother continued to beat me without a trace of mercy. She held me in her iron fist and caned me to the point I realised I was about to collapse.

It was then that my father burst onto the scene and blocked the next stroke of the cane from landing on me. She looked at my father with wild eyes and said, “You are the one spoiling this bastard.” “No, I’m not. He’s just a child of 16 years. Show him some love. Its true he made a mistake by breaking your cup but just because he broke a cup doesn’t mean you should sentence him to everlasting whipping.”

“He made a mistake indeed, why wouldn’t he make a mistake. Like father, like son,” my mother retorted and stormed out angrily. “I’m sorry, son,” my father consoled me, “be very careful next time so that you won’t invite unnecessary punishment upon yourself. Who knows? Next time , she might kill you!!”

My father spoke like that because he was not aware of the countless abuses I had to endure in the house in his absence. In this situation, I was just lucky he was around to save me from the claws of the “monster” I called my mother. My father was a lecturer at the University of Ghana, Legon Faculty of International Relations and my mother was a nurse at 37 military hospital.

As a teenager growing up, I encountered so many abuses from the woman I called my mother. It was rather ironical. In my own little mind, I thought men were more wicked than women but my mother seemed to constantly prove my theory wrong. If you cough accidentally in her presence, she would slap you. You made a little noise, she would scream at you. You delayed in the washroom for five seconds, she would scold you and if you broke something as had just happened , she would give you 12 strokes of the cane.

For the next one month, the home was peaceful. I was beginning to relax. One evening, Ghana Electricity Company caused power outage. I was in the house but since I was not prepared for this “dumsor,” I didn’t have my rechargeable lamp around. As I groped in the dark in search of the rechargeable lamp, my feet hit something. I fell headlong and smashed into a mirror. My head was bruised and badly hurt. Luckily the lights came on just five minutes after the incident. I was shocked when I realised I had broken my mother’s mirror, a mirror she cherished so much. At that moment, I knew I had signed my death warrant. My mother would surely kill me for breaking her mirror.

That night, my mother returned from her workplace. She was in a happy mood. I shivered on seeing her. I knew I was standing on a time bomb, waiting to explode. Then I heard my mother as she entered her room. It took just three minutes for her to notice her broken mirror. Then I heard a wild scream, “Richard!!!!!” I had prepared for this encounter already. I removed my sandals and took to my heel just in time to see my mother coming from her room with a knife. She threw the knife at me when she realised I was escaping. It missed me by half an inch. I dashed out from the room and I heard her saying, ” if I don’t kill you tonight, then it’s not me Akosua. That your foolish father, Ben, will bury you soon.”

Uncharacteristically, my father came home late that night. The sound of his car was unmistakably loud. I came out from my hideout and met him. He was surprised. “Richard , what are you doing outside?” I was in tears and found it difficult to talk. It took a lot of energy from within me before I managed to say, ” Dad, you need to tell me the truth. Why does mum hate me so much? She almost stabbed me with a knife because I broke her mirror when the Electricity Company of Ghana caused power outage.”

My father shouted, ” What! She almost stabbed you because of a mere mirror?” “Yes, dad, she almost did,” I answered. “Hmm.” My Father was lost for words but it was apparent something else was eating him up.

Then my eyes chanced on a picture in my father’s hand. I got curious and asked him, “Dad, whose picture is that?” My father recalled: “When my son, Richard, asked me whose picture I was holding, it sent me down the memory lane. I could recall it vividly though it happened about twenty years ago. Twenty years ago, I met Akosua when I visited a cousin of mine at the Divine Touch Hospital. She was a trainee nurse and I took a liking to her. By then I was doing my doctorate programme at Cape Coast. When I finished with my education, I got married to Akosua Afriyie. The wedding was flamboyant, full of pomp and pageantry. Thousands attended the wedding ceremony. Cars were parked at the entrance of the Royal Chapel International as if they were up for auction sale. The wedding night was awesome.

“We had bouts and bouts of sex. I remembered myself geared up that night and hit her at the right spots. Sad to say, all my carnality yielded no results. Our happy marriage began to crumble when it was obvious that my wife couldn’t conceive. We tried all forms of medications both herbal and the hospital medications but all our efforts proved futile. Akosua became very hostile to me. She didn’t care if I ate, slept or died. I tried to reason with her but she became more and more aggressive. At a point in time , I became afraid of my own wife.

I had a feeling she wanted to kill me because I questioned her on her involvement with a certain doctor called Vincent. She denied it vehemently and even threatened to kill me if I ever questioned her fidelity again. But secrets don’t stay secret for too long. She got pregnant for Doctor Vincent. She told me since I was not man enough to plant a seed in her womb, and my fellow man have been able to achieve that feat, she had no other option than to move on with her life. She packed all her belongings and left me alone with our housemaid, Sika, a modest but beautiful girl from the Volta Region.

“Sika proved to be a home maker. She did virtually everything in the house. In fact, she worked as if her muscles were made of iron. The more we stayed alone in the house, the closer we got. The law of attraction began to work. After all, what do you expect to happen when a woman leaves her matrimonial home for a maidservant who was twice as beautiful as she is?”

One day I returned from my bathroom. I was nude while applying some pomade on my body when my door swung open and guess who materialised through the door, it was Sika. I knew the stage was set for the inevitable event that was supposed to have happened long ago. “Sir, I know I shouldn’t have barged in on you like this but over the years, I have come to realise that women like Madam Akosua don’t deserve men like you.”

She stood by the entrance of the door gazing at my naked body. “Can I come in?” Sika asked. It was just a mere formality. Before I could decide whether to allow her in or not, she came in, closed the door and moved closer to me . She held my hands and pulled my body close to hers. Then she removed her clothes and directed my hands towards her nipples. She started giggling when she looked at my face. “I know you like me too but you are just trying to be principled. Sika, I love you but I’m married to …….”

“Please stop it,” she cut me off. In case you have forgotten, she’s pregnant for another man. Your marriage is gone. I’m here to …. ……”she trailed off and then continued, “make you happy. Stop pretending and let’s enjoy it.”

“I can’t,” I cut in. Sika looked at me with surprise. She stood up and left the room. She was sad. I felt sorry for her.

The next day, Sika left me. She went back to her village Lokorpe in the Volta Region. She left before I woke up. It was from the letter she wrote down before leaving that I got to know she left for her hometown. Luckily she left her phone number and address down. I didn’t bother to call her. I hired another housemaid. Unfortunately, she was not as hard-working as Sika. Within two months , I fired her.

I was beginning to miss Sika. I realised I loved her more than I thought. Quickly, I took her phone number from the letter she wrote down and called her. ‘Hello Sika’. ‘Hello, please who’s this?’ ‘Sika, can’t you recognise my voice?’ ‘No, I can’t. I’m sorry , this is a wrong line.’ ‘No, no, no, no. Sika, don’t do this to me. It’s Dr. Ben Kuma. You used to be my housemaid in Accra, Airport Residential area.’ ‘OK. I got it. So why are you calling me now?’ ‘I want you to come back’.  ‘I’m sorry, sir. I can’t’.

Before I could utter another word, her line went dead. Two weeks after the call, Sika returned to the house. I was so elated. Staying in the house alone was like being in prison. Sometimes, it takes the absence of certain people in our lives to appreciate their presence. It takes loneliness to appreciate companionship. I welcomed her with open arms. It was a default action. She rushed into my arms like a daughter who had missed her father for one hundred years.

We hugged. I kissed her. She looked surprised but responded by giving me a more passionate kiss. Without saying another word, I carried her to the bedroom. She reached for my “joystick” and caressed me softly. I felt aroused. The blood within my body surged furiously like a wild beast released from prison. My adrenaline pulsated sporadically. We connected eventually sending a sporadic wave of pleasure running concurrently through our bodies like electrical currents not willing to be disconnected any time soon. After that night, it became a habit. The following month, the inevitable happened, she got pregnant. I was quite happy I was going to be a father but underneath my joy, I had a feeling that something bad was going to happen.

It was as if I had the gift of clairvoyance. The following week, my wife returned home. I was expecting to see her baby but there was none. She later explained to me that her child died just two hours after delivering him. Doctor Vincent was very angry with her and even called her a witch. He threw her out of his house telling her to go back to her impotent husband. I felt pity for her and accepted her back to her matrimonial home. Technically, she was still my wife since I had not divorced her when she got pregnant for the doctor. I told her Sika, our housemaid was pregnant for me too. She looked shocked but didn’t say a word. I knew she was planning something evil. Sika knew her stay in the house was dangerous. Once again, she ran away from the house.

About a year later, we woke up early in the morning to meet the cry of a baby. I opened my door only to see a three-month old baby in a basket in front of my door, on the doorstep. I took it in and handed it over to my wife. There was a letter attached to the baby. It was from Sika. “Dear Ben, words cannot express how I feel right now. I just want you to know that my love for you is priceless. I cannot erase the sweet moments we shared together. It was deeply etched into the secret recesses of my memory. It broke my heart to leave you when your wife arrived but I can’t stay in your house with your wife. Only remember, I’m with you in the spirit and I’m sure you have seen the fruit of our love. I put him at your doorstep. Your love, Sika.” I cried when I read her letter. I hid the letter from my wife. To her, the baby was a gift from God since she had not been able to conceive any child again after the first one. She took very good care of the child until she chanced on the very letter I had hidden from her over the years. She grew very bitter with me and the child. It was at that point that she hated my Richard.”

“Dad, dad, talk to me, whose picture is that you are holding?” My son brought my memory back from the memory lane. Dear reader, don’t tell my son the details of all that I told you. I will find my way to tell him the secret I have been keeping from him for 16 years. “My son, ….”

I woke my father from his reverie. He said, my son, the woman in this picture is your mother. Her name is Sika Ametamemanya. I’m sorry I kept this from you all this while. I was angry with my father for keeping that secret from me and also cheating on my “mother” Akosua. “But dad, why did you cheat on her. Now she is angry with me because she saw me as a bastard and the evidence of your infidelity. No wonder she hated me so much.

My father said, “son, don’t be in a hurry to conclude. It might interest you to know that she cheated on me first. “How , father?” I asked. “It’s a long story”, he answered, “but listen, I will tell you, and he began to recount his story. He said it all started some twenty years ago. He met Akosua when he visited a cousin of his at the Divine Touch Hospital. She said Akosua was a trainee nurse then and he took a liking to her…….”

I listened with rapt attention until he finished telling me the whole story. After recounting the story to me, I felt sorry for him. I also admired him for having such a forgiving heart to still accommodate a woman who got pregnant for another man, left him and stayed with the adulterer for close to a year only to come back empty handed.

Honestly , I don’t know what I could have done in such a critical situation. My heart melted for my father. Though Akosua , the woman I had come to know as my mother maltreated me, I still loved her. She was the only mother I knew. We received the shock of our lives when one day, we received the news that Akosua was involved in a fatal car accident when she was returning from work. Her body was deposited at Korle-Bu morgue.

One of the things found in her bag was a bottle of poison. What she had wanted to use it for was unknown but I can guess. She possibly wanted to poison my father and me and take over his properties but nature had its own way of meting out punishment to evil ones. Her body was deposited at the hospital mortuary. A family meeting was summoned and three weeks later, she was buried after a short funeral ceremony.

Something else happened at the ceremony. I saw a woman starring at me curiously. I stared back at her. Then my mind went back to the picture I saw my father holding when I was explaining why I was outside the house when he returned from work. Involuntarily, I shouted , “mother! !!” I ran towards her and she also ran towards me saying, “my son, I miss you so much.” The tears in our eyes began to flow ceaselessly as we remained in a hugging position. My father was at my back. Guess what , he was smiling, at his wife’s funeral.  He later helped Sika to further her education. She became a science teacher in Accra Academy. After graduating from the university, he got married to her. They now have their second child Emma. I was happy to have met my real mother. I had pursued a course in Remote Sensing. I now work at the Geographical Information System and Remote Sensing Department in Los Angeles, USA. But I come home every six months to check on my parents.

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