>> Wednesday, May 13, 2009
“GOD, WHYYYYY!!! NO! No no no no no!”
He was brutally awakened by screams.
Loud, shrieking screams. It was his mothers voice. Full of dread.
The room was pitch black. Where was she? Sounded like outside of the house. He quickly woke up, rubbed his eyes and fumbled his way out of the room and to the entrance of the house. His mother was lying on the ground, digging the earth that made the grave of his newly buried father with her bare hands. Her head was buried in the sand, sobbing. She pounded the ground. Cursed it. He felt paralyzed.
It had been just a week and a few days since the day aunty P had said those four words.
He didn’t really get it. HIS father, the safe haven that was always there, was never going to come back?
Didn’t make sense. No more bike rides? No more playing? No more laughter? No more sitting on his shoulders walking in the forest, no more fishing?
He had been sitting by himself, sad, but no tears, every day since that day.
His mother carried a hopeless look on her face. Her eyes looked like they belonged to another world. He couldn’t see her in there. He didn’t understand what was happening. He had tried to go out and play and pretend everything was like before, but it didn’t work. Nothing did. Nothing went back to normal.The house was full of people all the time. Talking over his head. Acting like he didn’t exist.
Ever since that day, Aunty P had been taking care of him. Bathing him and feeding him. He would have preferred his mother did it, but she was busy tending to guests and having discussions he couldn’t understand with their relatives. Mainly his uncle A and grandmother (mother of C). His mother seemed very angry with both Uncle A and his grandmother. In fact, they weren’t discussing, they were arguing. He knew they didn’t like him coming close when they were having grown up-talk, so he kept his distance, but he heard his name being mentioned several times.
"Why are they talking about me?", he asked himself and felt a lump growing in his throat. Did they think everything was his fault? Were they planning to punish him? Why couldn’t his mother take care of him like before? Was she angry with him for something?
The next day, he woke up early and went to fetch water. When he came home, he started sweeping the floor. He was hoping his mother would be happy with him once she woke up and saw that the whole house had been cleaned. She woke up and came out of her room with the same sad look he had now gotten so used to. He wanted to see her beautiful dimpled smile again. She didn’t notice the change. He went to her; “see, mother, I cleaned the whole house this morning from all the guests yesterday”. She didn’t really take time to see and it looked like something else was on her mind: “Well done, my son, get your sister and brothers for me will you? We have to talk”.
What did she mean by this? He hurried to wake them up and brought them all to the livingroom. She spoke directly to him “B, we’re going back to Cameroun today. We’re travelling in 3 hours, pack your siblings belongings. Only the most necessary. There’s no time for questions.” “But..why are we going back to Cameroun? I thought we were supposed to live in the village for a while...”
- “B, our life is in Cameroun. We need to go back. No more questions.”
He felt somewhat relieved. At least she wasn’t leaving him behind.He packed what he could and sat down by the door waiting for his mother to get ready. She came to the entrance carrrying his little sister on the hip. “I’ve arranged for Bartholomey to pick us up with his car and drive us to Port Hartcourt. He will be here any minute.”
Like she said, Bartholomey, their fathers closest friend, came with his car. They started loading the trunk with the few bags they had packed. His little sister was already sitting in the car along with his youngest brother.“Come on B, get in the car with your brother it’s time to go”, his mother said. She was so stressed and looked so worried. He wondered why.
“HE is not going ANYWHERE!” an angry woman's voice shouted from behind. It was his grandmother. She was standing in the front of the house with Uncle A.
“He is going with me he is MY child,” his mother said angrily and held onto his hand tightly.
“A! Go and pick that pikin. He is staying HERE in his fathers house. If that woman want to go let her GO. This is her firstborn son and he is to live in this house," his grandmother said firmly.
B's vision was getting blurry as he could feel his eyes watering. His heart was pounding. Please Father God let me go with mama. Please Father God I beg you, he prayed to himself.
“I am telling you NO!He is MY child, he belongs with his mother and I am his MOTHER!,” his mother shouted.
Uncle A grabbed B’s other hand. “Come here, boy,” he said. His mother was still holding his right hand and started pulling at him. “We are going to our real home in Cameroun and we are going now, you can say whatever you want to say. C was your son. B is not and he needs his family right now”, his mother said calmly with a look of disgust in her eyes.
“You, woman, you know I never liked you marrying my son. We are B’s rightful family. We suppose take all the kids sef but at least the firstborn belongs here. He will stay here I TELL YOU!” his grandmother said annoyed.
B started sobbing. Uncle A picked him up. His mother started crying. She looked back at his brothers and sisters, who were waiting in confusion, looking out the window of the car. Barthlomey came to her and whispered something in her ear. “U, maybe it is wise for us to go with the youngest ones now. This woman is not going to give up right now and you know if you keep fighting she will demand for them all. Instead we will come back for him later. I will help you”.
I don’t know these people they are wicked! I can't stay here. NO dear Father God don't let this happen.NO dear Father God don’t let this happen! B hoped God would hear him. “No Mama! Mama! I want to go with you!” he shouted.Uncle A was holding him tightly. His mother, with tears streaming down her face came up to him, whispered: “my precious son. I am coming back for you. Never lose your faith. God is with us I promise you. You have to be a big boy now that daddy isn't here. Have faith. Be strong my son” , and walked quickly back to the car and closed the door.
“NO MAMA!MAMA!MAMA!DON’T LET ME STAY HERE!” he screamed as loud as he could. If he only screamed loud enough maybe they would all understand how important it was that he go with her.
“Be quiet, you stupid child!”, his grandmother grunted. The car started driving away. “MAMA!MAMAAA!”The car rolled out of sight. The last thing he saw was his mother holding a hand up against the window in the back, looking at him. He'd never forget the sound of those tires rolling in the sand.
- TO BE CONTINUED