(c) Agamah Francis
“Richard! Richard!! Richard!!!!,” I heard my mother calling me with so much venom in her voice
I remained in my hiding place.
“Where is this idiot, b****** ?”
Still, I remained in hiding.
Then I heard footsteps. They were my mother’s. I began to shiver. I knew what to expect when she catches me. Instant and merciless punishment. I had broken one of her ceramic cups while washing the mountain of plates she had given to me to wash since 7 O’Clock in the morning.
Now, it’s 12 noon.
The footsteps got closer.
My heart began to beat in a sporadic pattern. My pulse increased and beads of tears broke down on my skin. My feet wobbled and shook terribly. I couldn’t control the involuntary movements of my limbs.
In that moment, I wished I could be teleported to another planet to avoid the recompension that was about to befall me. It was not mere conjecturing but a fact.
My mother’s cane landed on my back before I had the chance to ran away from her. She whipped me again and again ,” gbooo, gbaa, gba,kpoooo.”
“You idiot!!! , you broke my ceramic cup,” she shouted at me, b******.!
“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 any trace of mercy, the impact of the cane sent strong painful waves burning deep into my skin, leaving in its wake series of marks on my body.
She grasped me in her iron fist and caned me until I was on the verge of collapse.
Luckily my Father burst onto the scene and blocked the next Stroke from landing unto my body. She looked at my father with disdain, her eyes growing wild eyes as she said, “You are the one spoiling this b******.”
“No, I’m not. He’s just a child of 16 years. Show him some love. It’s 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 was 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 serve me from the claws of the “monster” I called my mother.
My father was a lecturer at the University of Ghana, Legon, Department of International relationship and my mother was a nurse at 37 Military Hospital.
As a teenager growing, I had encountered so many abuses from that woman I called my mother. It was rather ironic that In my own little mind, I thought men were more wicked than women. My mother seemed to constantly prove my theory wrong.
If you cough accidentally in her presence, she would slap you, if you make a little noise, she would scream at you. If you delay in the washroom for five seconds, she would scold you and if you break something as has just happened, she will give you 15 strokes of the cane.
■One month later■
For the next month, the home was peaceful. I was beginning to relax. One Evening, Ghana Electricity Company caused a power outage. I was in the house but since I was not prepared for this “Dumsor” I didn’t have my rechargeable Lamp around. I groped in the dark in search of the rechargeable lamp when my feet hit something. I fell headlong and smashed into a mirror.
My head was bruised and was badly hurt. Luckily the lights came on just five minutes after the incident.
I was shocked when I realized I had broken the mirror my mother cherished so much.
At that moment, I knew I had signed my death warrant. My mother would surely kill me for breaking her mirror.
My mother returned from her workplace. She was in a happy mood. I shivered. I knew I was standing on a time bomb, waiting to explode.
Then I heard my mother 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. I removed my pair of slippers and took to my heels just in time to see my mother coming from her room with a knife. She threw the knife at me when she realized I was escaping. It missed me by half an inch.
I dashed out from the room but 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 of my hideout and met him. He was surprised. “Richard, what are you doing outside?”
I was almost teary 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 did mum hate me so much?”
She almost stabbed me with a knife because I broke her mirror when the Electricity Company of Ghana cause a 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 his hands. I got curious and asked him, “Dad, whose picture is that?”
[Narration from Richard’s Father’s Point of view]
When my Son, Richard, asked me the 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 the University of Cape Coast. When I finished with my Education, I got married to Akosua Afriyie.
The wedding was full of pomp and flamboyance. Thousands of people attended the wedding ceremony. Cars had been parked at the Entrance of the Royal Chapel International as if they were auctioned for sale.
The wedding night was awesome. We had great 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 became 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 eat, sleep or die. 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 question her fidelity to me again.
But secrets don’t stay secret for long. She got pregnant for Doctor Vincent. She told me since I was not man enough to plant a seed in her and my fellow man had been able to achieve that fit, 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 homemaker. 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 leave her matrimonial home for a maidservant who was twice as beautiful as her?”
One day I returned from my bathroom, nude, and was applying some pomade on my body when my door swang opened and guess who materialized 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 realize that women like madam Akosua don’t deserve men like you.”
she stood at 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 surprised. She stood up and left. 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 went to 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 realized I loved her more than I thought. Quickly, I took her phone number from the letter she wrote down and call her.
Me: Hello Sika.
Sika: Hello, Please who’s this?
Me: Sika, can’t you recognize my voice?
Sika: No, I can’t. I’m sorry, this is a wrong Line.
Me: No, no, no, no. Sika, don’t do this to me. It’s Mr. Ben kuma. You used to be my housemaid in Accra, Airport Residential area.
Sika: OK. I got it. So why are you calling me now?
Me: I want you to come back.
Sika: I’m sorry, Sir. I can’t.
Before I could utter another word, her line went dead.
~Two weeks later 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 welcome 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 caressed me softly and I was aroused. The blood within my body surged furiously like a wild beast released from prison. My adrenaline pulsated sporadically. At that point, I knew I would soon eat the “forbidden fruit.”
I grabbed her by her waist and unzipped her skirt. As her cloth parted, her breasts were exposed. I caressed them until she squirmed. My hands moved down and held her curvaceous buttocks. Her eyes shone with hot passion.
After five minutes of romantic play, I explored her pleasure pit, the connection sending a sporadic spasm of joy running concurrently through our bodies like electrical currents not willing to be disconnected any time soon.
She shouted in excitement through the sexual ecstasy making me wonder if it was just an ordinary orgasm or something else that was exciting her. It was an intriguing night.
After that night, bonking her 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 have a feeling something bad was about 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 carrying a 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 into her matrimonial home. Technically, she was still my wife since I have not divorced her when she got pregnant for the doctor.
I told her that 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 to stay in that house was going to be dangerous. Consequently, she ran away from the house.
About a year later, We woke up much earlier than usual in the morning due to the incessant cry of a baby. I opened my door only to see a three months old baby in a basket on my doorstep. I took it in and handed it over to my wife. There was a letter attached to the baby. It was from Sika.
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 share together. It was deeply etched into the secret recesses of my memory. It breaks my heart to leave you when your wife arrived but I can’t stay in your house with your wife. But 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.
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 Richard.
“Dad, dad, talk to me, whose picture is that you are holding?”
My son brought me back from the memory lane, instantly snatching me from my reverie. Dear reader, don’t tell my son the details of all that I told you. I will find my own 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 confessed to me that the woman in the picture was my mother and her name was Sika Ametamemanya. He apologized for keeping that secret from me for 16 years.
I was angry at my father for keeping that secret from me and also cheating on my ….” mother?”…erhhh. Akosua.
But dad, why did you cheat on Akosua.? Now she is angry with me because she saw me as a b****** 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 on this matter. It might interest you to know that she cheated on me first.
“How, father?”I asked.
It’s a long story but listens, I will tell you,” My father said and began recounting the story to me. 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 listen 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 didn’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 love her. She was the only mother I knew.
We received the shock of our lives when one evening, A police officer came to our house to convey the sad 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 to us but I could guess her gameplan. She wanted to poison My father and I and take over his properties but nature has its own way of meting out punishment to the evil ones.
Her body was deposited at the hospital. 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 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.
Mr. Benjamin helped Sika to further her education at the University of Education,
Winneba. She became a science teacher at Accra Academy in Ghana. After graduating from university, He got married to her. They have two children second Josh and Mariette.
Richard was happy he had met his real mother. He had pursued a course in Remote Sensing. He is now working at the Geographical Information System and Remote Sensing Department in Los Angeles, USA. He comes home every Six months to check on his parents.
AN EVIL PERSON IS LIKE A DIRTY WINDOW, THEY NEVER LET THE LIGHT SHINE THROUGH.
William Makepeace Thackeray
English Novelist (1811 – 1863)