POSTED 03/02/2018 14:58:13
Things started to fall apart at home the day Papa came back home late and hit Mama so hard because she had asked if she could serve his food or wait until he finished taking his bath.
At first, there was silence in the house then gently, it came. I could hear Mama’s sobs quietly like Grandma did the day she was told that people had attacked Grandpa on his way back from work.
I pinched my forehead to know if it was a dream or not, but before I could detect whether it was or not, Papa's voice gave me the answer. His voice echoed so well that it kept repeating in my mind for days.
"Do I always ask whether I should give you money for food, or wait until you are dressed for the market?” Papa thundered.
It was after Papa's thunderous sentence, that I heard Mama's sobs clearly.
I knew Mama would have stared at Papa and wondered why he had hit her.
I could imagine the pain on Mama, but I kept my peace and looked round the room which now seems like a strange room.
I stared at the ceiling for long, wanting it to distract me from hearing their conversation; wanting it to clear off my mind that something had just happened.
Two days after the incident, some strange changes took place. Nobody cared to know whether the other was fully satisfied after a meal, no one cared to ask how the day went for the other.
The only conversation that was always in the air, was about Emeka's admission into the university; everyone kept to themselves and I followed suit.
I knew Mama was pregnant because she will always go to the toilet three times in the middle of the night, and will often tell of how food made her feel nausea, of which was unusual for her.
Mama was in the sitting room, gazing at a newspaper on her laps which said "HEALTH IS WEALTH", when she noticed for the first time that Papa was using a kitchen knife to cut his toe nails.
I had thought Mama will look away and pretend she saw nothing; but reverse was the case when I saw her leave for her room and immediately showed up at the sitting room again.
She was right in front of Papa, standing and stretching forth her hands to him.
Fear gripped me when I saw Papa's face darken with anger, but Mama stood there like a figurine, like a statue, like a caricature that made no attempt to move.
I sensed something was amidst, something was going to be wrong. Though I didn't see what Mama was still stretching to Papa, I knew something was going to happen because clear silence hung in the air, and that was the silence that was killing us gradually; that was the silence that had just arrived in our home; that was the silence we were all never ready to chase away.
It was when Papa took what was in Mama's hand, that I saw that it was a...