We were sitting on the terrazzo floor of our balcony when her scream came from the kitchen. Her sream, petrified
cry got our veins pregnant of disdain.This time around it was piercing. Immediately, we heard the long-echoing sound of fallen stainless tray. It instilled multitude of awe into our veins.
”This Woman again! What has she done to her at this dead of the night?” Ezinne murmured.
Her face was wrinkled with bitterness, bitterness wrinkled her face. She rushed to Mama Ngozi’s house — a three
bedroom flat sharing the same fence with ours. To tell her that Mama had started playing the role of the beast on Amaka again. I don’t think she would come, for Mama had rained insult on her yesterday when she
came to rescue Amaka from mama’s beating. Mama told her never to interfere with her family issues again. Two: that it was her badluck that made her husband to have a
road accident a year after their wedding. Three: that those who are women enough do give birth to sound children not that Epileptic she called Ngozi. Like a sword, those words sliced our hearts. Our sympathy for
her grew lead. Wordleness became the portion of Mama Ngozi, she left, carrying salty rains in her soulful eyes.
I rushed inside the kitchen to watch the drama; blood had taken over the floor. Amaka’s neck was in-between Mama’s elephantine thighs, tightened. Mama was repeatedly drumming her fists on her back, panting. As
she was drumming her fists on her back, she was chorusly muttering:
”Anytime, I’m talking to you, don’t talk back at me, you hear?”
”Would you talk back at your deceased mother or your blind father like this? Answer me! You poor wretched urchin!”
All the ”I’m Very Sorry Ma’am” that kept flooding from Amaka’s mouth could not rescue her from Mama’s drumming.
Mama had successfully torn her rags to shreds. The emerging oranges on her chest were stained with blood cascading down from her nostrils. I wouldn’t separate Mama from Amaka, I wouldn’t dare. I wouldn’t even
imagine my lanky self drawing mama out from Amaka who weighed three and half bags of Dangote cement.
Even if I had fruitfully done it. She will spread her deaf ears on my educational requests. She would automatically beat me and put pepper in my eyes and my man-pestle. Mama was nicknamed ”Macho Woman” by
her fellow Lace-sellers, after she had beaten one Skinny- man preacher who told her that wearing trousers and making heavy make-ups like Jezebel would land her in the Lake of Fire.
When Ezinne came with Mama Ngozi, Amaka had already swooned. It was then that Mama withdrew herself from her.
Is she dead? Ezinne asked. Thick clouds gathered in her eyes.
”She can’t be dead, my baby girl,” was the reply of Mama.
Mama Ngozi bent down and shook Amaka, only to discover that two things had happened; either she’s cold or unconscious. The sweat on Mama’s body dried in a splint second. She stood as silent as a silver shadow. Regrets drenched her.
Ewoo! Anwukwa muo! What have I done to my sister’s only daughter? If I had known, I wouldn’t have beaten her? Mama shrieked repeatedly.
”No need of this ululation”. Mama Ngozi cut her words off. ”First, Let’s take her to St. Andrew’s Hospital”…
Mama Ngozi carried Amaka and spread her on the Back seat of mama’s Red Mercedes Benz. Ezinne opened the gate, they drove off.
We sat on the terrazzo floor of our balcony. The pot- bellied moon and the stars were sitting passionately on the countenance of the sky. Though, they were still
young. The zephyr tossed the hibiscus flowers in our compound and they fluttered in gentle commotion. Ezinne who pillowed her newly braided hair on my thighs was crying. She loved Amaka so much. They resembled each other; with Opioro-mango head, natural red lips,
pointed nose, slender and fair in complexion like the Arabian princesses. Both are exact version of Mama in her preteenhood. I stole a few of my mother’s features but black complexion like my Dad. Amaka would always
assist her in assignments. Amaka taught her how to solve algebra; LCM and HCF. If her Mother were to be alive today she supposed to be writing her Junior Waec by now. But Mama denied her education; even when she had promised the blind Father that she will send her to school immediately they left our village for the City of Owerri. Amaka told us that one Man poured acid on her father’s face. She did not furnish us with reasons why the man embarked on such inhumane act. I wouldn’t
ask Ezinne to stop crying, because I was crying too, without tears.
Three hours later, headlights flooded into our
compound. The repeated honking of mama’s car woke us, who were held in the scaffolding disc of dizziness. I opened the gate; she drove in. She went inside the house without replying our questions concerning Amaka’s condition.
She slumped in the sofa. The cold breeze that followed us shook the framed photographs that adorned the walls . She looked haunted, with her head bowed. She looked like she had aged a decade in the space of about three minutes. She was in pain but the pain she could not feel.
”It is hard now to escape the conclusion that Amaka’s life is running out…” mama screamed silently.
”But what did the doctor say about her condition”? I asked.
”If blood is not donated to her before two days, she will grow cold”….
”Why won’t she lack blood when she always eat one square meal in 24hours?” I spoke angrily, shouldered my way through the door leading to the sitting room.
”We should be thanking God that she’s still with her breath. Fortunately , her blood group and ours are the same…We should start donating ours to her.” Ezinne said in a meek tone. She sat beside mama telling her to
dry her tears that all will be well.
”My children, the problem is that Amaka’s father warned us not to donate blood to her that it is abomination unto God”…
Why? Ezinne asked, fluttering her eyelids.
Have you forgotten their Church? Ndi Jehovah witness do not donate or receive blood.
”What are we going to do now?” Ezinne asked.
”Mama, but if we donate our blood how would he going to know?”
No reply was given to our questions. Mama’s phone rang inside her small brown leathered bag. She unzipped it and picked the call. The next thing we heard from her was a thunderous ”WHAT”! Coldness descended on her body. The curious exhilaration beat in our blood.
”Mama, what’s it? What happened?” Ezinne asked repeatedly.
”The doctor said that…” Mama’s lips shivered like a rat drenched by rain.
”The Doctor said what”? We asked together. Fire of consciousness was burning in our eyes.
”That Amaka’s father died 20 minutes ago, immediately he heard Amaka had died”. These were last Mama’s words.
If tears could raise the dead, we would have flooded the
earth with the seas
of our eyes.
Madu Chisom Kingdavid has been published in different online platforms and has won different awards for his poetry. He studies History in Imo State University.
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i totally enjoyed reading this piece.. though i should point out. it should be pregnant with disdain not pregnant of disdain