Okay people, first things first:
Happy Birthday to ME!!!!
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She held her hands to her breasts, looked down at them, and then looked up at him in stunned silence.
He looked at her breasts then at his hands in stunned silence.
Her eyes held questions. Disbelief and questions. Why? How? HOW?
His eyes held regret. Disbelief and regret. HOW?
She loved him. She had always loved him. She couldn’t always protect him but she had loved him.
He hated her. He had always loved her. Why didn’t she protect him? He had sworn to protect her.
He was her number one man. Had always been. Even when his father walked out. Even when the one after beat her up. She had stayed. For him. She had endured. For him. She had stuck with the animal because he had agreed to fund his education and provide for them. She had done it all for him.
Why hadn’t she protected him? Did she not see him come to his room? Had she not heard his screams? His eight year old screams? Had she not???
She had seen the welts and bruises.
Mama! MAMA! He had screamed. Over and over. And over.
He had to be strong. He had to learn how to be strong.
Why won’t she come? Why won’t she save me?
Life isn’t easy. You had to learn how to be tough; take the good with the bad.
He would be tough. He was a man now. A 14year old man.
She had noticed the change.
He had heard her screaming again. He picked up a knife from the kitchen.
She had looked up from the floor with her one eye that wasn’t swollen shut and had seen him.
He would protect her.
He had plunged the knife into his back. Swiftly.
She pushed him off, cradled his still form and started sobbing and screaming incoherently at him.
He didn’t understand.
She called him a fool.
But she was supposed to be proud of him.
WHAT HAVE YOU DONE YOU EVIL CHILD?
He had been trying to protect her. He was only protecting her.
She couldn’t say for sure when the heavy drinking started. He was 16 now. She had to work extra since everything was on her.
He needed to escape.
She should have done more than scold him the day she found him passed out in his room, empty bottles strewn about the floor.
He had find a way to stop the images and sounds of her screaming at him and cradling his still form.
She should have done more than scream at him the day she caught him with the white powder.
She was supposed to cradle him. Not him.
She should never have borne him. Then she would not be standing here in this…
“Where are you going at this time of the night ehn? Chukwuka answer me!”
He tried unsuccessfully to push her aside from the top of the stairway. His vision was blurred. He was having a bad night.
“You’re not going anywhere this night! You hear me Chuka? You’re not going anywhere!”
He just wanted to get a fix. His hands were shaking badly. Why wouldn’t she just step aside?
Normally she would have just let him. But she’d had a bad day. Look at how his hands were shaking! Why was her son, her only hope in this world, turning out like this? “What is wrong with you this boy? You’re now a drug addict abi? I’m sure you were on drugs the night you killed your father you this devil child!”
He went deathly still. Don’t bring him up. No. Not today. Please mama, not today.
She knew she had gotten to him. Knew he hated talking about him. Knew she should stop.
She grabbed his shirt, “You will not kill me oh! You will not kill me! You think he was bad? Well you’re becoming just like him. In fact you’re worse than him because he never did drugs!”
He did not know how he shook her fists off his shirt. He doesn’t remember how he rushed into his former room and took it out of the place he’d seen him hide it before. All he remembers is rushing out the room screaming. And then he heard a sound. And then he saw red.
She heard the sound first.
She had seen him rush in. She had seen him rush out, screaming hysterically and waving something in front of him that looked like a… oh no it couldn’t be…
He looked at her and looked at the thing in his hand. He knew he should go to her. She was his mother. She was supposed to protect him. He hated her. He had sworn to protect her. He loved her.
She clutched her hands between her breasts where the warm red liquid had begun to stream out.
And then she crumbled down the stairs.