When I was 4 my mother tried to kill me. She tried to suffocate me with a pillow while I slept. I barely have memories up until the age 6 but that night I will never forget. My father got her off me and mercilessly beat her, for some reason the look in his eyes didn’t stem from love for me but pure dominance of strength. I looked into her eyes and I see a flaw, I knew quickly before anything else that she was broken in her mind.
They sent her away after that, to the hospital to live while she got treatment, well that’s what they said. All my father ever said to me about her after that was “You better stop crying and start praying for her because that is the only thing that can save her”. I wrote to her everyday, I wrote to her about everything and sometimes I included pictures. At the beginning I did it for her and later on I did it for myself. I never stopped because as life got harder it was my form of confession and coping, the feeling of not been judged but being listened too. When I was 18 -that age when you dared to do things you know you shouldn’t- I went to visit her. I went looking for the “mad bitch” that was what my father called her.
She looked so terrible, it was sad. When she looked at me it was like that gaze your friend gives you when they see you at a party they didn’t think you were coming for. She hugged me and like a baby I cried into her bosom. She told me I kept her alive, with every letter I wrote to her the threads of her mind mended. She told me she was proud of who I had become despite my father. She told me she was sorry she couldn’t give me the necessities of a mother. She told me she was sorry she wasn’t there. She told me I was perfect because I had overcome the greatest adversity in life: to be a child born of hateful parents. She told me I was more than extraordinary. With every word she said to me her absence didn’t hurt as much.
When I was 25 I got her out of that hell hole but I made a mistake. Everyone said I should have left her there but fuck them because you make decisions for yourself by yourself. I took her back home, the home she had once shared with my dad. I had thought old age softened them. I thought wrong. I told her I was here now and this was her chance to live her life. I told her to let me take care of her so in a way I could complete the mother-child cycle. I let them stay together because I loved them both, yes even my father because you love whom you love for no particular reason even if they are bad people. My father was jealous of us, jealous of the promises I made to her that I never made to him. I promised to visit her everyday, to never leave her, to regain our 14 years. I could tell she wasn’t fully sane but I couldn’t blame her. During one of her long talks she wandered away and told me she suffered from postpartum depression after my birth, she told me it was a product of her parents forcing her to marry an abuser, laying with him in bed and creating me an anchor to a marriage with the devil. She told me he makes her sanity dissolve. She was a reflection of a Nigeria that doesn’t believe in mental health.
On a random day going to visit them I walked in on my father on the floor bleeding from his abdomen as he cried aloud. His head cradled in my mother’s hand as she held a knife to his throat ready to slash his neck. I collapsed kneeling and begging for her to stop, for her not to kill him for my sake. “You promised me you wouldn’t leave me. You promised you would take care of me, today he tried to touch me, he tried to lay his hand on me but I am not who I was years ago. He has to die for what he took from us”, she said as she slashed his neck slowly like every second meant everything to her. She looked at me with her dead eyes “its a shame, its awful being a grow up because life is so hard, all it does it take and take. Is there a reason for that? Any reason at all why the world is so screwed up, random and mean now would be a good time to tell me son because I don’t deserve this. I was a good person before life hurt and destroyed me” she was crying and shaking so much. I walked slowly to her and she fell into my arms and I apologised for what the world had taken from her, her self, her life, her son, her health and her ability to be happy. “Son, I don’t want to do it again. I can’t. Please make it stop, please I don’t want to be here one more day” she placed the knife in my hand. I begged her “I need more time with you mum, please”, she clenched my fist with the knife in my hand and said “there is no more time it just keeps going on faster and faster, we cant go back, we cant press pause. We’ve gone to far”. I did it fast as I could. I sat there for hours in the blood of a hateful marriage.
Doesn’t it haunt you, knowing that the worst things that can happen happen and they don’t happen to the worst people? They happen at random.