Dad and mum where at it again, Biodun was clutching at a corner in his room, fist clenched, and eyes shut tight in attempt to block out the screams of his mother, the shattering of glass and breakable furniture. He was only 9years old then and his parents fought more often than not and his dad wasn’t soft on his mother, he wasted no time in driving his fist wherever he knew will hurt best. Although the blame wasn’t all on his dad, his mum had a fast watery mouth. She was good with brutal words and she was very buoyant in loading them on dad.
They were both guilty. They didn’t consider the way the constant fighting affected him emotionally, psychologically, academically and physically. He had to work around like everything was alright when he bore a cross on his back.
Things only got worse when his mum got pregnant for another child. Biodun was excited about having a younger one with whom he could play with eventually, but dad wasn’t so enthusiastic about the child, and coupled with the fact that Biodun’s dad lost his job as the regional manager of UBA bank, everything in their lives seemed to be a fall from heaven to hell and damn was the hell hot.
Mum’s stomach got bigger as the days delivered into weeks, months, and mum cried more.
“Hormones” mum told Biodun one day.
“I am crying because my emotions have been heightened with the pregnancy.”
“How?” Biodun was confused. None of that made much sense to him, he didn’t quite get why his mum looked sick and deteriorated. He had to do something. He remembered the songs his Sunday school teacher taught them
“Read your bible pray everyday
Pray every day,
Pray every day,
Read your bible, pray every day, if you want to grow. “
“I don’t want to grow right now; I want my mum to be fine” he thought, but still:
“Prayer is the key
Prayer is the key
Prayer is the master key
Jesus started with prayers……..”
So he began praying for his mum and family.
“Father Lord, if you are true and you love me, make my mum well and whole and heal my parent’s marriage” Biodun prayed one day with tears in his eyes.
“I will testify in Sunday school if you answer my prayer” he promised God.
A month later, mum went into labour and Biodun was taken to a neighbor’s house while his dad rushed his mum to the hospital. She was in pains and kept insisting on the fact that her waist was hurting and that she was too tired to do this. Her stomach was so big then, that it reminded Biodun of Grandma’s water pot in the village.
He rushed to hold his mum’s hand when she was helped into the car on the way to the hospital but his dad shoved him away and sent him back to the neighbor’s flat. The last glance he had, was his mum’s faint wave, tears in her eyes before the car pulled out of the apartment.
He never saw her again. Neither at the hospital, nor at the burial ceremony. NEVER!!
Biodun was pained, he was damaged. God hadn’t answered his prayers neither had his dad loved him anymore. He was soon abandoned at a boarding school far from home since his dad was always traveling in search of a new job and no one was left to care and cater for him. He was by himself with his tears a friend and a hole in his heart.
He hated God for the death of his mum and for the way his dad treated his mum coupled with sending him away to boarding school. He was left alone in the world, not even the baby survived and he was thankful for that. At least the innocent baby wouldn’t come into this bitter world he was in.
Biodun made sure he got his dad’s attention by following bad friends and involving in unspeakable things at boarding school. He smoked, he drank, he jumped school, he was ruling or so he thought. But none of these seemed to hurt his dad the way he wanted it to. Worse off, his dad was getting married again to an Igbo woman, who was very nice to him and his dad but he would have none of such kindness. She could never replace his mother. No one could, not even his dad who turned a new live and began showing love to him. Not even the fact that his dad was now a pastor could take away the hate from his heart. Of course his dad gave him more money, called him and apologized, he didn’t forgive. He just couldn’t. He was going to carry it on his chest for the rest of his life. Yes! he tattooed a skull on his chest to represent his life’s burn.
Now, he just stared down at the tattoo on his chest in the hospital and whispered: “Never! I can’t forget, I can’t forgive God or my Dad”