Inspired by one of my favorite bloggers LondonBuki, this is my tenth Mummy Sunday post!!! This one is going to have a slightly different format than the past 9 Mummy Sundays. For the next few weeks, I’ll write a series of open letters to my Mummy telling her how things were when she wasn’t there. I might interrupt the series if I have anything else of importance to say about my mommy, but other than that… for the next few weeks… it’s going to be the “When You Weren’t There” part of my Mummy Sunday Posts. The details of my story might not be told in chronological order… but each entry should make sense in and of itself. The first installment is titled:
The Day You Left
I was about 7 years old. You came home with about 3 police officers and my dad and everyone went into your room. You came out crying. You hugged me and my 5 year old younger sister Fire. You told us to be good and that you’d be back. We waited and waited. I didn’t eat that night cos somehow I knew something was different.
You didn’t come back!!!
I woke up in the morning and for the first time in my life, you weren’t there. I couldn’t make sense of it cos my dad was home. I don’t remember if I asked him where you were and what he told me.
But I do remember that even then, I was terribly scared of him. I really couldn’t believe you’d left us with him now especially when you knew how we really felt about him. We’d grown up with you, you’d lived for us, you’d loved us… and you left us with HIM!!!
I cried for a long time. But sometimes I had to be strong for Fire cos I felt I was all she had at the time... she didn't like my dad either.
He frowned a lot and came back from work late.He made us study all the time and warned us never to go downstairs and play with anybod y.
We were supposed to just spend time with Nonso the househelp. She was nice enough but I never really felt completely at ease with her.
He installed a ‘prison bar gate’ right behind our door and every window in the house. He bolted the two padlocks on the door every morning before he went to court.
I felt like an animal in a zoo… caged, repressed and subdued.
There was no ‘in or out’
Days passed, then weeks… then months and we got used to it.
The four walls of the apartment became our world.
We dreamt big dreams and created fairytales in those four walls.
We cried a little less every day… until you became just a strong memory.
Then you came by that afternoon
And our worlds were turned upside down
We felt hope… there was a way out… you loved us… you’d get us out
We felt that hope when you stretched your hands out to us from behind those ‘home prison bars’ and cried till your voice was hoarse
We cried with you… they were tears of sadness, tears of happiness… tears of hope
But you couldn’t bring us out!
There was the prison bars to contend with… but even worse…
He’d destroyed all our documents cos he didn’t want us to have ‘an out’
You’d actually only come to get a few important things so you could go away and try to build a life for us and come and take us later
What Heartbreak… I’d never cried so much and probably never will again.
We ripped the mosquito net that covered the ‘kitchen prison bars’ and passed you some of your clothes and important items.
The househelp Nonso took a lot of your clothes and Jewelry… and for the first time I kept information to myself.
I saw her doing it and said nothing because I knew that my new life didn’t involve you anymore and that you couldn’t do much from behind a ‘prison bar’.(The first of the many situations that I'd "do the diplomatic thing").
I begged you to stay even though I knew it was useless… Fire cried so much I thought she was going to die… but there wasn’t much you could do about it.
I felt more sorry for you than I did for myself… cos I saw the love in your eyes… the sacrifice… I knew that your life had to be in jeopardy to have left us… I knew this even at 7.
There were times when I blamed you… but then my memories would come back of when you used your body to shield us from the cold… when you protected us from the punks that used to scare us at the park in Lewisham and I couldn’t really blame you.
It was positively the worst day of my young life… the day you left!