Was it a coincidence that my bladder decided to burst at that time?
Or fate that Nkechi occupied the restroom inside my room, prompting me to rush downstairs for mum’s?
Was it intuition or was God just being generous in revealing the hidden things I never knew existed?
These were the questions that haunted and daunted my mind as I sat across an ugly woman in tattered rags, scratching her boil-infested body with the stench of urine suffocating my nostrils.
The sight that propelled the action was heartbreaking. It was human’s inhumanity to humans. Something I never thought was ever going to happen to me. Not from or by the one I trusted most.
That morning, staring down from the stairs, my flamboyant white gown swept the floor. I wiped my eyes and tugged at my skin to be sure I wasn’t daydreaming.
I watched their lips meet in an embrace of passion; I saw his tongue dig into her mouth with desperation. His tongue sought, possessed, and conquered hers, claiming a prize that wasn’t his to take. The heat of his mouth smeared with salivas intensified her hunger as she cupped his neck.
Dazed by the impact, my head went light, my eyes wheeled in its socket and my knees wobbled.
I watched for ten seconds.
Ducking as they broke off, sensing a presence. My frame crashed into the side of the door, making a noise I think startled them as I raced back into the room.
My beauticians who were chattering away, viewing their reflections in the mirror were unnerved as they witnessed the shock on my face. Questions pelted at me like darts but I was too disoriented to speak.
The interlude of peace and happiness we shared a moment ago was shattered.
My gown crinkled and flexed as I dropped my buttocks on the bed and buried my head in my palms. The happiest day of my life turned … Tears hung thick until the door opened and my mother walked through looking all decked up like a queen.
I was her replica — her younger self. At forty-five, she still had the charisma, the aura, and the charm to pin any man of her choice down. It was well demonstrated by her laced-up face, long braids, smooth oily skin, and the triangular necklace that circled her neck.
As she walked in wearing an unwavering countenance. Peering her vicious eyes at my three friends who stood beside me, fidgeting.
“What did you do to her?” she asked no one in particular, her face masked in anger.
There was silence, a ponderous one as heads shook in different directions.
“She said she wanted to pee downstairs since Nkechi used the one here. All of a sudden she burst in, crying.” Gift, one of my bridesmaids explained.
My mum lowered herself to the bed as the rowdy room blurred my vision. She circled her hand around my shoulder and tried to say something. I untangled her, shunning her with a finger. She looked around and inhaled the scent of strawberry that encompassed the room.
“Everyone out!” her voice commanded.
As my friends filed out of the room. Tears overflowed the bank of my eyes. They came in torrents. With my nose filled with mucus and my breathing—sniffs, I stared my mum in the face.
“Will you stop acting like a kid? Today is your wedding day and it’s barely twenty minutes to go. And you don’t have to mess up this make-up. C’mon, Go on, be happy, my child.” her assertive voice tried to console me.
I glanced at my mother with disdainful eyes. My mind tried to replay images of the forbidden scenario but the shock effect numbed my imagination.
“Mummy why?” I asked, my arms flailing. “How long has this been happening?”
Startled and confused by the questions, she touched my neck to gauge the temperature.
“I don’t understand. What do you mean?” she scowled.
“Wait,” I said as I moved around her bed to the drawer, pulled out the top, and took a silver blade encased with black plastic.
Flashing it before my mother, she scampered backward.
“What is this? What has come over you, dear daughter?” she tried to hide the fear in her voice.
“Mother! …Mother? You’re not qualified to be called one. For how long have you been making out with Frank?” I hissed.
“ Don’t dear me… I’ll rip you apart if you lie to me. I just caught you both downstairs. Now tell me, how long?”
Defeated and discomfited, “ I’m sorry, child,” my mother conceived and prepped up to continue.
“ It was three months ago when…”
“ I don’t want the details! Mum, have you had sex with him?”
I stabbed the bed.
“How many times?”
I kept eye contact, gauging her like a predator raring to pounce.
“Yet, you wanted me to marry him? So that you both can continue under my nose? How callous can you get?”
“ I’m so…” my mother’s screams tore through the room and rang across the compound. With delight, No not delight but rage I watched blood drip off my knife and kiss the ground.
“That son-of-a-bitch will have a taste of his medicine too.” I roared, wiped the blood off my mother’s dress, and stormed out of the house.
© Stephen Toochi