#BlogFest 2:0, Day 28 – #30dayscountdownto2016
It happened on a Saturday; three weeks to Christmas. It was a normal boring Saturday, you know the kind. Where there would have been two football matches, no light and just lazing about. Listening to the din of your neighbour’s I-better -pass-my-neighbour -generator and your radio at the same time. Swatting flies and trying to count sheep to pass time. One of those Saturdays were none of the weddings in town required your parents attention. It was one of those Saturdays children wreaked havoc, not that they needed a particular day to cause damage. Just that it was one of those Saturdays, where absolutely nothing spectacular was going on and the children in my house felt the need to cause drama. Like they didn’t know better.
Father had been waiting for a call. The call that would determine if there would be money to pay for my fees and provide for Christmas, but the associates were not saying anything. Kept blaming it on the bank and how they haven’t cleared all the money. So you see tensions were high and spirits were low. Tempers and voices rising and love and cheer dwindling. Too many things were wrong and father wasn’t smiling. Mother had told us to keep out of the way. Let’s just say; Santa was coming late that year. That was probably the reason nothing was happening. Our money well was pretty dry.
My father had gone to get a trim to his Afro. Pretty Afro if you ask me, it was a new trend and father had swept it up in his arms, quite frankly it was cheaper to maintain than a regular haircut. If it helped to make him look younger than his forty something age, then it was fine. Mother had also gone to get her hair done. I was home alone with the boys and had been placed in charge. Big mistake.
It was by five in the evening when we dared ask the gateman to turn on our I-better-pass-my-neighbor-generator, careless, ditzy me didn’t mind when the boys were quiet. That should have been a sign of trouble. In fact I was enjoying the bliss. Watching back to back episodes of CSI New York.
When the doorbell rang I should have rallied everyone into quiet mode but I was in an impy mood. Skipping to the door I saw the bloodshot eyes of father. With a sinking feeling of doom in my stomach I remembered.
He strode to his business phone; a Nokia E98, checking his call log to see for a missed call. Checking for the awaited call, when he noticed something missing. His SIM card wasn’t in the phone. Slowly the air shifted and there was a shout.
“Ogechi, where is my SIM card” he bellowed
“Hmm” I replied distractedly, “where is my SIM card!”
“Daddy I don’t know” and almost hissed, wondering why he was yelling at me. Slowly I started looking for the card before I got a slap across my face.
“Chima and Emegha, come here!!!” I knew it was time to slink away to my room
He repeated this almighty question “where is my SIM card?” he was answered with silence. The storm of trouble was brewing.
My brothers both shrugged but Chima’s eyes were shinning and I knew he knew something. “I won’t ask you again, where is it?” No answer.
At this moment the dam of anger and frustration burst.
He jumped with surprising alertness and slammed his phone on the ground
“Is something wrong with you children? Do you want my life to end?”
He started pacing; he had already unbuckled his belt and was poised to start raining beatings. Then he noticed Chima’s shinning eyes.
The history of Chima’s shinning eyes; when he was much younger and was in trouble his eyes would start flashing like light bulbs looking like they had all the secret of the world in them. The occurrence of the shinning eyes earned him the nickname; computer eyes.
Father in his blinding anger still noticed computer eyes booting and just knew. He walked towards him menacingly.
“Where is it?” he screamed at him.
Chima immediately engaged panic mode and bolted downstairs and was across the street in few minutes. He was an athlete when he was in primary school.
Then I suddenly had a flash of memory. During one of my rounds of counting sheep I had noticed the boys poring over something, I would have checked to see what evil they were concocting but I couldn’t stop I would have lost count of the sheep. In my moment of recollection, my father had advanced on me and asked me what I was doing when they were ending his life while hitting me repeatedly with the belt. With a boldness only a non-offender can conjure I yelled at him.
Like a wounded loin he paced the entire palour, attempted to break the television with an iPhone. Blaming the poor T.V for distracting me from my duty of babysitting. Walked to the dining section and broke mother’s antique water jug, why he broke the jug I would never know. Threw a tumbler at the door and kept yelling. He searched the entire house for his SIM. How he planned on seeing it with anger as his new sight? I don’t know.
From the door we heard the voice that promised safety; Uncle AY from the flat downstairs he was the only one that could brave this high level of insanity.
“Mr Ugochukwu calm down!” He yelled. His very big voice like a promise of calm on a storm,
Father is a conservative man and he didn’t want a small boy like Uncle AY to see him in the rags of his monstrosity. So he stormed inside to his room to stew further while threatening to kill his son. Emegha and I quickly ran outside to the stairway in case father decided to resume breaking things.
Where was mother? I kept asking. Where was the only person that could tie this mad man down and like an answered prayer. She came up the stairs looking like she couldn’t be bothered, and simply asked
“Where is Chima, that boy won’t be the death of me or your father o?”
“He is downstairs” I replied on the brink of tears
“Good he better remain there” and she walked inside leaving us with the choice to venture into the house which my father had converted to a nut house or remain in the safety of the stairway.
In the midst of all this madness, Emegha who was actually the culprit was nursing the welts from the belts while helping to dig for the missing SIM card, wearing boots to protect his dainty feet from the display of madness.
Mother performed her magic and managed to tame father, convincing him to hide Mr. Hyde. Chima came back and Mother gave him the beating father would have killed him with. The reminder of the beating; a slash on his forehead. We searched for a four hours to no avail.
Weary and tired form the events of the evening while changing into my nightie by eleven thirty, something dropped from a pocket in my jeans. Upon closer inspection it was father’s SIM card.
Written by Nkem oyaghire. She blog at astreetcalledworld.blogspot.com
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