When I let myself into the compound, I release breath I didn’t know I was holding at no sighting of my mother. I do not have the fortitude yet to deal with her, especially not when I do not have the full picture of what I am about to stand trial for.

Do you know anyone called Sage?

She’d asked this, and I had instantly invoked Amadioha to visit that bastard with the most painful boil on his dick. Before I could stutter an answer however, my mother had interrupted with an order for me to simply come straight home.

Now I am here and I am sneaking into the house like a hoe doing the walk of shame.

“Mummy is really pissed.”

My heart does a somersault as I jerk around on my way to the verandah at the back. A strangled gasp escapes my mouth and I clutch at my chest when I behold my little sister standing a few yards away from me. She is holding a bowl of water in her hand, like she’d just been to the water tank to fetch some water.

“You look like your sins are catching up with you,” she says with a smirk curving her lips.

Witch!

“Thanks,” I hiss with heavy sarcasm. “But let’s leave the job of the judgment day for Angel Gabriel, shall we?”

She looks at me, like she is wondering just how further she can push me, her small lips working like she’s rolling her rejoinder around in her mouth.

I glare a warning at her. She shrugs and makes to walk around me into the house.

“Ehm, wait, Kam-kam,” I call her with the nickname my brothers and I culled from her name, which we use whenever we want a favour from the girl.

She turns, her gaze now uninterested and bored.

“First, where’s mummy?” I ask.

“In her room,” she replies, her bland tone bordering on irritation.

See attitude o!

“Please don’t tell her you saw me, okay?” I add a winning smile here, one that feels very plastic on my face.

“Keep teaching me how to lie, you hear?” she returns. “After you will start calling me a bad child.” With that, she turns and flounces off into the house.

I stare after the small Lucifer, resisting the urge to snatch her insolent behind back around and slap some respect into her. Inukwam small girl giving me attitude – Me! The one who invented attitude!

I follow after her, making my way to my room. Then I change my mind and decide to sneak a peak inside the living room to check out the coast there. I sidle to the door and draw the curtain hanging over the doorway back. Then I push my head in and give a guilty start when my gaze clashes with the stern older stare in the room.

“Well, come on inside, Oluchukwu,” my mother says from where she’s sitting in the parlour.

First, where’s mummy?

In her room.

I decide there and then that I am ready to go to prison. And it won’t be because of 14 years entrapment of me being gay; it will be because I murdered my sister. That little lying bitch!

I proceed into the room.

“Sit down, Oluchukwu,” Mother instructs.

I wince at her second call of my other native name. Oluchukwu! Hmmph! It is actually my first name. The second is Ikemefuna. Growing up, without even knowing why, I hated being called Oluchukwu. I saw it as a personal injury, visited on me by my parents as a clapback to God for perhaps sending them a son instead of a daughter as their first child. By the time I got into Primary 4, I’d started demanding to be called Ikem, a shortened version of my second name. Not like Ikemefuna was any sexier, but try shortening Oluchukwu… *shudder*

By the time I got into senior class in secondary school, I’d stopped introducing myself to new acquaintances with Ikem. That was when Sizikora was given life.

I sit down. She doesn’t say anything to me, choosing instead to return her attention to the notepad in her hand, her face hard and flinty.

I recognise the tactic. She’s playing the waiting game, one where you both know that she knows that you have been a bad child, but she stays silent and lets you stew with anxiety as you sort through which sin you are about to be crucified for, mentally torturing yourself before she’s even begun dealing with you.

It was a cruel technique that worked wonders on us – on me, while I was growing up. Now I’m a Queen Bitch, and this woman doesn’t seem to know that. There won’t be any anxiety attacks for Sizikora – uh-uh, it doesn’t work like that anymore.

So instead of sitting tensely and wringing my fingers like she no doubt expects me to, I recline on my seat and cross my legs at the ankle. Then I get a nail file out from my bag and start smoothening the rough edges on my already well-manicured nails.

Two can play the game, Mummy.

A few moments of silence tick by, before she suddenly barks, “Young man, you seem not to know the weight of the problem you have gotten yourself into.”

I turn to her. My heart is beating wildly behind my chest, but my expression is the perfect mix of disinterest and innocence. If she is on a fishing expedition for my sins, it is not from my mouth that she will find something to indict me with.

“Mummy, what do you mean?”

“Will you shut up your mouth!” she thunders, suddenly moving to get to her feet.

I tense up and stare warily at her. I haven’t been beaten or flogged since I was thirteen, but I could recognize the fire raging in my mother’s eyes, that fire that usually scorches anyone it is directed at.

“I say shut up your mouth!” she storms, even though I hadn’t spoken. “What do you mean by asking me what do I mean? I mean, you’re in serious trouble, Oluchukwu!”

“But I don’t –”

“Just shut up your dirty mouth, gi bu nwa!

I grind my mouth shut, clenching my jaw as I strive not to be provoked by her anger. I am no longer a child, mum, I long to scream at her. But I maintain my cool.

She continues to glare at me, her glower fiercely burning my face. “Are you just going to sit there and tell me you don’t know what I’m talking about, eh Oluchukwu?”

“Mummy –”

“Who is Sage?”

“Mummy, I don’t –”

“Answer me, Oluchukwu! Who is Sage!”

I tighten my lips again, choosing not to answer.

Three heated seconds sizzle past. Then she expels a shuddering breath before stepping back, the fire in her eyes banking. When she speaks, her tone has lost some of its ire. “Do you think I don’t know what you have become, Oluchukwu?”

My anger is starting to pound behind my eyes. I cannot believe I’ve been called Oluchukwu more times in just a few minutes than I have been called it in the past five years or so.

“Well, I do.” She is still talking. “How can I not when you have all this cheap jewelry on your body” – she makes an irritated sweeping gesture at me – “looking like a useless boy every time you step out of this house.”

Cheap jewelry? Really, mum?

“Oluchukwu, look at me.”

I angle my head upward, resting a hard gaze on hers.

“My son,” her voice is down several more decibels, “are you still practicing that demonic thing?”

“What demonic thing?”

“The homo thing, Oluchukwu,” she snaps, her voice teetering upward again, “I’m talking about that abomination. I ka na-eme ya?”

I sit, silent and stiff.

“Answer me osiso! Are you still doing that demonic thing?”

“Mummy, I don’t have any demon in me.”

“Is that so?” She rears back, her brows lifted over incredulous eyes.

“Look, mummy –”

“Mm, just wait,” she cuts in, lifting a silencing finger at me. Then she turns to retrieve her phone from the couch she’d gotten up from. She thumbs through it. “You will be pleased to know that your friend, Sage, had a lot of light to shine on the dark, twisted demon possessing you. Just wait, let me find the voice note.”

The seconds that pass as she continues swiping through her phone has me amending my curse for Sage. I no longer want Amadioha to visit him with penis boil; instead, he should shove a copious amount of painful, untreatable hemorrhoid up that bastard’s ass.

I know you didn’t call me here to come and buy me Maltina. So are you going to talk or do I have to get up and leave?

The sound of my voice, made strident by the digital composition, causes me to look up at my mother. She is staring grimly at me, holding her phone out so I can hear everything that was said at the table that I occupied with Sage earlier that day – from my bitchy attitude toward Sage to my telling conversation with Ferdinand on the phone. As I listen, I feel an equal tide of mortification and rage thrashing about like Elegushi Beach waves inside my body.

That son of a bitch recorded me! What in hell does he even want from me bikonu!

“So what do you have to say for yourself?” Mother says when the recording is over.

“Nothing,” I answer with a shrug. “There’s nothing to that recording.”

“What do you mean there’s nothing to the recording? That was you propositioning him for sex and then discussing meeting for sex with another man. And you tell me there’s nothing there? I’m your mother, Oluchukwu. I’m not dumb. Now tell me what I need to know…”

Her voice cracks on the last word, and she moves back to gently lower herself on a couch. Her shoulders are shaking and I can see that the waterworks are not a long way off.

I roll my eyes inwardly. Yea, sure, mum, by all means, be the victim here.

I get to my feet and move to the window, looking out to the blackness outside. Something about the night becomes an echo of the way I feel inside, its absoluteness, its darkness representing how shrouded and decided I feel, getting to be.

“Mummy…” I say softly as I turn around to face her.

She turns a wretched expression to me, her eyes oddly pleading for me to spare her.

“Do you really want me to spell out the truth to you, the truth which I’m sure you have always known but chose to ignore?” I give her a chance – take it and let’s never revisit this issue again… Or leave it and deal with the consequence.

At my words, the ire begins to return to her countenance. Her eyes start sparking as she snaps, “Will you shut up with that nonsense!” She lurches back to her feet. “For chrissakes, I thought you changed. The pastor said so himself!”

An involuntary hiss escapes my mouth, as I recall how this same pastor is the one who had plundered my ass all in the name of deliverance.

“Disrespect me with another hiss and I will twist those your lips out from your face,” my mother fires, advancing a step as though daring me to call her bluff.

“I didn’t mean to disrespect you, mum. I wasn’t hissing at you. I was hissing at the fact that you clearly don’t get it.” I pause, take in a deep breath as though gathering fortitude, and upon expelling the breath, I say very slowly, “Mummy, I am gay. I never changed. I’m still very gay.”

With each quiet declaration I made, she flinches. When I stop talking however, she stares at me for what seems to be the longest moment, her eyes hard, her face pinched. Then she walks over to me, raises her right hand, and strikes me with an open palm across my cheek.

Even though I saw her coming, the slap takes me by surprise, knocking me physically backward. I stagger to a stop and then pin a glare on her, holding on to my suddenly intense anger with steely control.

“How dare you bring disgrace to this family, Oluchukwu Ikemefuna Obinwanne?” The accusation comes softly, quietly wicked. “How dare you?!”

I say nothing in response.

Her eyes moisten again and she begins to cry as she turns to go back to her seat. Her hands are quivering as she settles herself on the couch again. Then she looks at me with her teary eyes, her expression devastated at the thought of what she has to say next. “I don’t even know what pains me more, the fact that you’re a homosexual or that you are a prostitute. Is that what you homosexuals do? Is that how much I have failed you, how much I allowed the devil to possess you?” Her tone is cracked and tired.

“Mummy, it’s not what homosexuals do. It’s what I do. It’s just my thing.”

“Well, not in my house.” Like the seesaw that her emotions have been in the past few minutes, her tone sharpens again, the words coming like a whiplash.

The import of her words registers in my mind almost a full minute after she spoke them. I stare at her, not wanting to believe the implied ultimatum.

“Are you saying –” I start to ask.

“I am telling you to either quit this devilish act or leave my house!” she thunders.

“Okay.”

“Okay what?”

I can sense the slight hope in the question. The hope of a mother who thinks she is getting victory.

I sense the hope and I squash it with what I say next. “I will leave first thing in the morning.”

A shudder works its way through her body as she gapes at me, astounded by my decision. I do not wait another second in her presence as I turn and start out of the parlour, already planning my next move and deciding that I cannot wait for Amadioha to do for me what I intend to do to Sage.

Written by Delle

Print Friendly
Total 0 Votes
0

Tell us how can we improve this post?

+ = Verify Human or Spambot ?