Nigerian Short Story: Freedom at Thirty.

I came down of my Toyota Highlander Jeep and walked to the scene of the burial. I was thirty minutes late and the people wearing black were already dispersing to their various destinations. I looked at the faces present and I was able to place some of them to people I knew from fifteen years ago: Mommy and Peter’s friends, Peter’s siblings and some other of his relations.

I stood in front of the white coffin that carried Peter’s lifeless body for some minutes, with my black shades covering my eyes from people’s view although I wasn’t crying. I wasn’t even mourning his death.

The only reason I came here was because I promised myself that I would come when he died so I could mock his helplessness. I had done that and I finally had the closure I yearned for.

I put my right hand on the coffin and tapped it thrice. The white coffin seemed like an irony because with the pain he caused, a colour so pure shouldn’t be found anywhere close to him. He should be wrapped in black clothes and be put in a black coffin so it would ease his journey to hell.

On my way back to my car, someone grabbed me fiercely and turned me around. It was my mum and she was crying.

“Kelvin? Is this truly you? How can this be you?” One of her hands were over her mouth in disbelief and she kept touching me over and over again with her free hand as though to convince herself it was really me.

“It’s me, mum. How have you been?” I asked her. Apart from her swollen face that she got from too much crying, she looked well. She had lost weight, her skin was now wrinkled especially the ones around her eyes and under her chin and she seemed to have lost at least an inch of height.

She looked at me again for some seconds before she held my large frame in her little arms. I hugged her back but her arms didn’t feel familiar, instead, it felt uncomfortable. Maybe it was because we never really hugged even when I was still with them.

“Where have you been? It’s been fifteen years. Where did you go to? Why did you run off?” she said when she pulled away from the hug.

“I had to go. Let’s forget about it,” I swore never to talk to her again. She was part of my ugly past, a past I never wanted to remember, but she was here now and I couldn't just run off.

“How should I forget about all that? You were fifteen and you left. Peter and I looked for you for days, weeks and even months,” she shouted at me while she poked me on my chest with her bony index finger.

“Mum, I really don’t want to talk about it now,” I said. I was already fuming inside but I just kept clenching and unclenching my fists like Doctor James, my therapist told me to do anytime I got angry.

“You are so selfish. You were my only child. Do you know how much pain you made me and Peter go through,” she said and that was when I tore apart. It was so heartbreaking that she had to bring Peter's name into every sentence she said. She still depended on him, even after his death.

“Spare me all that! You were worried? All the time I wanted you to worry, did you? Dad died and all you seemed to care about after that, was the rich man you married. You forgot you had a son. And Peter was never worried about me. He just missed fucking me!” A crowd had formed around us but the faces blurred when I looked at them.

“What are you talking about?” Mum’s voice was now softer and her face was pulled into a frown, showing her confusion.

“You are so oblivious, aren’t you? All this while, I hoped you were just heartless but now I know you were ignorant. And that is just worse because your only job as my mother was to know. You were there and Peter came to my room every night and raped me for three fucking years!”

“I-I-I didn’t k-know,” Mum stuttered.

“Oh, I know and that’s why I am sorry for you. You failed as a mother and I feel pity for you,” I said and walked away from her and the people surrounding us into my car.

When I got into my car, I looked back at her and she was standing so still that she looked like a statue. I came here with hopes to get closure from one monster but I ended up getting it from the two monsters that plagued my mind. As I sped off, I felt the ghosts in me leaving as the smoke from my car’s exhaust pipe left. I was free at last.

13 thoughts on “Nigerian Short Story: Freedom at Thirty.”

  1. I don’t know how you do it but you never dissapoint. I like that the story has a very different subject matter from what we read here everyday. We should try to buckle up, when we hear abuse, we shouldn’t think of the female gender alone.
    Thanks for a brilliant story, keep it up!

  2. Wawu!

    Girl this is very detailed and vivid.
    This happens in our very own society because the male child is always neglected unlike the female child. Parents should learn talk to their children regardless of their gender.
    Great story..

  3. Girl you’re so good
    You’re simply art itself, the way you make readers visualise in their minds what you scribbled in your story is just amazing.
    Keep it up

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