MY MOTHER WAS MY FATHER: MEMOIRS OF A FATHERLESS CHILD (PART I)
June is my dead mother’s birthday month, during the past week I stumbled onto this piece/article, from a series I wrote sometime after she died some five-six years ago, the year I finished high school, just thought I should share it… and yes I realize now just how much I have daddy issues, dreadful.
As was the custom when growing up from when I could to my primary school years I would eat then go play. It was the only rule I knew, I would only go home when my digestive system would report a decline in my energy levels. I would then make my way home anticipating the evening meal with all my might. It was on one of these days, aged either 6 or 7 then, I met my mother on my way home. It had been a hectic session I remember I was dirtier than a street kid and far away from home, naturally she would have looked for a good stick and beat me for rendezvousing that far from home or atleast a scolding, but my fears were played down when she smiled at me; an unusual smile one she used on rare occasions like when my sister had ‘surprisingly’ passed her exams e.t.c…. I relaxed. She was nicely dressed, unemployed at the time so it only left two options, someone’s funeral or weirdly a wedding or any other occasion were family members would meet to gossip about other family members.
‘Mama oa kae?’ – mom where are you going?
‘Kea merapelong’ (memorial service) she said in her usual careless manner
I then as usual asked if I may tag along and she said no, citing just how solemn funerals were and not a place for children, she kneeled down, wet her scarf with her spit and worked on my face, no child of hers would walk around looking that dirty. I wrestled out of her grip, she laughed.
‘ke batla go tsamaya (but I want to go.)’ at this point tears filled my eyes.
She firmly said no, I understood that meant we are to talk about it no more…
We start walking separate directions, I ask absent mindedly ‘ke loso laga mang? (who died)’
‘Moemedi’ she said
‘Moemedi?’ I asked shocked ‘ene ntate? (my father?)’
‘ee! Ene Moemedi. Rrago (Yes! Moemedi your father.)’ she said as she went her way, leaving me rooted on the same spot, confused. Had she really told me my father was dead? I stood there void of any real emotion, I realized I did not even remember his face, did he even know my name?
I was young then like I said, 6-7 years old, much of the confusion emanated from the fact that I did not really know what to feel for this stranger. Can you mourn a man you hardly knew? Can you not mourn a man who fathered you? Did people not cry for their fathers?