I could hear the whispers and the words, that he(the priest) mumbled; and how he got the bows and solemn reply of the scanty gathering of friends and families. She was gone, finally gone; I should be at least relieved, it’s what I had always wanted, that she disappears from existence and quit pestering me.
She was my step mother(Joanne), one that anyone would easily denote(she is evil).
She was one reason my family met the bulwark in its era of fruitfulness, she stole the love my father had for my biological mother, and when death finalized the deal and snatched my mother from my arms, she stepped in to fill the gap. Don’t fret about this, because I blamed her for every misfortune, and when she couldn’t bare children, I was silently happy within me, concluding that God had decided to punish her evil doing. Her love for my Dad was forbidden, was rotten. I couldn’t bare to see her kiss him good morning, or a kiss to wish him well at work. I would burn inside, sprouting in secret and wished evilly that she slumps and die.
I wondered what my father saw in her, she was from Thailand, another reason to hate her. And for the record, she was a prostitute before she got married to a American police officer; her direct ticket to American, where she snatched my father, right after she lost her husband to the grim of death.
On the wedding day, I bluntly refused to shoulder the little groom, I tore the suit to pieces, even if it warranted a resounding slap from my dad, I didn’t care…The deed had been done, and it so pleased me. But it didn’t stop the wedding, she became my step mom and God knows I wished I was offered to the orphanage home.
I got prepared to he victimized, maltreated and treated like trash. But surprisingly, it was the opposite, she was strangely nice. At first, I fathomed it would last for a couple of days or probably extend to weeks, but it went on like that, she constantly tried to reach out to me but I locked her out.
“You killed my mum you witch”
I said to her one day when I came back from school, she didn’t lash at me, instead, she shut her eyes and allowed a tear drop.
“I am sorry Terry”
I felt she feigned the tears. I got angry even more, like why would she pry Into my perfect family and ruin everything?.
I feared she might report my lackadaisical attitude to my Dad. He would surely lash at me and probably pull out one of my tooth, or two, depends on the adrenaline that would burn.
But she kept it between us. It infuriated me still, why would she do that? she is trying to set a trap for me? she can’t be trusted.
Occasionally, I caught her crying, one night I could hear her whisper in agony
“Lord, heal my pain”
She was in pain? Well serves her right…she is being punished for stealing my father…
“Lord, Grant me a child, just one”
I heard her in agony again, I had arrived late from a friend’s party, and smartly stole from my window, and then I saw her, seated on bare tiles, her back against the wall, hands in her palm, tears that soaked her clothes.
The sight irritated me, I felt she wanted me to look bad or something, it wasn’t convincing enough, I concluded that she has to suffer for the pain she caused.
She stood up for me, sometimes against my Dad, my neighbors and teachers in school. And when I was ready to get married, I didn’t introduce my wife to her, she didn’t mind, she did everything in her power to see that we had the perfect wedding ceremony. Jessie, my wife, asked one day
“What did she ever do to you, can’t you forgive her? All she has done is being caring and sacrificial to you, she has been patient, she has…”
The slap that nearly rend my marriage was what I smacked against her face. Although I apologized and healed up the wound I inflicted, I strictly warned that the issue of my evil step mother, be buried never to raise its ugly head.
Flora, our first child graced the world, and Joanne was there to support again, she often came around to the house, I reluctantly allowed her stay the night to take care of Flora, reasons being that; Flora was a child that made it compulsory that we stay awake all night. And so, when I agreed she stay the night and take care of Flora, it was too punish her again.
Ferdinand and Mary, together with Flora took my step mom as a golden egg.
They would cry and wail when I deny them a week without seeing my step mother. It troubled me, and there I go thinking she had bewitched them somehow. Jessie would steal out with the kids to see Joanne, even when she knew I would rain cats and dogs if I ever found out.
It was 3years after Mary’s birth that she was diagnosed with an incurable cancer, one that she had nursed from teenage age. It struck me like lightening. That was the reason she couldn’t conceive. And why she cried most times because of the pain the disease inflicted on her.
My conscience pricked me when I refused to see at the hospital, could this be another trick? She is acting up? So I would pity and eventually get to like her? Impossible, I won’t fall for this trap.
“Honey, at least say hi to her, don’t be this heartless”
Jessie beckoned, but I wouldn’t oblige, I can’t be fooled.
Finally, after one month, I took the bold step to visit her at the hospital. I resolved to put an end to her charade.
I was meters from her Ward when my wife and children came out crying, my wife had a letter in her hands, one that she handed over to me.
I rushed into the ward, she was covered up in a white cloth.
“Get up Joanne, I won’t fall for this trap”
I said with a gesture, but she didn’t respond. With shaky hands I drew the cloth down, the sudden pain of reality shot down my spine, she was gone, she was dead.
With shaky hands I opened the letter.
It had just four words, four words that brought hot tears down my eyes, one that tore my heart out.
“I love you Terry”
And now I watched as she lay 6feet beneath the earth, I understood all the pain she went thru now, the unsatisfied life she lived as a prostitute, the pain she felt when she lost her first husband… The pain she had been through all these years, the pain the cancer had inflicted, the pain of not having her own children, the pain that I was never the son she wished she had.
I had been so foolish, so heartless and unreasonable, she did nothing but love me…and all her life, she desired to be loved in return.
Tears rolled down uncontrollably once again, one that Jessie and my kids couldn’t sooth with all their efforts put together, one that my father’s anger at me melted at once, one that wished it could turn back the hands of time. And all I could mutter in the midst of the hurt that pained my heart was
“I am sorry mum, I am sorry, please forgive me”
©onyeneke Abel .November 2017 all rights reserved.
Moral lesson: Don’t be quick to Judge, don’t hesitate to forgive…the person you hate without a reason, has been your backbone, who knows?…who knows what they have been thru just for your sake…
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