The Importance of a Mother by Paidamoyo Gerald Manomano
The importance of a mother.
“Rizi my son (hic). Don’t worry, everything will be alright (hic),I will take care of you and your sisters; I will buy you new clothes, I will (hic)buy you presents on your birthdays, I will take you to Victoria Falls, in fact all you need (hic) just ask.” My father said between alcohol induced hiccups. He was treating me like a man in front of my two sisters.
“You mean anything Baba?” Roma our middle sister asked him.
“Yes, just ask. I have worked so hard for you my children, I will do anything to see you happy!” He took a swig and belched.
“How about bringing Mama back?” Roma had guts.
We caught our breath, and waited for an explosion;
“Never!” My father banged the table with his fist.
“What makes you think you can ask me that? If you want your mother you are free to follow her!” And with those words, my father had sealed the conversation.
Mama is gone.
Gone with my favourite song,
A song she composed for me;
You are My King,
I worship you My Hero,
You are My joy maker,
Pride of My eyes
I love you my Son.
“Since Mama has been away you have been coming home late. In fact your behaviour is becoming worse.” Kiri, our elder sister was addressing Roma
“Don’t even go there, you are not my mother.” Roma spat the words with venom.
“You keep saying; ‘since mother has been away’ as if she is coming back. Stick it in your head that Mama is never coming back.” Roma said.
Kiri started crying.
“Mama why did you go away? Leaving me with this burden?” Kiri said between sobs.
Roma looked at me and rolled her eyes.
Since you were gone Mama;
We have stopped praying.
We have lost community respect.
We have forgotten your teachings.
We have stopped valuing ourselves.
We no longer have self confidence.
“Kiri is pregnant!” Roma told me between cigarette puffs, a habit she had started after Mama had left.
“Baba is going to have fits.” I said.
“Is that all you can say? I wish he dies of them.” Roma said meaning every word. She used to be an innocent grade 10 school girl. Not anymore since Mama was gone.
Mama left with Roma’s innocence.
“But how did that happen, who is the father?” I asked.
“If you get to know who the father is and how it happened will that unpregnant her?” Roma has always been the practical one of the three of us.
“I guess nobody told her about contraceptives.” Roma said blowing smoking rings into the air.
“And you, for how long do you think you will keep on absconding school?” Roma asked me.
Yes, since Mama was gone, I have been pretending going to school just to fool our father and the neighbours.
“Since when have you become the manager of my business? Last time I checked you are not running yours so well.” She was not my mother after all.
“It’s your future my friend.” Roma said.
“Very fat coming from you.” I retorted back.
“Then we are just fine.” She said ending the conversation, better that way.
Mama, there are bullies at school,
I don’t want to go there anymore, they eat my food, they beat me and they insult me.
Father said I was a sissy and that I should wear a skirt.
He said I should’ve gone with you.
I wish I had.
Mama, since you have gone nobody has told me that I am handsome.
“Prisoner D2115!” That’s my number right. Here they call me with a number. They don’t care about the name my Mother gave me.
“You have a visitor.” The Warden says.
Could it be her?
Will she recognise me?
Stupid me, Will she ever come back?
“Yoh Reezy, heard they’re freeing you?” Gentle Giant asked in his slow and calm voice.
“In your dreams Giant…”
“Move!” The Warden interrupts us.
Roma is my visitor.
“The outfit suits you well, was it tailor made?” She says referring to my prison uniform
“You look amazing in yours.” I tell her, she is prisoner number was FM217. We are serving our sentences at the same prison. Though females have their own facility. Roma was sentenced 15 years, she will only serve 8 of them inside. Myself will serve 6 out of an 11 year sentence.
Kiri is in psychiatric facility, she is damaged goods.
Yes Mama, we murdered Baba, our father. He had lost his upstairs.
He had committed an act of abomination.
Kiri the protector, Kiri the mother, Kiri the child.
“Baba came into my room on five occasions.” Kiri had told us when Roma had put pressure on her to tell us who had made her pregnant.
“And he he he …” She started.
“You are not serious, are you Kiri?” Roma asked, the anger in her voice was contagious.
“He said if I tell anybody he will kill me and you guys…” She cried some more.
“Shush Sis, it will be alright.” Roma said hugging Kiri tightly.
“I had to protect you and Rizi, I am sorry guys…” Kiri couldn’t control her tears.
“Everything will just be alright.” Roma said. She was wrong though.
Me and Roma laced Baba’s food with rat poison. We watched him die Ma.
“I didn’t know that a prisoner is allowed to visit another prisoner.” I’m saying to Roma.
“Good to see you too my brother.” Roma says.
“It’s good to see you Roma.” I mean it.
“Anyways, I have not so good news hey.” Roma’s eyes blinked away tears. I had never seen Roma crying, even during our trial and sentencing.
She even looked relaxed.
“It’s about Kiri, she committed suicide last night.” Roma said.
I am crying.
We are crying.
I can’t hug my sister back she is so, near yet so far away…
If you were only here Ma.
How I wish you never left Ma.