Not every girl has many fathers.
Before John drove out of mother’s heart, he left me those words. They stayed – an arrow I shoot at whoever thinks mother gave us too many fathers. Mother.
Mother is the woman a baby thinks she knows while inside her until the water breaks. She learns mother is both man and woman. That scares her, till mother crawls under her skin and sheds herself inside her. And mother’s voice, she learns comes nothing like her soft chocolate skin. Mother’s voice is a lion’s. And the language she speaks is what she must. Mother roars.
The first day I heard mother roar, my hands were in my first fathers’. She had charged at us, snatched my arm. I broke a bone. And she roared. That poor man, he bled from his mouth.
“You are a lioness! Why did I marry you?”
“Why did you?!”
Mother’s ring was on his finger. I knew from then that when mother roars, keep the blood from pouring through your mouth. Let it swim back till she finds the voice of a human. She rarely did. Except with my third father.
John is the man mother will stay with the longest. The man she would lose her lion voice to. The man in whose eyes when mother looked, I saw how many screams she swallowed at night to roar. John was the man you call gentleman. I learnt the word because of him.
“John, he’s a gentleman.”
Mother showed off one of the bracelets he dumped in our home from his travels.
“John is considerate, caring, brings out the best in me and the girls. He is a gentleman. Too much of a gentleman. But a gentleman.”
This one was to Grandma. Mother’s eyes was a mirage. Look past, you’ll come upon the dream she is having. John is on his knees, asking her. You shall beg her to wake up. Sooner.
She woke up the fourth day after falling in front of the car that had John’s bride. I couldn’t understand why she smiled. She beams when I walk into the room. I beam too. She dozes off, and I cry. I am afraid. This was not my mother.
“I have changed?”
She turned one night as I scrubbed the swell under my eyes.
“Have you not?”
I thought I shall not pretend. Let mother find her roar and carry it down her heart into her throat. Let me hear her, again. She did not roar.
“I have allowed my other self out.”
“Your other selves? Mother?”
I felt for my phone.
“And put down that phone you’re planning to ring Doctor Ansong with.”
She roared. A little. I found comfort.
“I only want you to know all of your mother.”
Her tears were the waters I had never seen all my eighteen years. I had no arrows to split them from her heart with. The mirage appeared. I looked past. I saw all my three fathers.
I hope you enjoyed this short story. I pitched it for an AFREADA competition months back. I didn’t make the shortlist but I was glad I took the challenge. I have some other news. I’ve withdrawn When Love Stays, the ongoing fiction series from the blog. Plotting and writing is getting difficult. I’m sorry not to be sharing Sule and Dzidzor and Kate and Kwaku and Sefa and Freda’s journeys with you any longer. Forgive me. I’ll be posting weekly however.Thank you. I love you. A lovely mid-week Y’all.
PS. A great great storyteller on here has a super great story ongoing so go check that out. It’s MARRY ME on www.joseyphina.wordpress.com. *In a whisper* Thank me later
©Awo Twumwaah 2018.