My father had an accident a day after I completed JHS. He lost one leg and now uses crutches. Before the accident, he and my mother didn’t have the best of relationship but they always had a way of ironing their differences. They are not the kind of couple who will sit and talk and laugh and make jokes. My dad was always straight to the point. My mom was always at her side of the house. I was the one they were tossing around. When they had a fight and they were not talking, I was the one they used as their medium of communication. Dad will say, “Go and ask your mother where he placed my trousers.” Mom will say, “Tell your dad I don’t wear his trousers with him.”
I remember one day I found my mom crying in a corner. Dad wasn’t around so I was wondering who could make her cry at that moment. I didn’t ask her anything. She started ranting, “I’m tired. I’m tired of everything. I’m growing old all because of overthinking.” Then she concluded, “Had it not been you, I would have left long ago.”
That wasn’t the first time she was saying that. She said it anytime she narrated her problems to me. I love my dad and I love my mom too. They were all doing their best until my dad had the accident and lost a greater part of his mobility. He lost his job due to the accident. They promised to give him another job in the company to suit his current situation but that promise never materialized. He had been home since. That means, all the responsibility now is on my mother. The company pays my dad a stipend. It’s not even enough to buy his own drugs so my mom had been in the tick of affairs since my dad’s situation got worse.
When my school results came, I did very well. I should have been happy but I was scared my mom wouldn’t have the resources to send me to school. Somehow, she did. And I’ve been in school since until now that I’m about to complete school.
When I was in my second year, My mom visited me in school with a certain man she introduce to me as Mr. Agyei. She said, “This man lives around town. When I have to send you something and I’m not able to come, I will send it through him. He lives close to the school so he’ll visit you often when he can.” The man smiled at me and said, “Look at her, she looks exactly like you.” My mom answered girlishly, “I took my time to weave her in my womb.” They both laughed. The man told me, “Take my number. Whenever you need something, just call me and I will come around.”
I was happy about two things; Mom was laughing again. It had been so long since I saw her wearing the faintest smile. That day she laughed and tapped the man continuously. Again, I was happy to find someone who could be there for my need. It was tough for dad so any help could go a long way.”
One afternoon, Mr. Agyei passed by. He said he had closed from work and decide to come and see me. He brought me food and added money to it. He said, “Learn hard and pass. If you do well, it will be easier for mom to push you further.” He went away. Another time, he came around with mom. They brought me food and money. I was happy. A few weeks afterward, they came to visit again. Their visit became rampant and mostly unplanned. I will be there one day and someone will come and call me that I have a visitor. I will go and it’ll be either my mom, Mr. Agyei, or both of them.
Mom spoke very little of my dad. When I asked about him, She will say something like, “Your father? Ogugu hɔ.” Meaning, my dad was just there and about. I could feel the disconnect between them but it had always been like that so I didn’t give it much care. When I was home on vacation, I did my best to get closer to my dad and offered him companionship. He enjoyed it. I was the only thing left for him.
One evening I was in town with my friends when I saw my mom and Mr. Agyei entering a shop. The time I saw them didn’t look like they were coming to visit me. I wanted to approach them but then they’ll ask what I was doing in town so I swerved them. The next day was Saturday. I waited, thinking they will come and visit. They didn’t come. I called my dad on phone and after talking to him for some minutes, I asked, “Where is mom?” He said, “One man from her hometown died so she said she was going to the funeral. She went yesterday so hopefully, she’ll be home by Sunday.” I got the drift. I needed no other evidence to draw the conclusion that there was something going on between the man and my mom.
The next day, they came to visit. The spark on my mother’s face was brand new. It was bigger and larger than I’d ever seen. Even her dressing had changed. First time in so many years, my mom had makeup on her face. They stayed with me for a while and left. According to my dad, my mom got home on Monday morning. The whole thing started getting me scared and confused. I thought about it often. I started losing weight. I couldn’t learn. My dad needs my mom more than he had ever done. The last time I was home, I saw my dad going to the store with my mom and returning with her in the evening. I was happy to see that he was not wallowing in sorrows. So why would my mom do that to him just when he was coming out of his shell?
I’ve started writing my final exams. I can’t shake the thought off my head. I’m scared I will finish school, go home and meet a burning house. So when my mom was here the last time, I asked her, “Is he your boyfriend?” She laughed at me. She said, “Why will you think like that? How did you know about boyfriends? I hope you’re not having one.” She did everything within her power to escape my question but I’m not a child any longer. I know what a spade is so I won’t call it a big spoon. She’s dating that man. She thought I might not know but I do. Now my question is, how do I get her to stop since it’s making me feel bad? Should I tell my dad? What should I say or do to make her leave the man and concentrate only on my sick father?