Short Story: The left side of the sun

by Okwuanya Tochukwu-Vincent

She was surprised that she just allowed her pass her in their ground level living room without stopping her for noisome interrogations as she came into the house that morning. She merely glanced at her black leather watch and followed her, not judging or indulging in her warped scrupulousity.

Not a word.

Her shoulders were bent and she seemed to be shuffling herself forward by the sheer force of will. Her black head tie was askew and was kept rather than tied on her hair. Her all-night worries had replaced her all-night vigil as she waited for her through the night.

She had called her through the night too, over fifty times and most probably during intermittent prayers offered for her safe return but she had not picked. She often told her gory tales about ransome kidnappings and ritualistic abductions often calling out to her when one of the channels on their big plasma television starts airing the missing persons. It worked well for her if the missing person was a girl. But today, she did not talk, she just trailed her silently, with her flip-flops and pink oversized pyjamas.

Before now she would have started proselytizing.

“Lying is a sin my daughter. It is the fastest way to hell fire” Her mother would tell her even when she was just saying the truth.

“Sex is a sin. It is the fastest way to hell fire” She would tell her before she goes back to her boarding school.

“Alcoholism is a sin it is the fastest way to hell fire” She would say despite the bars in their two parlours and some of the refrigerators in some of the many rooms in their duplex having their own stock of assorted alcohols ranging from wines, spirits and beers.

There were so many “fastest way” to hell fire that Barbara had lost count. It may be because the road to hell was biblically very broad and tarred and was free-flowing that it was consequently called “The Fast Lane”. This was in contrast to the road to heaven which was so narrow that a horse could only pass through it with a great deal of discomfort.

Whenever she dared to ask a question about the “fastest ways” to hell or indeed question any of her mother’s beliefs, she would reprimand her by raising another in her long list of sins.

“Talking back at your mother is a sin. The Bible did ask you to honor your mother so that your days will be long.” The word “father” was conspicuous by its absence and hangs like the Sword of Damocles over them. Barbara was never going to correct her mother’s intentional error and her mother was not inclined to acknowledge it.

She had always been that way since she had known her. She had always despised her for not having the strength and will-power to fight, if not for herself then for the future of her two children. She was undoubtedly waiting for eternity to damn his husband to the perpetual lake of fire that burns with sulphur and brimstone while she condemns her daughter to an earthly hell.

For the many times her mother had resorted to her abusive tirades to keep a desperate hold of her evanescing sanity, Barbara, a daughter she had named Chinwoke, had one question hanging on the tip of her tongue like droplets of water hanging at the apex of the fresh green leaves on a dewy morning, scared of dropping to the filthy earth. Like the droplets of water too, Barbara was scared of accumulating yet another sin in the grimy world of her mother where her every turn is a sin. Yet, she found it impossible to please her mother who as soon as she was fourteen and had gone to live inside the boarding school, had started holding confessions almost akin to the Catholic sacramental confession for her inside their duplex. The only thing lacking was a hassock, a flowing white soutane and a stole for her mother.

“How many sins did you commit while in school? How many parties did you attend? How many boys fondled your breast?” She would ask suspiciously as soon as she came back for the holidays. Often looking her over frantically as she supervised.

Her breast developed faster than that of the rest of her peers. She had started fitting it into regular adult bras as early as her fourteenth year and her mother was somehow convinced like most boys allbeit erroneously that breasts grow when they are regularly fondled and that hips expand with steady sex.

Her commandments as well as her interrogations came in the same manner, in soft dulcet tones but which remains at a perpetual variance with her facial features and the intrinsic message. She would scowl, her cheeks puffed out, her hazel brown eyes narrowing like that of a wild cat before it pounces. And she had often pounced on her. Often.

Not necessarily physically, but definitely mentally.

She was often forced by her mother to read some biblical passages aloud. They are usually penitential verses like Psalm 51 and she would often compel her to read it repetitiously for a specified length of time which was never less than an hour, depending on her disposition.

Some days before her 17th birthday, Her mother once demanded a confession before she would call her her daughter again. Her mother continued to pray unceasingly everyday during that “trial” period while Barbara clung desperately to the last vestiges of her sanity She overtly made her the “prayer point” with her black scarf sometimes fastidiously tied over her thinning hair and other times nonchalantly replaced with a handkerchief perched over her head unconvincingly like a bird was wont to perch on an overhead electric wire. She cried sometimes, throwing herself down at the cold hard floor in the upstairs’ living room which she had converted to her monastery. She did not speak to her for three days.

On the fourth day, tired and missing her mother, she had confessed to having sex with a boy he had made up despite the fact she was a virgin then.

Her mother had cried again that night, not in pain but in victory. She had finally received a confession from a repentant sinner. Laying her hands over her, she had thanked the Almighty God for giving her the opportunity to win souls for him. She rebaptized her with her tears and hugged her through the night.

However in Barbara’s mind it had registered, the only way she could have a loving relationship with her mother was if she became her conversion “project”. What her mother loved more than her daughter was a sinful daughter, was one of the lessons she learned that night, locked in her embrace. Another lesson was that lying may lead one to hell in the afterlife, but in this life, it can also save one from a life of alienation, frustration and poverty. The second lesson was reinforced in the next morning when her mother gave her a gift for the first time in her life. It was a King James Version of the Bible and was just another of the twenty-something Bibles in their house but she did not mind. it was a great start.

Afterwards, Barbara had gone out of her way to be as bad as she can be and after each occasion and her confession, her mother would welcome her with open arms, take her into her bosom and cry with her through the night. She would keep reiterating to her through the night that tell God is an unconditional lover.

She agreed. God is an unconditional lover except when one is a homosexual or a liar or a thief or an alcoholic or a drug addict or a fornicator or an adulterer. Through such nights of morbid mother-daughter bonding, her mother often cried more between the both of them, her tears bathing her back as she hugged her a little too tight. They were tears of relief and of memories. Deep into the night when she stirred, she would see her mother sitting up on the bed reading a portion of the scripture with the bedside lamp turned a bit lower than was healthy for the eyes.

Her innocent mind could not fathom then that maybe her mother may not just be trying to exorcise the demons in the present life of her only daughter, she may be trying to exorcise the demons in her own past.

In her innocence and in a frantic but ill-advised pursuit of her mother’s attention she had embraced the “fast lane” to her lifelong damnation. She was disvirgined forcefully in her eighteenth year.

She was raped by a masked man whose identity was only unravelled at his orgasmic abandon, a face that would forever haunt her dreams unforgivably.

She blamed her mother and as long as she could not forgive her rapist as long as the sun rises from the east and sets in the west, she would never forgive her mother. In a bid to take her to heaven in the afterlife, she had condemned her to hell in this life.

In the present, five years later, she was content in giving her a hell of her own. She changed her name and started answering to Barbara, a name she had chosen because it sounded alien to her environment; precisely how she felt.

“May I come into your room? I want us to talk”

“No Anna…I don’t feel like talking to you or anyone” She said dismissively fishing out her keys from the pockets of the tight black midi shorts she wore for emphasis. She saw her mother’s eyes stray to her pink crop top and disapprovingly at her navel piercing adorned with diamond-studden silver ear rings.

“Will you ever call me mother again?” She asked in a plaintive, teary voice, clasping her hands into her right palm and her glazed eyes rolled up in supplication like that of a dog expecting a treat. Barbara was taller than her mother and could see that her hair was dishevelled and the black scarf was dropped on her head rather than tied meticulously. Her eyes were red and puffy. She had not had enough sleep. That realisation oddly made her happy and sad at the same time.

“Anna…please I had a long night” She unlocked the clasped fingers one after another. Free, she turned away briskly, her long silvery earrings jingling in her wake. She walked away from her mother and started climbing the stairs to her room, her soft-soled wedge shoes barely making a sound on the flight of stairs, behind her, her mother trailed, she could confirm this because her flip-flops clicked on the tiled floors and tapped on her heels.

“Where did you sleep last night”

She ignored the question. She felt no obligation to answer her.

“My daughter…” She rushed the stairs to catch up with her, slightly panting she asked Barbara “Did you sleep in a hotel again?”

“Yes” She answered bluntly not even pausing her steps. She could almost hear her flinch.

“Did you sleep with a man?” The tension in her voice was palpable, her mind already dreading the answer she would definitely hear.

“If that is all you want to know, I did not sleep with a man” Her mother heaved a sigh of relief.

“You know my daughter, as a 22 year old, you should not…”

“Anna, I slept with a woman” Barbara interposed, hurling the words down like thunderbolts from her height in the stairs to her mother trailing below her, as she took a left turn towards her room.

She could hear her mother’s sharp breath echoing off the walls of the duplex as the words struck her. She stood in front of her door, inserted the key into the keyhole but did not open it. The key dangled in front of the door as she heard her mother cry “Chi m egbu o mu o”. Her tears were not that of victory anymore, it was that of anguish.

In front of her door, Barbara sat down, resting her back on the sturdy wooden door, she let loose her own pangs in a torrent of tears; silent, excruciating and helpless.

She was surprised that she just allowed her pass her in their ground level living room without stopping her for noisome interrogations as she came into the house that morning. She merely glanced at her black leather watch and followed her, not judging or indulging in her warped scrupulousity.

Not a word.

Her shoulders were bent and she seemed to be shuffling herself forward by the sheer force of will. Her black head tie was askew and was kept rather than tied on her hair. Her all-night worries had replaced her all-night vigil as she waited for her through the night.

She had called her through the night too, over fifty times and most probably during intermittent prayers offered for her safe return but she had not picked. She often told her gory tales about ransome kidnappings and ritualistic abductions often calling out to her when one of the channels on their big plasma television starts airing the missing persons. It worked well for her if the missing person was a girl. But today, she did not talk, she just trailed her silently, with her flip-flops and pink oversized pyjamas.

Before now she would have started proselytizing.

“Lying is a sin my daughter. It is the fastest way to hell fire” Her mother would tell her even when she was just saying the truth.

“Sex is a sin. It is the fastest way to hell fire” She would tell her before she goes back to her boarding school.

“Alcoholism is a sin it is the fastest way to hell fire” She would say despite the bars in their two parlours and some of the refrigerators in some of the many rooms in their duplex having their own stock of assorted alcohols ranging from wines, spirits and beers.

There were so many “fastest way” to hell fire that Barbara had lost count. It may be because the road to hell was biblically very broad and tarred and was free-flowing that it was consequently called “The Fast Lane”. This was in contrast to the road to heaven which was so narrow that a horse could only pass through it with a great deal of discomfort.

Whenever she dared to ask a question about the “fastest ways” to hell or indeed question any of her mother’s beliefs, she would reprimand her by raising another in her long list of sins.

“Talking back at your mother is a sin. The Bible did ask you to honor your mother so that your days will be long.” The word “father” was conspicuous by its absence and hangs like the Sword of Damocles over them. Barbara was never going to correct her mother’s intentional error and her mother was not inclined to acknowledge it.

She had always been that way since she had known her. She had always despised her for not having the strength and will-power to fight, if not for herself then for the future of her two children. She was undoubtedly waiting for eternity to damn his husband to the perpetual lake of fire that burns with sulphur and brimstone while she condemns her daughter to an earthly hell.

For the many times her mother had resorted to her abusive tirades to keep a desperate hold of her evanescing sanity, Barbara, a daughter she had named Chinwoke, had one question hanging on the tip of her tongue like droplets of water hanging at the apex of the fresh green leaves on a dewy morning, scared of dropping to the filthy earth. Like the droplets of water too, Barbara was scared of accumulating yet another sin in the grimy world of her mother where her every turn is a sin. Yet, she found it impossible to please her mother who as soon as she was fourteen and had gone to live inside the boarding school, had started holding confessions almost akin to the Catholic sacramental confession for her inside their duplex. The only thing lacking was a hassock, a flowing white soutane and a stole for her mother.

“How many sins did you commit while in school? How many parties did you attend? How many boys fondled your breast?” She would ask suspiciously as soon as she came back for the holidays. Often looking her over frantically as she supervised.

Her breast developed faster than that of the rest of her peers. She had started fitting it into regular adult bras as early as her fourteenth year and her mother was somehow convinced like most boys allbeit erroneously that breasts grow when they are regularly fondled and that hips expand with steady sex.

Her commandments as well as her interrogations came in the same manner, in soft dulcet tones but which remains at a perpetual variance with her facial features and the intrinsic message. She would scowl, her cheeks puffed out, her hazel brown eyes narrowing like that of a wild cat before it pounces. And she had often pounced on her. Often.

Not necessarily physically, but definitely mentally.

She was often forced by her mother to read some biblical passages aloud. They are usually penitential verses like Psalm 51 and she would often compel her to read it repetitiously for a specified length of time which was never less than an hour, depending on her disposition.

Some days before her 17th birthday, Her mother once demanded a confession before she would call her her daughter again. Her mother continued to pray unceasingly everyday during that “trial” period while Barbara clung desperately to the last vestiges of her sanity She overtly made her the “prayer point” with her black scarf sometimes fastidiously tied over her thinning hair and other times nonchalantly replaced with a handkerchief perched over her head unconvincingly like a bird was wont to perch on an overhead electric wire. She cried sometimes, throwing herself down at the cold hard floor in the upstairs’ living room which she had converted to her monastery. She did not speak to her for three days.

On the fourth day, tired and missing her mother, she had confessed to having sex with a boy he had made up despite the fact she was a virgin then.

Her mother had cried again that night, not in pain but in victory. She had finally received a confession from a repentant sinner. Laying her hands over her, she had thanked the Almighty God for giving her the opportunity to win souls for him. She rebaptized her with her tears and hugged her through the night.

However in Barbara’s mind it had registered, the only way she could have a loving relationship with her mother was if she became her conversion “project”. What her mother loved more than her daughter was a sinful daughter, was one of the lessons she learned that night, locked in her embrace. Another lesson was that lying may lead one to hell in the afterlife, but in this life, it can also save one from a life of alienation, frustration and poverty. The second lesson was reinforced in the next morning when her mother gave her a gift for the first time in her life. It was a King James Version of the Bible and was just another of the twenty-something Bibles in their house but she did not mind. it was a great start.

Afterwards, Barbara had gone out of her way to be as bad as she can be and after each occasion and her confession, her mother would welcome her with open arms, take her into her bosom and cry with her through the night. She would keep reiterating to her through the night that tell God is an unconditional lover.

She agreed. God is an unconditional lover except when one is a homosexual or a liar or a thief or an alcoholic or a drug addict or a fornicator or an adulterer. Through such nights of morbid mother-daughter bonding, her mother often cried more between the both of them, her tears bathing her back as she hugged her a little too tight. They were tears of relief and of memories. Deep into the night when she stirred, she would see her mother sitting up on the bed reading a portion of the scripture with the bedside lamp turned a bit lower than was healthy for the eyes.

Her innocent mind could not fathom then that maybe her mother may not just be trying to exorcise the demons in the present life of her only daughter, she may be trying to exorcise the demons in her own past.

In her innocence and in a frantic but ill-advised pursuit of her mother’s attention she had embraced the “fast lane” to her lifelong damnation. She was disvirgined forcefully in her eighteenth year.

She was raped by a masked man whose identity was only unravelled at his orgasmic abandon, a face that would forever haunt her dreams unforgivably.

She blamed her mother and as long as she could not forgive her rapist as long as the sun rises from the east and sets in the west, she would never forgive her mother. In a bid to take her to heaven in the afterlife, she had condemned her to hell in this life.

In the present, five years later, she was content in giving her a hell of her own. She changed her name and started answering to Barbara, a name she had chosen because it sounded alien to her environment; precisely how she felt.

“May I come into your room? I want us to talk”

“No Anna…I don’t feel like talking to you or anyone” She said dismissively fishing out her keys from the pockets of the tight black midi shorts she wore for emphasis. She saw her mother’s eyes stray to her pink crop top and disapprovingly at her navel piercing adorned with diamond-studden silver ear rings.

“Will you ever call me mother again?” She asked in a plaintive, teary voice, clasping her hands into her right palm and her glazed eyes rolled up in supplication like that of a dog expecting a treat. Barbara was taller than her mother and could see that her hair was dishevelled and the black scarf was dropped on her head rather than tied meticulously. Her eyes were red and puffy. She had not had enough sleep. That realisation oddly made her happy and sad at the same time.

“Anna…please I had a long night” She unlocked the clasped fingers one after another. Free, she turned away briskly, her long silvery earrings jingling in her wake. She walked away from her mother and started climbing the stairs to her room, her soft-soled wedge shoes barely making a sound on the flight of stairs, behind her, her mother trailed, she could confirm this because her flip-flops clicked on the tiled floors and tapped on her heels.

“Where did you sleep last night”

She ignored the question. She felt no obligation to answer her.

“My daughter…” She rushed the stairs to catch up with her, slightly panting she asked Barbara “Did you sleep in a hotel again?”

“Yes” She answered bluntly not even pausing her steps. She could almost hear her flinch.

“Did you sleep with a man?” The tension in her voice was palpable, her mind already dreading the answer she would definitely hear.

“If that is all you want to know, I did not sleep with a man” Her mother heaved a sigh of relief.

“You know my daughter, as a 22 year old, you should not…”

“Anna, I slept with a woman” Barbara interposed, hurling the words down like thunderbolts from her height in the stairs to her mother trailing below her, as she took a left turn towards her room.

She could hear her mother’s sharp breath echoing off the walls of the duplex as the words struck her. She stood in front of her door, inserted the key into the keyhole but did not open it. The key dangled in front of the door as she heard her mother cry “Chi m egbu o mu o”. Her tears were not that of victory anymore, it was that of anguish.

In front of her door, Barbara sat down, resting her back on the sturdy wooden door, she let loose her own pangs in a torrent of tears; silent, excruciating and helpless.

She was surprised that she just allowed her pass her in their ground level living room without stopping her for noisome interrogations as she came into the house that morning. She merely glanced at her black leather watch and followed her, not judging or indulging in her warped scrupulousity.

Not a word.

Her shoulders were bent and she seemed to be shuffling herself forward by the sheer force of will. Her black head tie was askew and was kept rather than tied on her hair. Her all-night worries had replaced her all-night vigil as she waited for her through the night.

She had called her through the night too, over fifty times and most probably during intermittent prayers offered for her safe return but she had not picked. She often told her gory tales about ransome kidnappings and ritualistic abductions often calling out to her when one of the channels on their big plasma television starts airing the missing persons. It worked well for her if the missing person was a girl. But today, she did not talk, she just trailed her silently, with her flip-flops and pink oversized pyjamas.

Before now she would have started proselytizing.

“Lying is a sin my daughter. It is the fastest way to hell fire” Her mother would tell her even when she was just saying the truth.

“Sex is a sin. It is the fastest way to hell fire” She would tell her before she goes back to her boarding school.

“Alcoholism is a sin it is the fastest way to hell fire” She would say despite the bars in their two parlours and some of the refrigerators in some of the many rooms in their duplex having their own stock of assorted alcohols ranging from wines, spirits and beers.

There were so many “fastest way” to hell fire that Barbara had lost count. It may be because the road to hell was biblically very broad and tarred and was free-flowing that it was consequently called “The Fast Lane”. This was in contrast to the road to heaven which was so narrow that a horse could only pass through it with a great deal of discomfort.

Whenever she dared to ask a question about the “fastest ways” to hell or indeed question any of her mother’s beliefs, she would reprimand her by raising another in her long list of sins.

“Talking back at your mother is a sin. The Bible did ask you to honor your mother so that your days will be long.” The word “father” was conspicuous by its absence and hangs like the Sword of Damocles over them. Barbara was never going to correct her mother’s intentional error and her mother was not inclined to acknowledge it.

She had always been that way since she had known her. She had always despised her for not having the strength and will-power to fight, if not for herself then for the future of her two children. She was undoubtedly waiting for eternity to damn his husband to the perpetual lake of fire that burns with sulphur and brimstone while she condemns her daughter to an earthly hell.

For the many times her mother had resorted to her abusive tirades to keep a desperate hold of her evanescing sanity, Barbara, a daughter she had named Chinwoke, had one question hanging on the tip of her tongue like droplets of water hanging at the apex of the fresh green leaves on a dewy morning, scared of dropping to the filthy earth. Like the droplets of water too, Barbara was scared of accumulating yet another sin in the grimy world of her mother where her every turn is a sin. Yet, she found it impossible to please her mother who as soon as she was fourteen and had gone to live inside the boarding school, had started holding confessions almost akin to the Catholic sacramental confession for her inside their duplex. The only thing lacking was a hassock, a flowing white soutane and a stole for her mother.

“How many sins did you commit while in school? How many parties did you attend? How many boys fondled your breast?” She would ask suspiciously as soon as she came back for the holidays. Often looking her over frantically as she supervised.

Her breast developed faster than that of the rest of her peers. She had started fitting it into regular adult bras as early as her fourteenth year and her mother was somehow convinced like most boys allbeit erroneously that breasts grow when they are regularly fondled and that hips expand with steady sex.

Her commandments as well as her interrogations came in the same manner, in soft dulcet tones but which remains at a perpetual variance with her facial features and the intrinsic message. She would scowl, her cheeks puffed out, her hazel brown eyes narrowing like that of a wild cat before it pounces. And she had often pounced on her. Often.

Not necessarily physically, but definitely mentally.

She was often forced by her mother to read some biblical passages aloud. They are usually penitential verses like Psalm 51 and she would often compel her to read it repetitiously for a specified length of time which was never less than an hour, depending on her disposition.

Some days before her 17th birthday, Her mother once demanded a confession before she would call her her daughter again. Her mother continued to pray unceasingly everyday during that “trial” period while Barbara clung desperately to the last vestiges of her sanity She overtly made her the “prayer point” with her black scarf sometimes fastidiously tied over her thinning hair and other times nonchalantly replaced with a handkerchief perched over her head unconvincingly like a bird was wont to perch on an overhead electric wire. She cried sometimes, throwing herself down at the cold hard floor in the upstairs’ living room which she had converted to her monastery. She did not speak to her for three days.

On the fourth day, tired and missing her mother, she had confessed to having sex with a boy he had made up despite the fact she was a virgin then.

Her mother had cried again that night, not in pain but in victory. She had finally received a confession from a repentant sinner. Laying her hands over her, she had thanked the Almighty God for giving her the opportunity to win souls for him. She rebaptized her with her tears and hugged her through the night.

However in Barbara’s mind it had registered, the only way she could have a loving relationship with her mother was if she became her conversion “project”. What her mother loved more than her daughter was a sinful daughter, was one of the lessons she learned that night, locked in her embrace. Another lesson was that lying may lead one to hell in the afterlife, but in this life, it can also save one from a life of alienation, frustration and poverty. The second lesson was reinforced in the next morning when her mother gave her a gift for the first time in her life. It was a King James Version of the Bible and was just another of the twenty-something Bibles in their house but she did not mind. it was a great start.

Afterwards, Barbara had gone out of her way to be as bad as she can be and after each occasion and her confession, her mother would welcome her with open arms, take her into her bosom and cry with her through the night. She would keep reiterating to her through the night that tell God is an unconditional lover.

She agreed. God is an unconditional lover except when one is a homosexual or a liar or a thief or an alcoholic or a drug addict or a fornicator or an adulterer. Through such nights of morbid mother-daughter bonding, her mother often cried more between the both of them, her tears bathing her back as she hugged her a little too tight. They were tears of relief and of memories. Deep into the night when she stirred, she would see her mother sitting up on the bed reading a portion of the scripture with the bedside lamp turned a bit lower than was healthy for the eyes.

Her innocent mind could not fathom then that maybe her mother may not just be trying to exorcise the demons in the present life of her only daughter, she may be trying to exorcise the demons in her own past.

In her innocence and in a frantic but ill-advised pursuit of her mother’s attention she had embraced the “fast lane” to her lifelong damnation. She was disvirgined forcefully in her eighteenth year.

She was raped by a masked man whose identity was only unravelled at his orgasmic abandon, a face that would forever haunt her dreams unforgivably.

She blamed her mother and as long as she could not forgive her rapist as long as the sun rises from the east and sets in the west, she would never forgive her mother. In a bid to take her to heaven in the afterlife, she had condemned her to hell in this life.

In the present, five years later, she was content in giving her a hell of her own. She changed her name and started answering to Barbara, a name she had chosen because it sounded alien to her environment; precisely how she felt.

“May I come into your room? I want us to talk”

“No Anna…I don’t feel like talking to you or anyone” She said dismissively fishing out her keys from the pockets of the tight black midi shorts she wore for emphasis. She saw her mother’s eyes stray to her pink crop top and disapprovingly at her navel piercing adorned with diamond-studden silver ear rings.

“Will you ever call me mother again?” She asked in a plaintive, teary voice, clasping her hands into her right palm and her glazed eyes rolled up in supplication like that of a dog expecting a treat. Barbara was taller than her mother and could see that her hair was dishevelled and the black scarf was dropped on her head rather than tied meticulously. Her eyes were red and puffy. She had not had enough sleep. That realisation oddly made her happy and sad at the same time.

“Anna…please I had a long night” She unlocked the clasped fingers one after another. Free, she turned away briskly, her long silvery earrings jingling in her wake. She walked away from her mother and started climbing the stairs to her room, her soft-soled wedge shoes barely making a sound on the flight of stairs, behind her, her mother trailed, she could confirm this because her flip-flops clicked on the tiled floors and tapped on her heels.

“Where did you sleep last night”

She ignored the question. She felt no obligation to answer her.

“My daughter…” She rushed the stairs to catch up with her, slightly panting she asked Barbara “Did you sleep in a hotel again?”

“Yes” She answered bluntly not even pausing her steps. She could almost hear her flinch.

“Did you sleep with a man?” The tension in her voice was palpable, her mind already dreading the answer she would definitely hear.

“If that is all you want to know, I did not sleep with a man” Her mother heaved a sigh of relief.

“You know my daughter, as a 22 year old, you should not…”

“Anna, I slept with a woman” Barbara interposed, hurling the words down like thunderbolts from her height in the stairs to her mother trailing below her, as she took a left turn towards her room.

She could hear her mother’s sharp breath echoing off the walls of the duplex as the words struck her. She stood in front of her door, inserted the key into the keyhole but did not open it. The key dangled in front of the door as she heard her mother cry “Chi m egbu o mu o”. Her tears were not that of victory anymore, it was that of anguish.

In front of her door, Barbara sat down, resting her back on the sturdy wooden door, she let loose her own pangs in a torrent of tears; silent, excruciating and helpless.

One comment

  1. Confusing from the first sentence. Lost me at: “noisome interrogations”.

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