“Zini “my mother called to me slowly as she combed out my tangled hair, “Never love a man so much that you lose yourself in the process”
“Yes Mama” I answered obediently.
She had whispered these tales to me since I was old enough to sit by myself and I knew she was going to tell it to me till she went to her grave.
“Zini my baby, let me tell you a story” Mama said, unbothered with the large housefly perched atop her nose.
“Mama, let’s go inside…tell me the story inside” I said to her as I gently led her into our house. We lived in a decrepit uncompleted building which had been deserted by its owners for the ten years we had lived there.
Mama stood up to join me, her wrapper fell down, exposing her withered body but she didn’t seem to notice.
I was scared for Mama; I think she was slowly losing her mind.
Being married to a man like my father would have done that to any woman.
My father was an unrepentant womaniser and a chronic cheat who had broken my mother’s heart several times. His specs were eighteen year old girls, young enough to be his daughter. He preferred them young and supple and got very bored with them just as soon as they clocked nineteen.
I don’t know what these girls saw in my father, maybe it was the rickety 1999 model Toyota car he drove which my mother had bought with the loan she collected, or the suits he bought on credit and wore without shame.
“Zini” Mama continued jostling me from my thoughts “There is a love that breaks you and hurts you to your very core, it take away your essence and leave you a dry old husk…”
“Your father broke me Zini”…she said quietly and drifted into a troubled silence.
I knew she wasn’t done for the day. She hadn’t reached the part of the story where my father left her for an 18 year old girl with breasts as big as overripe paw paws; her name was Sarah
At that point she would begin a litany of curses, summoning all the demons of hell to ruin her destiny.
Whenever Mama fell into this crazy trance, I knew better than to interrupt her.
Her eyes would blaze with fury and her hands would thrash around violently.
“Make her womb rot and let maggot’s feasts on her corpse!” She would scream out
Let her children drink the waters of madness and let her breast shrivel on her chest
”Those girls; those witches who succeeded in destroying my marriage to your father, Zini, they will not go unpunished! Mama would cry out, her voice thick with bitterness.
But Sarah! You who succeeded in taking him away finally, May the devil take your soul!
At this point, she would quieten and briefly regain her sanity. She would stroke my luscious kinky hair and thank the gods for giving me to her.
How was I supposed to tell Mama that Just like Sarah who had stolen father from us, I had stolen a man from his wife?
How was I supposed to tell Mama that at eighteen, I was sleeping with a man old enough to be my father and enjoying it even?
His wife had called me severally cursing, and later begging me to leave her husband, but after every plea, I got into bed with her husband and made him perform unmentionable acts with me.
“Zini” Mama called out interrupting my thoughts, “Have I told you of Sarah who ruined my marriage to your father?”
No Mama, I answered quietly.
Mama was losing her mind; I knew this because I could see the demons lurking in her eyes and they hadn’t been there before.
My father had broken my mother and he had broken me too.