Wailing Smiles By Damilola Hassan (@popsispice)


I feel miserable! What would I do? What can I do? I have only been away for three months or less and everything has gone upside down.

My brother is unusually quiet, mom is dying silently and Dad is now somebody else.

It used to be a happy family. My parents were the very best you could ask for, their love towards each other was amazing, although we thought dad loved her more. He would buy her gifts on anniversaries, birthdays and even on no celebration days, he still showered her with beautiful and lovable gifts. We would be envious, I particularly. So he made sure everyone got something every time, no matter how little it might be. I remember one time he got her a gold bracelet; it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. Mom liked it; her smile was blazing and could erase a sorrowful death. She thanked him and that was all. Dad was glad she liked it and particularly grateful for that smile. He had said at a family gathering one time that her smile ‘turned him on’. I was not satisfied with that smile so I queried her, “is that all? Thank you is all he would get? Mommy,  for a gold bracelet? Haba!”.

 “Don’t mind her”, dad replied.

 She apparently felt guilty and gave him a French kiss. Dad was surprised, so was I. He was amazed, “in your daughter’s presence?” which was more of a statement than a question. We all laughed, I prayed for their love at that moment and asked God for this kind of man; albeit, at this moment, I think God should disregard that prayer.   

At first, it was just a mild argument, I thought, until I heard the noise from the kitchen. Arguments at first then the wrath of ceramics, I sprang to the kitchen and there they were. The belt determined to decorate my mom’s beautiful skin, wanting so desperately to be remembered. I stood still, waited till I was able to understand the situation before I screamed “it’s enough!”, He stopped almost immediately, then left the kitchen. Mom was in a pool of her tears and some bruises here and there. I moved closer to her, our eyes locked and she forced a smile, I helped her up. She grabbed her phone which had witnessed the beating, I was staring helplessly.

“Don’t worry”, she said, “its ok, just help me check what I’m cooking, let me change”, she continued and smiled. Except for the bruises, I swear you would have no idea what had transpired moments ago.

My brother stormed in, “what ha…..”, he looked at mom and his gaze was filled with sorrow. Mom left the room.

I witnessed some more battles. My mom’s smile became infuriating and confusing. I spoke with her.

“Mummy, a lot of things are wrong in here”, I began.

“How do you mean?” was her reply, and as usual, it came with a smile.

With a stern look and raised voice I continued, “He beats you up every now and then like like… Like He’s beating up a goat, and you ask me what do I mean? Is it until He kills you?”

 I managed to finish my tears gushing freely.


She dropped the half grated okra, carefully placing the bowl on the Formica. She grabbed my shoulders and penetrated my eyes, forcing a weak smile this time, “it’s going to be alright” she assured …and I am not a goat”.

I wanted so much to believe it. She hugged me tightly, I held her tighter, crying.

“Even that boy has changed”, I continued, “He hardly talks anymore mum, and that is scary”. I lamented. “Your brother is just experiencing puberty, that’s all”.

“Mommy that’s not true”.

“It’s a phase in our lives, we will scale through”, she assured.

 “There’s what we call patience and faith”, she continued, “They are not just people’s names but very strong virtues”. She loosened her grip and walked to her room.

I wanted to hold her more, wanted more of her bossom, I followed her. I stopped at her door, she was sobbing silently in the room. I grabbed the knob and froze; in her sobs she was also praying, I fell to the ground. “Dear God”, I began, silently, “please….” then I lost strength to continue so, I cried silently.

To every woman ‘putting it together’… 



Damilola Hassan

On twitter as, @popsispice



photo credit: google images


5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. taiwo
    Apr 16, 2013 @ 07:26:43

    Great story. Well done.


  2. chimdi
    Apr 17, 2013 @ 08:13:39

    So touching.
    Nice one


  3. Atersawa4real
    Apr 18, 2013 @ 12:11:19

    Great delivery. Nice literary work


  4. Seun
    Apr 26, 2013 @ 09:34:50

    dis is beautyful,to every woman holding and puttng it together,may God keep u.


  5. O Oluwafemi Ebenezer
    Feb 24, 2015 @ 11:36:16

    “To every woman putting it together” It is a shame that we keep hope alive even when the future is blurry….. I need a strong reasons to believe marriage is important …


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