Silent Chapters- (One Thought-Two Genres-Two Writers-1 Title)

witness

SILENT CHAPTERS ( The Poem) Osowe Oluwagbenga (@gbengaosowe)

 

Mum says it’s a clinic, but all I see is a room full of books;

Big and small, written and illustrated by women like my

Mother, men like my father? Maybe!

Maybe I’d write a book one day.

Hard-covered, gilt-edged, with words masterfully crafted to

Recount the ordeals that have brought me to this place filled with books,

Part written by men like my father who are nothing but crooks with good looks

 

I am sitting on the couch in the clinic watching my mother and a man. 

My mind is locked up in a place far away,

Feeding fat on memories; not of days or hours but years

Of fun and love, years before the war.

Wars; not between nations or tribes but my mother and father,

Parents whom I once adored

 

I remember the day it all began,

Dad’s staggering steps, his speech- a blur

Mum’s stunned look as she beheld her husband;

Inebriated, wasted, the foul smell from his mouth – putrid and

Pervading the atmosphere with every belch

The morning after, I heard loud, angry voices,

Then sobs, in a low moan- gasp- moan-gasp sequence

 

I remember the grotesque look on my father’s face

As he threw punches that would make fine pugilists jealous,

I can almost touch my mother’s scarf -covered head;

Wrapped tight to hide external bruises whilst internal ones-festered,

Breeding on discontent and fostering hate.

Yet mum stayed silent and nothing changed.

She is a book filled with stories untold that she thinks concern only her.

 But the sights I saw,

Seemingly locked up forever, are holding session in my head.

 

Mummy calls this man a doctor,

And he keeps on mentioning my name with words like “traumatized”, “psychoanalyze”, and “shock”. 

This man’s many questions sends mummy’s glances my way as she answers.

Do they think I am sick?

I wish they could read the stories indelibly written on my mind with

The ink of memories, illustrated with graphic images of dad’s punches

And mum’s swollen faces.

 If only they could read the Silent Chapters

Etched on my mind and know that her trauma was always mine.

 

 

SILENT CHAPTERS (The Story) – Toyin Fabunmi

 

 

The woman and her son walked into the cool ambience of the clinic at exactly 1.55pm which was a few minutes before their appointment. She wrapped a shawl around her shoulders to shield herself from the cold air. She greeted the receptionist and handed her the appointment card she had been given on her first visit.

‘‘You can go in madam, Dr Kole is expecting you.’’

‘‘Thank you.’’

‘‘Hello madam,’’ the doctor said standing up from his desk as they entered the office.

‘‘Hello Doctor’’, she replied shaking his hand. I love this place she decided taking in the ornate Mahogany desk, the sturdy shelf filled with enormous books, the three huge vases of flowers and the two lavender couches placed on the right side of the room. ‘‘Cool’’ she thought.

‘‘Say hello to the doctor’’ she told her son who had busied himself with biting on his nails.

‘‘Good afternoon sir’’

‘‘Good afternoon young man.’’ The doctor said stretching out his hand for a shake.

Mayowa glanced at his mum and took the handshake reluctantly.

‘‘What’s your name young man?’’

‘‘My name is Mayowa.’’

‘‘How old are you?’’

‘‘Nine’’

‘‘Okay let’s talk; your mum would excuse us for now. Mrs Adesan, please seat over there.’’ he said pointing towards the couches.

The mother left and the psychiatrist went on to ask other questions just to put the young man at ease. He asked about his hobbies and was amazed at his knowledge of football and especially about his professed club.

‘‘Do you like girls?’’ He asked suddenly

‘‘No!’’ The boy exclaimed

‘‘They are very rude, irresponsible and uncultured.’’

The doctor was taken aback wondering who would have used such words in the child’s presence. He couldn’t imagine how a nine year old would use the words ‘’uncultured’’ ‘’rude’’ and ‘‘irresponsible’’ in the same sentence. He was also alarmed at the amount of hatred the child had for females.

‘‘I don’t like them, he continued. Dad doesn’t either and that’s why he slaps mum all the time.’’

‘‘He slaps your mum?’’

‘‘Yes, he does but he said it’s only because she is irresponsible.’’

‘‘Do you think your mum is irresponsible?’’

‘‘I don’t know, but dad says all women are.’’

‘‘I don’t talk to girls in school and if they talk to me I slap them so they don’t talk to me again.’’

‘‘Alright, Mayowa I understand how you feel and why you feel that way.’’

‘‘We would have these talks every Wednesday evening, your mum will bring you and we would discuss for about an hour. ‘‘I hope to be able to share my thoughts about women with you but for today we are done.’’

‘‘You can sit over there while I have a quick discussion with your Mom’’; he said pointing to where the mother sat.

‘‘Thank you sir.’’

‘‘Bye dear’’.  The doctor replied

‘‘Mrs Adesan’’, he called

The woman stood up and took the chair her son vacated.

 

****

‘‘Madam for me to help your boy, your husband will have to come in for counseling.’’

‘‘I don’t know how possible that will be sir.’’

‘‘Listen madam, the boy is seriously traumatized; your husband’s actions have formed a very dangerous impression in his mind. I tried to psychoanalyze him a bit and what he said was really disturbing. Therapy won’t help him if he goes back to the house and he is still exposed to your husband’s influence. He needs help too so your boy can be alright.’’

‘‘Okay, doctor’’ she said fighting back tears. ‘‘How about I divorce him and make sure my son doesn’t come in contact with him.’’

‘‘I don’t want you to do that ma’am. I believe in mending things. Find a way to talk him into coming.’’

‘‘Alright doctor, I will do that.’’

‘‘Have a nice day sir’’; she said signaling to her son that it was time to leave.

The doctor watched them as they left amazed at how much hate the boy already harboured at such an early age.

‘‘Some men are bastards’’, he muttered under his breath.

***Stop Domestic Violence against Women, It traumatizes the children****

 

 photo credit:google images

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Wailing Smiles By Damilola Hassan (@popsispice)

 blackwoman

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.

Silence!

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

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