Fettered: Life After Eighteen Episode One

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If you have not read the story preceding this series, click here to read or download the story. 


Here I am, sitting down on the hospital bed at the window side, in a ward in the University College of Hospital, Ibadan.

The doctor had just told me that the cancer has spread to surrounding tissues and organs. I asked him for the truth, and he said, “I should not be telling you this, but we are just fifty percent sure that you’re going to make it.”

I looked at him and said authoritatively with tears in my eyes, “Doctor! I’m going to make it.” He walked out without replying.
No one talked throughout the journey, I didn’t know how I should start. I knew my mother was so heartbroken. My father had no guts to talk, but I felt he wanted to pierce me with words.

I broke the silence, “Mum, I’m sorry.” I said sullenly.

“You’re sorry! Just sorry?” She was angry. “Sorry for what exactly? That you have been messing around having sex with ladies on campus? Or that you caused us shame? Which one exactly?”

“Daddy Michael! You’ve been too quiet! ” She hissed, but my father did not respond despite that.

I kept quiet throughout the rest of the journey. The fact that my mother was angry, subtly made me angry because I earnestly wished to yell it in her ears that it wasn’t my fault.

The first year second semester examination had ended. I missed many of them. It looked like I’d have to wait six months at home. My mother had gone to plead a semester off school for me, which meant I’d continue my studies with the following academic set. It wasn’t much of a bother for me at that moment.

The atmosphere at home that day was suffocating, it felt like there was a lot to discuss but no one to break the ice.
“Mum… I’m sorry.” I knelt.

While pleading, I earnestly hoped and prayed my mother won’t dig deep into the roots of the situation. If I was cornered by my mother to say how it all started, she’d be hurt that her very sister harmed her son. It wouldn’t be all, it would shatter the home. I decided to keep shut for as long as I could but I remembered the letter left behind for my mother by Aunt Gloria before she died.

“She must have wanted to seek my mom’s forgiveness before she died.” It hit me.

On a second thought, “What did she die of? Was it HPV? That quick?” My chest got heavier due to what I was ruminating on. The clouds of fear were beginning to clutter in my mind.

Mother broke into my thoughts. “Stand up. I was not close to being happy at all. What was all that I heard in the court? The lady came for you initially? You have been promiscuous? You’ve had sex?” She sobbed.

“I’m sorry.”

“Stop saying that you’re sorry!” She hit the centre table. “You’ve had sex? Answer me!”

My silence became my mouth and answered. “Mo gbe.” She held her head in her hands while stamping her feet on the floor.

All this while, my father sat down on the sofa with his upper torso leaned forward, and his head in his hands.

I was screaming in my head, justifying myself there but I held myself from saying a word. Less, that might be the end of my family. It would leave the family shattered, every single person broken.

After minutes of crying and pacing the living room, my mother sat down and faced me. “How did this all start? Has it been from your final year in high school? With that lady? – Margaret.” My heart skipped a bit, I said nothing.

“Say something!” She planted her hands in anger on my cheeks. I groaned, trying not to let my emotions get the best of me.

Iya Michael, Fa ra bale. Calm down. You see…”

She cut in, “Don’t tell me to calm down! What has your silence done!”

“Are you trying to blame me now?” He slightly touched his chest with his palm and stood up, “Don’t try it. If you’re trying to play the blame game, none of us will win.” He said and walked into his room.

“That’s it? Staying silent like you have always been?” She became restive and left for the guest room – where she resorts to whenever she fought with my father.

I sluggishly lay myself down on the floor and allowed my mind to wander about. It was first the thought of how it would be quite unbearable to live in the house with my mother.

After about fifteen minutes, my mother came out of the room. She ran her hands through her bag and looked around the sitting room.

“Did you notice any brown envelope around?” She sounded worried. “I have not even read the letter in it.”

My heart skipped a second, knowing that she was referring to the letter Aunt Gloria dropped for her before her death.

“I didn’t see it at all.” I stuttered.

She went upstairs to continue her search. Few minutes, I saw her come down with the envelope in her hands. “I have seen it.”

“Okay, ma.” I watched her entering the guest room as she was trying to open the envelope.

I stood up, started pacing the sitting room, and praying earnestly that it would not be what I thought. Honestly, I knew what was going to be in the letter. I was already sweating profusely.

“What happened? Why are you pacing the room with that look on you?” Dad asked as he came out of the room.
I looked at him, then continued pacing the living room.

I briskly looked at him and said, “Your secrets are about to be revealed. That’s what is about to happen.” I whispered to him and gave him a disgusting look.

He was startled, not knowing what to do. He bade me closer, “What are you saying? I don’t understand.”

“This family is about to be shattered into irredeemable pieces!” I banged the centre. Where did that guts come from?

He looked towards the direction of the guest room. I couldn’t bear staying in the living room, I went to my room. My mind could not settle, different thoughts keep strolling in my head.



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