It’s been two years now since the incident and it has been the worst two years of my life. We had to move out of our house to a one room apartment because that was what mom could afford. Last week I got sent out of school on account of my inability to pay my fees. From a robust looking boy, I now look like a starved dog. You could literally see my ribs popping from my chest. Poverty doesn’t look well on me but does it look well on any one?
“David, David”, my mum called out to me. “Could you please help me get salt from the woman down the street so I could use it while cooking”.
At first, I was furious because she interrupted my reading but then I remembered she is my mom and I would do anything to make her happy even if it meant depriving myself of any form of pleasure.
On my way to the stall where I was to purchase the salt, someone called my name but I ignored due to haste. On my way back five minutes later, I felt a sharp pain on my head and it was obvious someone had thrown a stone at me. With anger raging in my heart, I turned back to confront the person but instead, I received a deafening slap.
“Who do you think you are? I called you and you just ran past me?” the deep voice said to me. By this time, my vision was blurred from the slap. Fear filled my heart and I started to beg for forgiveness saying I wouldn’t repeat it again. “It’s not your fault” the boy said “your father didn’t train you well”. All of a sudden I felt chills down my spine. Suddenly, my vision was what it used to be and I could now clearly see the boy who was harassing me. It was Jacob; one of the boys who regularly ate at our house on Fridays.
That night I cried myself to sleep with the thought of if my dad was alive, salt wouldn’t be a problem in the house and that big for nothing bully Jacob wouldn’t have spoken to me the way he did. I vowed from that night that due to these harassment and humiliation, I would be successful.
The other day mum went to the market to get food stuff for the house and some market women mocked her dressing simply because her dress had a tear and some other patched areas. As if that wasn’t enough, our landlord has threatened to throw us out of the house more times than I can count due to failure to pay his rent. We are in the house today but our rent is still overdue for payment.
Five years rolled by, five years of continuous suffering. We practiced an eating system of eating once a day just to make sure food went round.
Now, I’m a university graduate with a second class (upper) degree in accounting. The future seems bright for me.
Not too long after my youth service I got a job in a leading bank in the country with a good salary. By dint of hard work, I got promoted often which led to envy among-st my colleagues. I was also blessed with a beautiful wife Moronke and two lovely children. Life seemed to be going well for me until one sunny Tuesday afternoon when my boss called me into his office.
“David, you’re one of the best staff this organization has ever seen in a long while”. His words made my head swell. In fact, it got it spinning. Still I feared there was a “but”. As soon as my fears kicked in, he continued “but I’m afraid we have to let you go’’. At the sound of his voice I almost broke down. I told myself, if I get fired today, I’m committing suicide because I don’t know how I would cope with my wife, children and my mother. “You’re being transferred and promoted to be the General Manager of our new branch”.
I was the happiest man alive that day. You know what they say; enjoyment for a year would make you forget how long your suffering lasted. This enjoyment is lasting forever. The joy in my mother’s heart is all I can imagine as I walk down the street to my house. On getting home I see the door wide open but nobody was in. At first I thought we had been burgled but a neighbour told me what happened. My mother had a heart attack and was rushed to the hospital. Is this not my day of joy? Or can’t I be happy for long? These questions plagued my mind as a drove down to the hospital.
I feel the evening breeze on my face as I stand on the balcony of my house. The journey so far has been nothing but a bitter-sweet experience, not totally a tragedy as the popular saying would go “there is always light at the end of the tunnel”. Now the manager of a company, married to a beautiful wife and father to two beautiful children my eyes water as I reflect on the not so distant past.
Today is different, it’s my mother’s burial.
When I got to the hospital, I went straight to her ward with the fear of losing her. I delivered the news of my promotion to her. On her dying bed she looked at me and smiled saying “we made it, the pain of yesterday is gone” squeezing my hands she drew her last breath.
“A gem filled with light; glowing refusing not to shine
A mother, a friend and a companion to me
Though left alone in this world by her loved one
She remained strong for she knew she had a torch to carry
A torch that would light up the world that is me
And now that I’ve bloomed, you’ve been taken away
Although you might not eat the sweet fruit of your labor
Unlike every face we see every day at our office and at the bus station
Your memories I would carry in my heart until my heart beats its last
You would forever be remembered “
As I said the last words of her eulogy her body was laid in the grave and I smiled remembering her words “the pain of YESTERDAY IS GONE”