It was 11:48pm on March 15, my twenty-first birthday and the third time I stared at my phone patiently waiting for your call. It was a special day for you because that was the day you had me. I only grew up to learn it was a special for me too because I was born. I believed you. I enjoyed the day yearly because you taught me to celebrate it. You taught me that it was mine. I was confident and comfortable because I could turn around and see you there.
But as years flew by you left me with shadows of your existence. I tried to build you back and you let go of my hand. My faith became the last thing hanging on. I guess one day I will be forced to give it all up. I wished you could see between the lines and appreciate the beauty you possessed. But something tells me you plucked out your eyes yourself and burnt it to flames. If only I could make you understand how much love I wished to share with you, but you hid yourself so far away, such that it is almost impossible for you to find yourself. You used to mean the world to me until you stopped caring. I was at a youth conference when the speaker was talking about how the less you hear from someone you care about, the more you miss him or her.
To give an illustration, she said, “Everyone please stand. If your answer to my question is yes, please sit. My question is: when was the last time you heard from you mother?”
“Today?” About a hundred people sat. “For those seated, how much do you miss her?” And someone replied, “I could do with a day or two free from child duties you know.” Everyone laughed. I did too.
“Yesterday?” About fifty sat down. “Do you miss her?” Another answered, “Haha! Nope she would call today anyways so I might as well look forward to it”.
“A week ago?” about 5 people sat, including some of my married friends. “How much do you miss her?” “A lot” I looked around and there were three of us left.
“Three weeks?” I was the last one still standing. Although I had assumed the folks behind me maybe lost their mums, I guess even those dead may spiritually contact their children on earth to see how they are fairing. With fear of being judged, I silently sat. Was it better for me to lie or for me to stand confidently in pride of the decision you made? At the end of the class, the speaker came to apologize to me that she didn’t mean to publicly embarrass me. She knows I may be going through a lot and if I needed a mother, she will always be here for me. And I said to myself, “what are you talking about?” Just as if she read my mind, she replied, “when did you lose your mum?”
Shocked at the question I got, I became speechless. I just stared at her as she apologized again for being so direct. I excused myself from her presence and thought to myself. Is that really what it looked like? Was it weird not to call your child anything more than 1 week especially if you are alive and have legal custody? You hadn’t called in 5 weeks, I was only standing for the third-week roll call and people already thought you were dead. I have always had so much to tell you. I pick up my phone, pull up your profile, stare at the screen and put it back down. The relationship hasn’t been built strong enough for me to discuss my happiness, my excitement, my relationships, my thoughts, my career, etc. with you. Nothing. You do not know jack about me, and you don’t care to know.
I do not wish you dead but is it profitable to have a living corpse? My heart cringes every time I see you. And when you finally call… oh! You finally did call two days after our special day.You forgot.
I answered with confidence and joy and said “hey mummy…”
“How are you?” she said
“How is school?”
“Are you doing well?”
“Yes. Everything is fine.”
“Okay. I just wanted to know how you are doing. Sorry, we just had so much going on, I didn’t mean to forget your birthday.”
“Thanks ma. I’m very well”
“Hope you had fun.”
“Okay. Let me talk to you later then. Take care of yourself.”
Tears roll down my face. Was that it? I looked at the call length and it read 00:02:37. Two minutes and thirty-seven seconds. I attempted to convince myself that this wasn’t true. I live everyday through each difficulty on my bended knees praying to God for strength. I imagine you believe my life is a bed of roses. I pray hard through each activity with little or no empathy from your angle. I play the role of a sister, a brother, an aunt, a daughter, a son, a father and a mother and still study and attempt to excel. I am so busy being someone else that sometimes I forget to be me, a young girl. What time is there to enjoy my youth? But I am determined to. My friends say to me, you seem to be so strong, and I say it is Jesus. They look at my parents and say wow! Behind every great man there is a great woman. A beautiful smile rides across my face.
And I laugh to myself. If only they knew.
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