I asked mother who my biological father was and she said I was too young to know such things.
"Too young?" I asked her with a frown on my face which signaled I was not in for such costly talk of hers at the moment. I've made her known over the years that I was growing and needed questions about dark parts of my life.
"I'm seventeen mama! Seventeen! That's a combination of a decade and seven years. I need to know.... "
"Shut up!" Went mama's voice interrupting mine accompanied with a slap on my checks. This isn't the first time I've received such slap. Intact, I was expecting it but this time, I vowed never to give up on getting results even despite the torture that'd come with the session.
One may really ask why I'm lost as to who my father is, where he is and the stuff he is made up of. One may ask the question of why a girl of my age is not allowed to have male friends. Well, mama would always say 'Boy and Girl no dey be friends' anytime she saw me and the boys in the neighborhood having a friendly conversation. The spark about who my father was came up when a girl I fought with two years ago called me a bastard, telling me that my mother is a shameless whore and I was the unfortunate incident that happened to her. My spirit was left bitter even after teaching her the lesson of her life. That was two years ago, I was fifteen then. Each time I asked mama questions about my father, she'd shove it aside with her voice bringing down the roof.
"Why have you decided to always remind me of my past? Haven't the sight of yiu brought enough pain?" replied mama after cutting me short but this time, in tears. I've never seen mama in this state before. The 'mama' I know, was strong, very strong that she single-handedly raised me without the help of any of her relatives. This was the first time I'd see her down. I regretted why I raised the issue but a part of me wants to know more
"What are you talking about? What do you mean by pain? How have....." I stammered as I asked these questions before I got lost in gaze...
"You ask too much questions. You're too young to know all these you are..."
"Too young for what?" I interrupted with my voice going up.
"Too young to know who my father is? Too young to know what pain you said I've caused you? Too young to know why you've not contacted any of your relatives... Relatives I don't even know. What is this pain you talk about? Tell me!"
That ushered a moment of silence among us which was broken by her sniff and silent cry she gave.
"Your father..." she began in tears.
"Years back, our house was robbed and i was gang raped. Your father is someone I don't know. He came as an armed robber in mask but left a visible scar. Weeks after the incident, I had signs of pregnancy. I told my parents about it and they insisted I aborted the pregnancy saying it'd bring shame to the family. My father was a deacon in the church while my mother, was the women leader in the same church. They said it'd be a disgrace to the name of the family if I keep the child. When I refused aborting the pregnancy, I was sent parking. News that was spread by my parents was that I was sharing my body to men in the neighborhood and for that reason ,they can't be a part of my 'curse'. I was forced out and no relative looked back on me. You're the result of the pain I felt, you're the outcome of my parents myopic sense of judgement. You see my dear, why I don't want to talk about these things because they remind me of that night when five men took turns on me with my parents, under their guns. Tell me, how can I tell who is responsible for the pregnancy? Even if I can tell, where can I find him? So yiu see why I don't talk about these things? But since you've pushed me, now you know why things are sacred. You are the mirror that shows me shattered parts of my past and the unstable nature of my tomorrow." She said, cleaning her eyes with the back of her palm. I felt this cold sensation over me. I then realized that somethings are kept from us to keep us safe from ourselves.
Julius Tunde Ige is a poet and who centers on issues that concerns the society and humanity and has published two anthologies to his name. He is a student of Mass communication and has two anthologies to his name.