A Tattered Heart.

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
just a short sad story.

Submitted: November 08, 2010

A A A | A A A

Submitted: November 08, 2010



He came back home drunk, as usual. Just the way she knew he would. Him and sobriety seemed to have learnt to hate each other and they did it so well.

He didn’t eat his supper even when she brought the food before him. She was hurt, mostly because he no longer bought anything in that house. It was just after her struggle that the family found something to appease the hunger.

“Why do you do this, my husband?” she painfully asked, almost pleadingly. She had to know what was disturbing her husband because she was now tired and confused. Maybe he was worried of something that she dint know.

However, she wouldn’t have asked had she seen what lay lurking in the silent waters. That was a mistake, a big one.

“You woman, why do you ask so many stupid questions? Do you want to force me to eat your food when I do not want to?” he roared at her and his red eyes frightened her. That was a bad sign she was seeing.

Her husband went on, not ready to fall silent, “In fact, take this rubbish away from me.”

Salt on a wound? That felt better. Her energy seemed to have been thrown out of her by the mighty power in his words. Poisonous power. Then, as if woken up from a nightmare, she said anything-everything.

“Yes. I knew it… I knew it. You have already eaten. Where did you eat? Who cares? Maybe, at one of those women you keep on your body like grapes. It’s fine... it’s…”

Paap. Call it a hot slap and you will be forgiven, for words are sometimes few.

She saw stars and only felt the smell of blood but her tongue was still free.

“Go ahead… Kill me… You have always looked for a way to get me out of the way so that you can bring those women in. Go ahead….”

A kick in the stomach, a rain of blows and Painful cries. She shouted and sometimes felt life being squeezed out of her already tired body.

“I will kill you today. You must die.”

A hard kick again on her head.

“Do it now. I am tired of living. I am tired of this life. Let me die. Go ahead… kill me,”

She painfully said

The smell of blood was all over the room and her nose was red.

However, he had done a mistake that he would always hate. He should have settled it with her when his eldest daughter was away, maybe far away in college.

It was Ma who felt the whole pain. Even when her sisters ran all over the compound crying, she felt a hot knife pierce her heart and instead of her body falling down, she saw her mother fall. Her mother. Ugh. She felt the pain in seeing her mother fall down in death. The pain that took her sanity away and the respect and maybe fear that was in her. That pain that made her talk her heart out.

“Father, we have patiently persevered your stupid behavior for a long time. We have watched you do many stupid things without caring for us but yet tried to pretend that we hadn’t seen anything. Now, we can’t pretend anymore,” she shouted as tears flowed into her mouth and, oh, how the voice travels so fast in such still times. But she wasn’t going to stop any soon.

“We can’t continue waiting for you to change. We know that you will never change. We know that you will never, even for one minute, become a human being. You are an animal and an animal you will die. I hate you, father. I have silently hated you for as long as I can remember but today, I publicly spit in your face for you are not worth our honour. You do not care for any of us and I know that you are regretting for having us. You even wish that we were not here so that you could start afresh… it is okay, father. We shall give you your space but remember that we will never get out of your mind. We will always be there to haunt you forever and you will never understand what peace is in this world.”

Even his anger was beaten by the power in her words. The hatred in her voice was enough to freeze Romeo’s heart and never any love for Juliet. She did it. She got his hands off her mother’s neck. He clicked and walked into the bedroom, leaving his wife’s beaten body lying on the floor. But he was not letting his daughter walk away scot free. He had a prize for her and he had just done it intentionally. He wanted to get to her and she had come dangerously closer. That was his latest technique; start with the mother and finish with the girls or otherwise. She had to pay for her loud mouth.

“You stupid thing over there,” he got some energy to tackle his daughter, “you just doesn’t know how big your mistake is. It is even bigger than your stupidity. From now on, I do not want to see you here. Go wherever you may wish or even find yourself a husband, I do not care. In fact, consider your education over or tell your mother to pay for it. Count me out.”

To her, it only pained but wasn’t a surprise. She had always sensed that he was up to something. He wanted a way to innocently walk to the side, fold his arms and watch life strip them before everyone. He wanted evidence against her and he had enough of it. But she did not care, only that her heart ached. It ached for so many things. It ached for herself, for her mother and sisters and for a father she didn’t have. A father that she always wished she had.

That was the longest night in their lives. It was a very cold night for all of them and Damah refused to stay in her house over that night. Her daughters also thought it better to be away from him and if tears could make an ocean, she and her daughters would have sailed to freedom.

Each one of them thought of what life was. Ma hated it. She felt that it was just too heavy for her young shoulders. She hated the sight of it- so ugly and gloomy. Just the day before, she had learnt that Brian was already married and had no time for her and then that. She hated them all and hated herself too. She wished for death but it never came and everything stared at her mockingly. She heard the ghost of life laugh at her and in her mind that laughter turned into an echo.


She hated it.

The following morning was difficult for all of them to face. The morning after the night before, always very pricky. It was a very bright morning after a very dark night and it disturbed the heart and mind.

Her mother tried to plead with her but it did not help. It was fine that things were the way they were, that was what she said. She was fine, very fine.

“You shouldn’t have done what you did, my daughter. Now see what you have brought to yourself,” her mother started with so much difficulty, a burning body and a swollen face.

“Ah ah. Do not say that, mama. I do not regret anything,” said Ma.

“Yes, mother. We are tired and cannot stand this anymore,” her younger sisters supported her.

“No, my daughters. That is bad.”

She felt some pain and groaned.

“Take it easy, my sister, take it easy. You will be alright soon” said her neighbour, in whose house they had taken refuge after the last night’s incidence.

“What your mother is telling you is true, my daughters. You are still young and do not understand life well. You should not have reacted the way you did, Ma. I heard your voice clearly here and everything you said travelled far. Though it pains to go through all that, you still made a mistake in the way you reacted, my daughter. He is your father and he can curse you,” went on the neighbour.

“Curse? I do not care. If anything, I feel that I am already cursed,” picked Ma, still bitter and angry. It was just then that her mother noticed how bad her temper was.

“Hey! Stop it, Ma. Watch your tongue very well. Listen to what we are telling you,” her mother managed between fresh sobs and pain. The other girls quietly cried over the memory.

“But he doesn’t have to do all that just because he is holding us for a price. Good fathers never hold their children for a price.”

She was a very difficult girl to handle and her mother had just seen it.

“I just want to move away from here and go somewhere far away where I can let my wounds heal. Being around this place will not help me anything since he will keep on opening them up and they might never heal. I just have to go.” Ma said as tears filled her eyes.

“That will not help anything, my daughter,” said the neighbour. Her mother was too tired to keep up the fight. She had enough pain in her heart and every word from her mouth seemed to pull the already tired muscles of her heart. She just cried.

“What should I do, then?” asked Ma, almost in anger.

That was the question that was on each other’s mind, only that the tongues were too tired to voice it. Maybe, just too heavy. The fatigue from the long journey of life, a life in darkness.

No one knew what to tell her and instead let her travel back to the city and then to the campus so that she could give herself enough time to allow everything settle down. That way, they thought it would assist her come to terms with everything so that she could move on for the sake of her future. However, one question troubled her mother: who would pay her fees?

‘‘Do not worry mother. There is a reason in all this. God has a way, only that we have not seen the reason now, but he won’t keep us in darkness for long. I know that he will show us soon. Everything will be fine, mama,” she told her mother as tears flowed down her cheeks. She just felt something inside herself about the way her mother talked and saw the despair they were all trying to avoid. Something told her to be the strength that her mother need and the voice that had to reassure her that all was not lost. Yes, She had to be the feet that her mother so much needed before she become strong again even though she was still very young; just 21 years. She was soon entering her final year at the university before she graduated.

Before she left home, she had something for her father through her mother. Though it pained her to say that, she said to her mother “Remember to tell him that it doesn’t help when he tries to hide behind anything. There is something wrong and he knows it. It only helps when he owns up and looks at everything with a naked and sober eye, then we shall one day be a happy family. For now, I still do not know what my heart will decide but that isn’t a big problem. Time will handle that. He is the only problem and the final obstacle to the happiness of this family. That day he will do this, my heart will be free.”

What could a mother do when these words were from her own child to her own husband and she was supposed to be the medium? Damah cried and even though her heart wished to say something, her tongue was tired and maybe tied. Tied by the strong hands of pain that had refused to let her go.

As she looked back for the last time at her mother and sisters, their house and then stealthily walked fast ahead-fighting tears- Ma knew that things would never be the same again in her life. They couldn’t be the same again for so many reasons and Brian was one of the reasons. Huh. Brian.

With love on her mind and tears in her eyes, she left home for soils far away, in search of a lonely and peaceful place to hide her tattered heart.

© Copyright 2019 bernard ogalo oduor. All rights reserved.

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