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Nigeria's leading fictional story blog - my father, my mother, she loved children, alcohol, drunkard, my teeth like a bulldog, endless reek of beer, I had never had alcohol, Lagos, University of Lagos, about marriage was pain and agony, doctor, papa, forgiveness.

He was looking gaunt and frail. As the bus swept past him, I was so sure that the man looking like a skeleton with some borrowed flesh on it was my father. I had not seen him in several years, but there was no way I could forget him. As the bus galloped through town, I could not help but reminisce on my childhood. This was my first bus ride in Lagos in many years. I had just returned to Nigeria after nearly twenty years. For the fun of reliving my childhood experience, I had insisted on riding on a bus from Isolo to Surulere. I was overcome with emotions. Clearly, my father was ill. I wanted to stop the bus and run towards him, but I guess I was immobilized by sheer uncertainty. As a child, my father was my biggest terror. I watched him beat my mother until she could barely breathe. I would wrap myself in a thick layer of bed sheet and try to snuff out the voice of my dear mother crying. She did all she could to suppress her cries but with such intolerable beating, she could not help letting it out sometimes.

When she did, it was like a hot dagger ripping my soul to shreds. I love my mother to death. Each time my father beat him, I wished I was big enough to fight for her. She would wipe her tears after the beating and make food for him. She would clean her face and apply makeup in a desperate attempt to mask the black eyes that my callous father inflicted on her. She worked to put a roof over our head and send me to school, yet my lazy drunkard father took great delight in pounding her. I was too young to understand marriage, but in my tender brain, I could tell that a wife this hardworking was worth keeping. Why was my father treating her this way? I wondered endlessly. My soul was seared and my mind charred. I was a troubled child. When my mates were busy learning, I was busy thinking of how to help my mother…how to save her from the terrorist who was my father.

One night, he returned home late drunk like an elephant feasting on Amarula fruits all day. He swaggered and dangled as though he was under the influence of the blowing wind. Alcohol propelled him back and forth. “Where is man food, woman?” He shouted as though he had provided money for food in the house in seven years. Before my mother could answer him, he lunged at her and kicked the living daylight out of her. My mother never really had another child after me, because during one of those beatings, he damaged her womb by throwing her to the grown and stumping on her stomach while she was pregnant. I thought my mother was going to die. She yelled in deep pain, fighting to free herself from under my father’s foot. He was a big man, so my slender mother was no fit for him, even under the power of alcohol. I jumped out of bed, grabbed a pot from the kitchen and smashed my father’s head. He fell down with blood gushing out of his head. I could not care less. My mother was bleeding profusely. I helped her up and called the neighbors. Before they came to our rescue, my father recovered and began to beat us both.

Finally, a neighbor intervened. My mother lost her pregnancy and her womb forever. A doctor later confirmed that she had been damaged beyond conception. Somehow, she was relieved and broken at the same time. She was pleased that she would not have to produce a child for the monster who was her husband. On the other hand, she was broken because she loved children, and she’d never have another one. She was willing to offer me the best…the very best she could. “When I grow up, I will kill him,” I said to my mother after that night. “You cannot talk like that James,” my mother cautioned me. “You cannot think of taking anyone’s life,” she admonished me. “Unless they deserve it,” I yelled back at her. “It is not for you to decide,” she said. “It is when I watch him treat you like that. If I were older, I would have killed him long back.”

“You should be thinking of studying your books. You should be thinking of going to University…becoming a doctor and making something of yourself. Killing your father will not help you.” “It will give me peace of mind. How am I supposed to study when I am afraid that he is going to kill you? I hate school. I hate him!!!” I yelled. After that discussion, my mother began to think of how to get me out of that environment. She believed firmly in education and if her marriage was hurting me – the most precious thing in her life, then she was going to find a way out of it. Soon, she began to talk about the possibility of leaving my father. One night, he returned home from one of his many drunken expeditions and rained untold abuse on my dear mother. I watched him take a burning cigarette and plant it into my mother’s face. I watched from the door. I swear, I could feel her pain. She was trying so hard to smother the pain. It was as if my father enjoyed seeing her cry.

He held the cigarette firmly against her face with his right hand and held her down with his left hand. Finally, she let out a soul-piercing cry. I leapt onto my father and bit his face. I think I must have taken a pound of flesh from his face with my teeth. I had never had alcohol in my life and I have stayed away from it all my life, but I could almost swear that he tasted of beer. Perhaps the endless reek of beer from him had clogged my senses. I held onto his face with my teeth like a bulldog and finally, I squeezed and turned my face hard to tear off his flesh. He cried in sheer agony. I bounced off him spitting away his flesh and blood. I screeched out of the house while he clutched his face in pain. My mother managed to pull herself together. She dashed outside too looking for me. She had to make sure I was alright. We slept in a neighbor’s house. By late morning, my father left and we returned home. We parked our things and left.

That was the last I saw my father until this day from a bus in Lagos. When we left him, we bounced around Lagos from Maroko to Makoko and then Boundary. My mother encouraged me to study hard, which I did. I buried myself in my books and soon, I was enjoying school. My mother did everything she could to put me through school and I always did her proud. To see her smile…to see her face glow when she read my report card was the most beautiful sight in the world for me. I managed to make my way to the University of Lagos where I studied Medicine. Soon, I was on my way to the USA where I furthered my study and eventually began to work as a medical doctor. I was able to bring my mother over.

After several years, I took a holiday and returned to Lagos with her. When I returned to the house – I had bought a house in Lekki - I told my mother that I saw my father. “He is very ill mom,” I said. She said nothing in reply. She had banished memories of my father in the abyss of her mind. She never attempted to remarry, devoting her entire life to me. Despite my success in life, I struggled with the idea of marriage. Each time I dated a girl and marriage hovered around the corner, I parked my things and ran as fast as I could. I was terrified of marriage. To me, the only thing I knew about marriage was pain and agony, so I was keen to avoid those.

Somehow though, I wanted to see my father again. I wanted to talk to him. As a child, he hardly said anything to me, so I wanted to look him in the eye and talk to him. The next day, I went back to the same spot where I had sighted him and waited at the bus stop. After a whole day, there was no sign of him. I asked around, but no one seemed to know whom I was talking about. The next day, I went back there. By the fourth day, he appeared. He was walking slowly down the street. He was visibly sick. I could tell from afar.

“Hello papa,” I greeted him. “Hello my child,” he answered casually. There was a grimace on his face. He had mistaken me for someone who was being respectful by calling him papa. He continued to soldier down the street without stopping. “Can I talk to you papa?” I asked. “I am too tired to talk my child. I am walking to a friend’s house to see if I could borrow money to go to the hospital. You see, I am not feeling very well. I need to see a doctor,” he explained. His voice was unmistakable. “I am a doctor sir,” I replied. “Can you treat me?” “I don’t know. I have to look at you for a while before I could tell you whether I could treat you or not.” ‘Then, look at me now.” “I don’t have my tools here. If you came with me, I’d be happy to take you to my house and use my stethoscope and a few other tools to look you over.”

He regarded me carefully. He was not sure what to say. He was in dire need of medical care, yet he knew I could be a ritualist looking to kill him. “Are you looking for human head for blood money?” He asked me matter-of-factly. “No sir, I am a doctor indeed and I can see that you are sick.” “How can I be sure of that? If you are trying to kill me, I can assure you that I would make that much money for you. My life is almost over. The doctor told me that I have very little to live unless I get help. I need money to get medical help and I don’t have the money.” “I am your child, sir. I won’t kill you. Here is my ID card. I am a doctor in America. I am your son…your blood son, James.” He looked at me closely. “James?” “Yes papa.” He lowered his head in shame. He could not look me in the eye. “James?” He asked again. “Yes, your son James. We used to live in that tiny apartment in Ajegunle. There was a swamp behind our house.”

“How is your mother?” He asked. “She is fine.” “Is she still angry with me?” “You’d have to ask her that yourself.” “Is she alive?” “She is in my house now.” After a few minutes, he agreed to join me home. He was quiet throughout the drive. When we reached my house, he began to cry. “I am sorry!” He begged. All of a sudden, all that hate and anger I had held against him all those years melted away. “I am very sorry,” he pleaded further. “It is okay,” was all I could say. “I can’t see your mother. Please take me back.” “No, you have to see her.” “Do you want to mock me in my hour of pain and sickness?” “Papa, I saw you on the bus the other day and I had to come back to find you. I wanted to see you again. I could tell you are sick and I am willing to look you over. No one wants to mock you. It has been many years…yes, it was terrible what you did but I am not mad at you. You have to face your fear, dad and ask her for forgiveness.”

He reluctantly followed me into the house. As soon as my mother saw him, she knew he was critically sick. “I am sorry Carol,” he said lowering his head when he saw her. My mother began to sob. She was shaking as tears descended her face. Memories of those sad, depressing days came flooding back at her. She sat down, folding her arms around her. “It is okay mama,” I said in an effort to soothe her. My father remained standing. He was fighting back tears. “You are very sick Ugonna,” she finally replied. “I am sorry…I am very sorry,” my father pleaded. “It is okay now,” she answered. “God has healed me from all that. It is okay now. Are you dying?” “I think so. The doctors said I could be fine though if I could have surgery.” “What are you doing, James?” my mother queried me. I went upstairs and returned to the main living room downstairs.

I had my father cleaned up and then I examined him. He had cirrhosis of the liver. Well, after all those years of drinking, it was inevitable. He had damaged his liver with incessant drinking. He was living on a refuse dump in Apapa, so we had him move in with us for the duration of our stay in Nigeria. I tried all I could to offer him medical care. Unfortunately, his liver had been damaged beyond repair. I made far-reaching efforts to get him a liver transplant, but we could not find a match for him. As the weeks went by, his health deteriorated. I extended my stay in Nigeria to spend more time with him. One evening, he said to my mother, “Carol, please would you ask God to forgive me?” “I have forgiven you Ugonna. You have to talk to God asking for forgiveness by yourself,” my mother explained to him. “Do you think He will forgive me?” “He forgives everything. Just ask him.” 

With tears in his eyes, he clasped his hands and prayed to God for forgiveness. “Do you think He is happy with me now?” He asked my mother after his lengthy prayer. “Yes, I do but you have to believe it too.” “I believe it, Carol…I believe he has forgiven me.” “Now rest and stop worrying,” mother urged him. “Thank you Carol…you are a good woman. I am very sorry.” “You are forgiven, Ugonna.” “James, I am very proud of you. Whatever you do, don’t drink. I didn’t know what I was doing. I was an angry drunk man.” “It is okay now papa,” I said to him. 

He closed his eyes about twenty minutes later and slept off. He did not wake up. He passed away in his sleep. I trust that God accepted his soul. I did go for counseling afterwards to deal with my relationship issues. Three years later, I am now happily married with a child. My wife is my rock! I swore to do things entirely differently from my father. I am grateful that I managed to make peace with him before he passed away. I believe that God placed us in the same place for that split second so that we might find each other and reconcile before he passed on. I did not know him most of my life, but the brief time I spent with him before he died helped shape the way I live today. What he could not do for his family, I strive and hope to do for mine – to love and to cherish them beyond words and to be there for them at all times and in all situations. And, to love and cater for my mom with all that is in me!

The above true life story was written by James Ugonna (actual name withheld) and was edited by moofyme.com editorial team. It was very emotional for James to share the above story with us. We will be very glad to receive true life stories from readers about domestic violence. You can send your story to us at moofyme@gmail.com.

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Nigeria's leading fictional story blog - my father, my mother, she loved children, alcohol, drunkard, my teeth like a bulldog, endless reek of beer, I had never had alcohol, Lagos, University of Lagos, about marriage was pain and agony, doctor, papa, forgiveness.
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