Mum and Dad stood on the sideline waving proudly at him as he sits in the cockpit of the aircraft. He looks handsome in his all-white pilot uniform. This is his first time flying and the joy on his parents’ face that their child is finally living his dream made his eyes water a bit. Mum shields her eyes from the sun, she had refused to wear her sunglasses because she “wants to see her son directly, no barriers”. David smiled remembering his mum saying that to his dad and himself a few days back. They are both proud of their only son.
Wait! Did I just say that?
I keep forgetting I’m no longer an only child as Mum decided to get pregnant when I was 20 and I’m only just remembering the toddler in the stroller in front of her. My baby brother came along 18 months ago and even though I fell in love with the boy from the very second I laid my eyes on him, I still can’t help feel the stab of betrayal every once in a while when I remember I am no longer an only child. It’s silly, I know but I can’t help myself.
I shut the door of the cockpit and was about to launch my first flight ever when…
“Answer me then, if you don’t have anything to hide, why do you always hesitate to give me a response, Tade?” The woman said.
“I can’t do this again this morning” A male voice replied.
Three-year-old David grunted from his sleep. He stretched his hand to pick up his pillow from the floor where it must have fallen while he slept. He placed the pillow over his head and turned to his side, pressing the pillow harder against his ears in an attempt to shut out the voices coming from the living room.
His thoughts drifted to those moments when Mum would come wake him up in the morning and carry him like a baby to the sitting room where Dad would be waiting for them both with the family’s big Bible and a devotional written by their Pastor sitting opened on his laps. He remembered how his parents allowed him lead the praise-worship. He would sing songs from his Sunday School and his parents would laugh at him whenever he mumbled up the lyrics of any song. Dad would scratch his head tenderly with a smile, but they still let him lead the songs because he loved it. Dad would read from the devotional and the big bible, after which the three of them took turns praying.
Long gone were those nights Mum and Dad would sit by his bed side. Mum would read him a bedtime story and Dad would act it out, make funny sounds for the characters and tickle him as Mum read. Those sessions usually end with Mum kissing him on the forehead, Dad fist-bumping him before tucking him in and three of them exchanging their “I love yous”, before his bedroom light went off, door closed and the sound of his parents footsteps fading out as they walked back to their room. Most times, he heard Mum giggling like the girls in his kindergarten class before everywhere went quiet.
But now, his parents’ voices fighting about one thing or another was all that woke him up in the mornings. He did not understand how two people wake up every day with something new to argue or fight about. It seems all they dreamed about was what the next morning’s argument should be.
David was once a happy child; soft and cuddly. He never liked to admit to being just Three years old as he would always answer anyone who ask for his age with, “I’ll be four in a couple of months.” Mum always told him it’s okay to be a Three year old but David just couldn’t wait to be as big as his Dad.
Dad and Mum always held his hands whenever they went out and sometimes they would both swing him. He enjoyed it more whenever Dad carries him on his shoulder as they walk through the fleet of shelves in the mall because Mum didn’t want him picking things from the racks. Even though that meant he only got whatever chocolate cookies Mum picked for him, he enjoyed Dad carrying him that way around the mall .
“Good wives don’t nag their husbands everyday Cynthia” his dad’s voice jolts his back to reality.
“Aaaarrgh…” David sat up angrily.
“Well, I stopped being the good wife because you, my dear husband became a bad husband!” he heard his mum bark back.
“The only explanation I can think of is you seeing another woman, because men only change drastically like this when they lose their job or they are broke but you Tade, have a good job and God knows we are far from being broke. So tell me what other option i should consider?”
David could hear Dad’s hiss and it sounds like he’s moving around, probably looking for his car keys. He does that whenever he and Mum has a fight. He would pick his car keys and leave the house only to return late at night when David would have fallen asleep on the couch waiting for him. He sees less of his Dad these days.
David got down from the bed and dragged his feet lazily towards the sitting room. He got to the doorpost just in time to see Mum moving to obstruct Dad from opening the front door.
“You are going nowhere until you give me an answer”
Dad tries to pull her aside but she wouldn’t bulge.
“Who is she Tade?!” Mum demanded angrily
“Cynthia please get out of my way” Dad said calmly.
“Mr Man, you are going nowhere. Besides where are you going to by 5:30 am if not to your mystery woman’s place, ehn Tade”
“Cynthia please get out of my way before I do something we’ll both regret” Dad replied, his voice an octave higher.
“Oh! Now you want to beat me? You want to take your irresponsibility a step higher, right Tade? Mum said pushing herself against him. Dad pushed her aside lightly and as he made to open the door, Mum pushed herself back at him causing him to lose his balance, he stretched his hand out to the wall to keep him fall falling down. Before David could fully comprehend what was happening, Dad landed a slap across Mum’s face.
Mum put her hands to her face, shocked.
David gasped in horror.
They both turned towards him, surprised to see him standing there.
David saw the look in his Dad’s eyes as his gaze moved from him to his mum, then his dad stepped out of the house and he knew instantly… this is it; the beginning that is accompanied by a journey that never ends admirably.
Thanks for reading. Please let me know your thoughts about this story are in the comment section. I’ve always wanted to write a short piece about domestic violence from a child’s perspective.
Commander-in-Chief of hugs, kisses and smiles.