That night, my mother cried in whispers, I saw her tears and I cried too.Many questions ran through my head,
‘Was my father a woman beater before he married my mother ?’
‘Did she know about his habits ?’
‘Why did she marry him ?’
‘Why is he my father ?’
Many questions, but I couldn’t find the right answers. I just sat beside my mother and cried.
She held my hand, wiped her tears, wiped my tears, and then whispered,
‘Everything will be alright’
I believed her, I had to, she was my mother and I loved her.
Two weeks later, my mother died.
My father told everybody that she died after a brief illness but I knew better. She died from the inhuman treatment she received from my father, and, it wasn’t a brief period. She had been suffering for as long as I could remember.
Months went by and my mother was becoming a memory, but, her whispers sounded louder in my ears. She spent so many years whispering I always wondered why she didn’t speak up, fight back or just walk away.
One night, my father came into the house with a ‘strange woman’. That night, I heard sounds, the kind of sounds my father and mother used to make when they were not fighting with each other.
Giggles, laughs and then the squeaking of the bed. There were a couple of soft groans now and then, this was followed by silence, and the ‘bedminton’ was over.
That was how he started, every other night; he came home with a different woman. He drank more and he smelt of confusion and folly.
I hated him, I hated him so much, but, I was just a little girl so I had to whisper. I held my younger sister close and whispered the same words my mother whispered to me,
‘Everything will be alright’
I spoke the words, but I didn’t believe it. I hated my father and I didn’t believe that anything good would come from him being my father. One day, he came into the house drunk and surprisingly, he didn’t come home with a ‘hand bag’. That night, he touched me. It wasn’t the usual father-daughter kind of touch, it was soft and tender but it was wrong. Although I was quite young, I knew enough to know that he was ‘smooching ‘ me. I couldn’t shout, I just whispered,
‘Daddy, what are you doing?’
‘Nothing’, He replied.
That night, he stopped before he went too far, I was scared, confused but didn’t have anybody to tell. My father didn’t stop; he continued to come closer to me. Initially, it was nice to receive some attention from my father but soon he started to touch me in ‘places’, I began to get scared, I hated him.
I cried for help but nobody came to rescue me. He took off my cloth and, in a wicked manner, he raped me. I cried and cried but there was nobody to give me a shoulder to lean on. It was as though he was possesed by an evil sprit. The sound system was blasting louder than my cry for help.
Then, he threatened me,
‘If you tell anybody about what happened, I will kill you and your sister, is that clear?’
I was beginning to understand what had just happened. I had been introduced to the kind of hell that my mother found herself, the kind of hell where you shout in whispers. I was too scared to ask for help or speak to anybody about what was going on in my father’s house. It continued unabated, every other night he would rape me, threaten me and then give me a certain drug to swallow. I was beginning to accept that there was no use crying, just like my mother before me, I had learnt to just whisper.
One night, my father came into the house drunk as usual. He took my little sister and decided it was time to turn her into a woman. I went mad with rage, I felt a sudden urge to protect her at all cost. I was ready to let out hell then, he shut the door locking in my younger sister who kept calling for help.