Orange Rose(cowards)

Emerald tells the story of her family which is headed by her mother, her jobless father, and Josiah who impregnated a girl

My brother stood outside, under the rain. He shivered from the cold; even after the news he told us that afternoon, I still couldn't find any fault in what he did. I just felt pity for the girl, not because she met the wrong boy but because there was a devil in the pit, she fell into.

"Why are you not saying anything, do something," I told my father, even though I knew he was not going to do anything. My father lost his job ten years ago when I was six, still a very young girl. I didn't choose to remember how many years my father has been jobless, but my mother says it every time. The day he visited his friends and came back late, my mother told him, " You should have slept there, a jobless dog that roams around the city" the day he burnt the Sunday rice, she said, "ewoo, be burning a pot of rice o, when you can't even buy a grain." And every other small mistake he made, she would remind him of how she had been feeding the family for ten years.

My neighbors gossiped around, calling my father a vegetable man. We all knew they called him that behind his back, but we gave the issue our deaf ears." Let the boy come inside so that we can discuss what to do next," my father told my mother in a shaky voice. Sometimes, I want to look into my father's eyes and call him a coward. "Discuss what? So, we should discuss how he went around sleeping with girls? You don't even have any right to talk about this issue; you have nothing to offer here".

My father kept his mouth shut, walked to the window, and looked at his son, who looked like a drenched hen under the rain. " will stand under the rain change what Josiah did? Will shutting father up change the fact that he is jobless?" My father's eyes widened as he looked at me; he knew what his wife was capable of doing. I wanted to say more, but my father shut me up by calling my name. "Emerald," he called gently. But it was already too late for me as my mother picked up the television's remote control and threw it at me. 

My mother never missed her target; once she aimed at the bull's eye, it always met the bull's eye. The remote met my head; since I didn't dodge the remote, it scattered on my head. The force my mother used in throwing the TV's control was powerful; my blood ran in a thin line, flowing down my face. "Angel, easy on her." My father said, but the deed was already done. I'm sure; just like my brother and me, my father was curious as to who named the devil herself " Angel." With blood on my face, I told the mother that my brother standing in the rain would only raise gossip and suspicions from our neighbors.

I knew when Josiah started this relationship he was older than me, but I could have stopped him if I wanted to, but I chose not to. If being in a relationship with that girl made him happy, I was happy too. Just like my dad, my brother is low self-esteemed. He wasn't as smart as I am, so education was a problem for him. I remember how my mom would starve him for having poor grades; she said he was just like my father, "fish brain."

After he passed WAEC through the whisk of the cat, my mother registered him in a small tailoring shop not too far from our house. He was good at it. Thanks to him, my father had some good church wears though they were of poor quality. That was what he could afford from the little his trainer would give him for some good hemming he did. At first, I was surprised when he told me he had a girlfriend; he was just nineteen, but it made him happy, and all I could do was be happy for him. He changed after he met her; he said her name was Mary, and I met her a few times when I passed his shop because her house was close to Josiah's shop. My brother, who cried every night, changed; he began to sleep with a smiling face.

One Saturday, he left home for work, but when I passed his shop, it was closed. He told me later that day that he spent the whole day with Mary, his girlfriend. To me, they just went for an outing; I never expected a baby. My mother opened the door for my brother; she spoke to him in his rain-soaked clothes."Do I know the girl?" She asked. "Yes, Mary," he replied, trembling. "Is it the Mary that sells eggs?" My mother asked even though she knew that was the only Mary Josiah could know.

She dismissed him from her sight and sat down, tapping her foot on the ground. I followed Josiah to the room. "Will she abort the baby?" I asked Josiah, who answered me in a surprisingly courageous manner. "We will keep our baby," I asked him if he was ready to cater to a child; his spirit was assuring. After he changed his clothes, we discussed for a short while before our mother called him. I followed him to our little poorly furnished parlor only to welcome Mary and her mother.

My mother asked Josiah to sit down close to my father as they discussed. Mary was the first child of her widowed mother; she had two younger ones, and our family's financial status was way better than theirs. My mother started the conversation."Looking at this situation, both families are unable or not prepared to welcome a new soul. Mary's mother survives on eggs, and I am just a low-rank government worker; Mary will have to abort the baby." I looked at Mary's mother; she sat down with hands on her thighs; she looked at Mary and agreed instantly; I was disappointed that she didn't oppose my mother. My brother, who said he would keep his baby high spiritedly, didn't say anything; Mary kept shut too; my father didn't even say a word of opposition.

My mother, who was an usher in the church, spoke of abortion. I realized that they were six cowards in that parlor; I was inclusive because I didn't say anything. It was as if Josiah and I never spoke about the baby. My mother said it was better to get it done quickly; I didn't even know my mom knew someone who did an abortion illegally till she took Mary for the abortion. On the day of the abortion, I was at home with my brother, who cried all through. My mother came later that day and told us, "We have removed it," she said like she deserved an award for the act. Josiah locked himself in our room; I gave him the space that he needed. My mother slept early that day. After washing the dishes, I went to the parlor and saw my father crying; I left quietly because I knew he wouldn't want me to see him in that situation.

Mary's mother kept calling, she said Mary had continuous bleeding, but my mother will always tell her. "It will stop soon."It will stop soon, it will stop soon, but the bleeding only stopped the day she died, three days after the operation. The day my mother received a call that Mary was dead, she screamed, " God forbid," but what is God forbidding, the fact that we cowardly killed Mary?. Josiah came out of his room when he heard our mother scream.

He said he hated her and asked if she was happy, but he too didn't tell our mother to stop the abortion; he cowardly didn't protest over the abortion. I told him he was just like mom; he couldn't protect his baby and ended up having Mary die. But I, too, was trying to run away from blaming myself that I was a member of the meeting of cowards. He went inside our room and locked the door.

I gave him two hours to mourn Mary alone; I wish I never did. I tried opening the door, but it was locked, I called for him to open it, but he didn't. I grumbled while opening the door with the spare key. I wish I could unsee what I saw. That was the bravest and the most painful thing Josiah ever did all his life. He tied a rope around the ceiling fan and his neck; he was hanging there dead, lifeless. I rushed and held his legs, but they were cold already.

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