Tales About Me

Tales about me is a memoir about my transition from childhood into adulthood...

...while growing up, a lot of people have good things to tell about their mother, but I have very little good to say about her because it's all I know. As a woman, she was more interested in herself (her brothers and sisters and their children) while we (my siblings and I ) were made to secure our future. I remember my mother and her brothers always mocking us whenever my father is not around. They called us awful names and laughed at our inability. Mostly caused by them.

Like most mothers would want good for their children, my mother was the first woman on earth who didn't want her children to be better than her brothers. She wanted her brothers to remain on top while her children nipped from the crumbs of their table.

As we looked, we saw evil under the sun, but we were helpless. My father was a government worker who was never at home. He was always in one of the remote villages in Rivers state, building ovens for the fishers and settlers. Such places as the riverine kingdoms, Opobo, Bille, Andoni, and Okirika, down to Bayelsa. Most times, he would be gone for months, and we would be left at the mercy of his wife and her brothers. We had learned our lessons from the advice given to other children by their mothers. Funnily, she was perfect, like my father, in the eyes of the world.

I had grown up in this kind of environment to know that God knew that a woman could forget her child; that is why he says in Isaiah that even though a mother will forget her suckling child, He, God, will not forget his child. She did forget her children. Seven of us and was all out for her brothers. When I got to puberty, I had learned how to wear my pad and was ashamed to ask questions because I didn't want the girls at school to mock me.

One time, I demanded money for menstrual towels, and she disgraced me publicly; I never did ask for any sanitary ware until her demise in 2008. Growing up knowing that life as a girl was not easy, I learned to save money for my lingering and other toiletries that a girl would want to keep clean and safe to avoid infection. But I wasn't too careful as, down the line, I had caught an infection while running to save her life in the hospital. I became careless with hygiene rules, and boom, my world came crashing down. For a woman who would do a no good thing for her children, when she became sick unto death, my sisters and I were left to shoulder the burden of her illness for eight long years.

Along the line, she lost her sister and was left with her brothers, who never came to visit her while she was ill. She had health complications and a terminal illness. We were always in and out of the hospitals during that period while my father sourced money to keep her alive. From port Harcourt to Owerri, she used only the best medical specialist for her case. She had a superstore, but we were never to pick a thing from it.

She had the largest vegetable farm, and we were made to work the weeds 🌿 but never to eat from it. As the journey of our lives continued, my father's wife would instigate my father to treat us badly, and we hated him for that. Growing up mostly girls in the family, we learned to stay close to each other. This is how we have survived the trials of life to date. My sister would fight men like wolves who came to rip us apart in the public tap. My older sister was the one who fought the most. But for the hood part of my mother, I remember her fighting twice for my sisters when they were constantly bullied at school and in the yard. I don't remember any time my mother was good to me. But I remember times when I was good to her.

Sometimes when we visit each other, we still try to understand why she was never kind to her children. We try to answer the questions that death didn't let us ask. And we always come to the conclusion that maybe she was never loved by my father the way she wanted to be loved. Or maybe my grandmother (a very troublesome woman) was too hard on her, so she took it out on their children. Despite these challenges, we grew up being the envy of the compound. People used us as an example to their children and praised her, unbeknownst to them that we did all the job. She is like the vitreous woman who sleeps and gets all the glory.

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