I held my breath trying to listen if there was anyone else breathing in the room. Dang, the silence was unnerving. I could hear my pulse loud in my ear; my heart beat a rhythmic rendition of its own, manifesting a new wave of fear. I cried at the self-inflicted circumstance, the abyss of stupidity and careless miscalculation.
My father was a burly man who swore more than a cupful of a sailor’s semantics. Famous for his unexpected backhand slaps that every time I was near him I would involuntarily flinch. He reigned with terror in our home, mercilessly beat us all leaving us with nothing to salvage but self-pity and burning hatred for him. I can hardly remember a day when he was sober or said a kind word to any of us. There was no getting used to his abuse, everyday felt new and raw. The habitual abuse took out a piece of me every single time, as I slowly become an empty shell that existed as a punching bag for a depraved animal.
Mother was worn out; she was all skin and bones. The light that used to flicker in her eyes had diminished. She had the twitch; she would twitch now and then while jerking her head awkwardly to the left. This was acquired after the devil’s incarnate (our father) bashed her head in to the wall. I remember vividly the image of her crumpling to the floor, blood steadily trickling from her nose. I could hear my younger brother Tariro screaming in the background,
“ You killed her! You bastard! You killed her!”
Father did not give a damn, he growled at Tariro,
“Watch your mouth boy, or you will be next.”
With that threat hanging in the air he stormed out and disappeared in to the night. I was numb, I couldn’t move. I sat in that corner whimpering while watching the lifeless body of our mother. He hit her too many times on the head. Six months prior to this incident, a nasty gush on her forehead had been stitched up after she took a blow from a wheel spanner. There is so much head trauma a person can take.
Tariro was the feisty one, contrary to the reserved persona that beaconed from me. We were complete opposites. He on the other hand was generally loud mouthed and snarky, while I was the soft spoken and shy girl. We were each other’s corner stone; we strengthened each other through out the purgatory of our father’s abuse. Tariro once reported him to the police after father had given him an alarming uppercut because he had supposedly ‘eyeballed him.’
“Come here boy, eye-balling your father is utter disrespect! I said bring your scrawny ass over here!”
He bellowed. I pleaded with him.
“Please father he didn’t mean to, forgive him please”
My little brother was only twelve years old. Tariro stood with unwavering stubbornness, glaring at him in open defiance. Which did not help his case at all. Like a deranged man that he was, two long strides towards him and his fist swiftly and squarely met with Tariro’s chin, sending my brother flying across the room. Tariro got up and bolted, running faster than Forest Gump, headed straight to the police station.
To be continued…