I can never be able to express myself in all the rightful ways considered, even if I were to try. Yes, I lived but I was never alive. My emotions were always so weak. The hardest part was pretending I was fine.
I would always die a thousand times whenever I thought of it. I had this stupid thought that made me think somehow wounds could heal but whenever they would turn to scabs, they would crack open and hurt much more than they already did. There was never a ray of hope that was brought upon the rising of the sun, the story of my life was never that interesting, it had no ending. Everyday I ached to know the truth, who my father really was. But whenever I asked my mother she would snap at me and become angry. She beat me up once when I angrily demanded to know who my father was. She walked into the house brandishing a mango stick. It cut across my back and with every whip like an African mom should, it carried a sentence.
” Has- he – ever – clothed- you?”
” Does- he – ever – feed- you- heeee?”
“You ungrateful child”
But all this didn’t bother me. I was on a quest. A quest to know my father. I was sorry I couldn’t be the perfect daughter for her. It stabbed me to see other girls brag about their fathers and how much they loved them. I couldn’t do any of that, I had nothing to brag about, not even a story to tell them that he was alive but then died before I could really memorize the shape of his face, or the colour of his hair or even how he laughed. I didn’t have a picture. My father was the wind, invisible to the eyes. I had to know which corner of the world he belonged to just so I could ease my quavering hunger.
I never knew any paternal relatives. I only knew those from my mother’s side and it was mostly her sister who visited us and that was it. Mother and I rarely spoke at times. We were like two strangers living together. When ever I tried to spark a conversation with her, she’d either act deaf or change the topic, especially if the conversation was about dads. A concrete wall began to build up between me and my mother, a concrete wall of silence. I slowly began to lose the bond I had with my mother, even though it wasn’t even strong but I had to sacrifice. To feed the anxiety that ate my up every day. To find the shadowed stranger whom I ought to call “father.”
Mother was young but never really bothered to find love. She was very beautiful but tried by all means to cover it all up. She would wear baggy clothes that made her look like she was fifty, long dresses that covered her legs and old fashioned tops. She was constantly moody and that made it worse. At times I would feel stupid for trying to find someone who I wasn’t sure if he was looking for me too. But there were demons in me that pushed me to keep searching. Sometimes I felt as if a raging wind was howling inside me. I’d try by all means to seal everything but it would whisper still. I felt like I would keep plunging into empty voids and I was surrounded by darkness. I couldn’t carry on living like this.
I can still vividly remember the day my aunt came to see us. It had been ages sincee I last saw her. She wasn’t constantly smiling like a shy school girl like she always did but instead she bore a serious face. Mother tried to lighten the mood but it was by all means useless. She sat opposite me clutching her bag very tightly as if she was amongst thieves then finally, she asked to speak to my mother in private.
They closed the kitchen door behind them and began to whisper back and forth to each other. It went on for minutes till I leaned and tried to listen to their conversation, but it was useless. They spoke as conspirators. Suddenly I heard mother break into a burst of tears. Due to my curiosity, I slowly opened the kitchen door although I knew fully well that I wasn’t mandate to. To my surprise, neither of them sent me out or shouted at me for my illmannered behaviour, instead aunt continued the conversation in my presence.
” Tell her now, she needs to know the truth. She’s old enough to understand.”
Understand what? A train of questions began to race across my mind. What were they talking about. Mother then signaled me to come and sit beside her. I felt as though this was my sudden moment of truth. I could feel my chest throbbing very fast I couldn’t even breathe. Mother lay on the kitchen floor crying her heart out. I wanted to comfort her but I didn’t know if I could. My hands were shaking so much that I couldn’t even comfort myself. My aunt stood in a corner watching and waiting so I did the same as well. Finally she blinked back her tears and gathered up her self to speak.
” There’s something you need to know Tafadzwa.”
I felt a large lump rest on my throat. My ears grew hot and my throat became very dry but I tried to force something out.
” I -i- is it about my father,” I asked
“Yes it is she said vigorously nodding her head.”
She told me everything. How she was raped by her own uncle and became pregnant at 19. She emphasized the pain she felt, the rejection she went through. How her fate was signed and Sealed when he successfully and forcefully found a way with her body against her will. The way he stole her innocence knowing well he could never return it. The greediness he had to satisfy his own sexual desires therefore leaving her torn and shuttered. The way he was heartless enough to degrade his own niece and demand her to remain silent.
I regretted the strong urge I had all those years to know that beast in human flesh. I regretted distancing myself from my mother, but was she really my mother? Was I hers to call her daughter? Besides the fact that she gave birth to me. The man who was embraced by the four wall of prison was my father, but who was he to me besides my father?
So what was I? Who was I? I was the black sheep of the family they could call an abomination.
Why did she not get rid of me before I could feel the warmth of her stomach.
I wanted to run but I didn’t know where to go. I wanted to run from myself as well. I felt disgusted of my own being and irritated by my own existence. How could I even have a family of my own, what type of generation would they be? A curse!
I was a state of immortality. I felt as though a part of me had been snatched away the very moment I possessed it. I couldn’t be me, I couldn’t be the girl I was either. Then what was I?