..”Yes, mother,” we all chorused as my brothers and I lined up just outside the kitchen door with mother holding a stick cream in colour and as thick as my middle finger. Mother gave it a name too- Mr White. When you hear – ‘ get me Mr White’ then get ready for a painful encounter with the most notorious member of the family. The sight of the cane was making the sweat pour out of my pores and my imagination already spinning up how the pain from the cane was going to make me unable to seat properly on a chair for some days. The mental torture was too much sometimes.
As I stood there staring at mother, I also dreamt about how I was going to resist been beaten so often like a goat when I grow up into a young adult. I was going to grab the stick from her and break it thereby putting a stop to all mine and my sibling’s misery. I dared not do that now, though. The thoughts gave me another thing to think about aside the cane dangling from mother’s muscled arm. I am sure she got those from her consistent and incessantly beating of us.
“Who out of you stole three pieces of meats from my pot of stew last night?”
The question brought me out of my blissful thinking as we all stared at mother as she waved Mr White menacingly.
“Not me,” went Waheed, the eldest.
“Not me, mother,” wailed Bashir who was already shedding tears for the beating he knew was coming next if no one owned up to the accusation.
“I didn’t do it too.” Hameed interjected. Mother’s and three pairs of eyes descended on me as there was a silence that if a pin was dropped, one could hear it. I turned to look at each of my brothers and finally at mother who was brandishing the cane as if in readiness to smack someone with it. It then dawned on me that I was the only person who hasn’t denied carrying out the accusation. It’s better to speak up before I was beaten for what I didn’t do.
“I didn’t take it, either,” I finally spoke. My mother’s face stormed with anger and her eyes growing bigger every seconds- if that was possible. Another thing I didn’t mention was that mother hated to be lied to. She could give any of us a mark from her beating for telling a lie. So, I have made it a point to always say the truth even when I knew I was going to be beaten than tell a lie and get twice the beating.
“So, nobody is going to say the truth?” asked mother as she raised Mr White up to an angle, poised to…
stay tuned for another installation next week .
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