THE CALL: A Short Story

I hear his footsteps and I shiver.

“Will I ever get used to this?” I ask myself.

Mom and I used to be in this together. It was our fight, our plight until that unforgettable Saturday when I received her call from where I stood cleaning the kitchen window. I had been waiting anxiously for that call because she had been gone for way too long. I rushed to the land-line in the middle of the kitchen and picked up the phone.

“Hey…” She said breathlessly.

I panicked immediately.

“Mum, what’s wrong?”


I walked back to the window and I remember watching the swaying pawpaw trees .

“Where are you?” I asked.

“Cynthia, I’m not coming back home.

To say I was shocked would be an understatement.

“But you can’t leave me here!” I exclaimed. “What about your things? Your clothes?”

“My life matters way more than clothes and you know that.”

“How about mine?” I sobbed.

He had fallen ill that morning. It was the first time I ever saw him weak and incapable. The first time he could not give me and mum the morning dose of abuse. He had even said “Please” for the first time. It was a day of so many firsts.

Mom had to get him drugs. In fact, she insisted on getting him the drugs. He gave her the go ahead without paying it a second thought because he disliked being frail.

“Run along woman!” He bellowed in whispers.

So, mum took advantage of it and ran away; another first.

“You will soon leave the house to school. This is my only opportunity. Please understand.” She said on the phone.

I did not understand. I could not understand. Mum had married him, not me. She brought us into this, not me.

“Please understand Temi, I won’t have any other chance.” She pleaded.

“I’m not going to school till next year and you know that. How’ll I manage? It’s not possible.”

“Temi see…”

“I hate you!” I screamed and hung up.

I waited; for an hour, a day, a month. Today makes it four months and I am waiting still for mum’s return.

I sigh and wait for him to come in. The worst part is not living with the devil; it is the angel’s stab. I will never hate anyone more than I hate her, not even the devil that walks into the room now for another session of my nightmare.

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