I drove my mother crazy
I remember the last horrible thing my mother did to me was to embarrass me in front of my cousin. She is my senior by a few years. Because of this big time humiliation, it broke off a good correspondence with this boy that this cousin had a hand in our correspondence. She set up an introduction without both of us meeting. After that incident, there was awkwardness between my cousin and me. I created the barrier out of shame. For a long, long time it was very painful to think about it let alone talk.
I can’t remember exactly who started writing first. He was my cousin’s god-brother, a fellow church member. We had been corresponding for some months before he paid me a surprised visit. I was in Form Two. I was walking home from the nearest bus stop when my youngest sister came looking for me. At first I was frightened as I thought she came to warn me about my mother waiting for me in anger.
She told me there was a boy waiting for me at home. He came in a taxi. My first thought was to run away but I didn’t. I could be seen from afar with my sister. It was a very nervous me that walked slowly towards my house. There was a taxi that parked opposite my house with its engine running. There were people inside it besides the taxi driver but I was too nervous to give them a close look.
I had been making a point of avoiding boys and here I was about to meet one and it had to be in the presence of my mother. She was unpredictable. I was quite fearful of the kind of reaction she would have given. It rattled me. I hurriedly gave the boy a glance. He was short and stocky. He had light brown complexion. Surprisingly, my mother wasn’t fazed that a boy of different race came to pay her daughter a visit. I hurriedly gave him a handshake and then rushed into my room to change my uniform into something I had just grabbed from my pile of clothes. I had trouble finding my flip-flops and my mother said something that made me feel inept. I don’t remember what this Eurasian boy and I talked about. By the time I waved him and the taxi off I realized we had been the center of attraction. My neighbors had been watching us from their houses. His next letter told me he could understand my dialect. When I thought back what my mother said in his presence I blushed.
I was stung by a bee on my nose which swelled double its size. I looked so hideous. Unfortunately, my mother chose that day to stay at home. My cousin chose that day to pay us a visit. I was in my room feeling miserable when I heard my mother talking to my cousin. I quickly dashed into my elder brother’s room and locked up the door. Hoping that my mother would assume I wasn’t at home. When my cousin asked for me, I heard my mother reply that I was around. She started calling for me. But my silence didn’t deter her. She must have been searching all the rooms and finally she was knocking hard and loud on the locked door. The warning was ringing in my head. She seemed to have this urgency to flush me out from my hiding.
My elder brother liked to lock his room to keep his siblings from entering while he was away, but we managed to climb into the room through the gap. His was the only room in the house that had a gap above the door frame. My brother climbed over the door when he forgot his key and his siblings climbed over it when we wanted to invade his room.
My mother was getting angrier and angrier by my show of disobedience. All her shouting and banging didn’t budge me to open the door. I was too scared, all I could do was wait and see what happened. Suddenly, the banging stopped but not for long. It was a frightening sight to have her furious face appeared over the gap and the next frightening thing was her hand swinging a “parang” over the door knob. After a few swings, the door was opened. She removed the stool before she charged into the room to give me the first stinging blow. More blows were to follow. My cousin was the silent witness. After the shock of first few seconds or minutes, I just blocked out my consciousness of my cousin’s presence. It was too humiliating and hurting.
I felt so alone in my suffering. My fellow sufferers seemed to have deserted me. My youngest sister was running an errand. My middle sister had left home since she was twelve going thirteen. It had been almost a year. At that time she didn’t realize she was making her escape by choosing to stay with a cousin she’d hardly known.
It was another blow to my pride when my Eurasian pen-pal wrote that my cousin told him about it. I didn’t reply to his letters. Finally, he said he wouldn’t disturb me any further so that I could concentrate on my studies to prepare for my important exams. When I was in Form Four he arrived at my doorstep with his younger brother on his bike. I was very cool as I had nothing to give not even friendship.