“I can see that you kids have decided to disgrace this household, but I will never allow it.” Benson was speaking to Ada and John.
They had both approached his room simultaneously, but he had met them up in the sitting room and started to address them there.
“I will not harbor a rogue and a prostitute in this house, never!!!” his voice was so loud that even Linda could feel the vibration it cased in her room. “I dedicate my time and my life trying to ensure that you kids get the best in life. But how do you kids show your gratitude? You miss classes, come home with poor results, sleep around, smoke and get pregnant!! Tell me what father will have this knowledge about his kids and be happy?”
Ada raised her head in shock when her father mentioned pregnancy. How in God’s name did he find out that she was suspecting that she might be pregnant? It was then that she realized that she was in a more serious problem with her dad. She had taught he was just going to complain about the cell phone and then the key and finally conclude by making them feel silly and everybody retires into their room. What did he see in her cell phone that made him aware of the situation? Perhaps Vivian replied the text she sent to her early this morning and dad had seen it.
“Ada, how old are you?” Benson continued, “At such a tender age you think the best thing for you to do is to sleep around? Telling everybody that you lack home training? Disgracing the family? Embarrassing me?”
They remain silent, both trembling in fear and almost wetting their pants.
“Look at you John, you are barely 13yrs” John, looked up sharply, how could dad say he was 13yrs? “And all you do is sleep around and smoke with vagabonds in town? No!! I won’t take this! Not while I am alive. Ada, you are not going to have your bastard baby in my house and you, John, I don’t breed thieves here so you can go and live with your trainers so that you can perfect in the act of smoking. I will not, I repeat, I will never spend my money on anyone who does not want
it, neither will I house such a person.”
Their mother had already surfaced at his back. She had read the text message in Ada’s cell phone and confirmed what her husband had read.
She had allowed the cell phone to drop from her because her shivery hand couldn’t hold it any longer. This was much more than she could handle. She had suspected that Ada was already sexually active but didn’t know how to approach her on the issue. The mother-daughter relationship she had tried to build between them hadn’t worked out mainly because she had allowed herself to be carried away by dad’s lack of attention towards her and the family generally.
Now Ada was pregnant. The whole world will blame her for being a bad mother. How could she face this shame? Her daughter was only eighteen.
Now from the background she stared at Ada with a scornful look. Different emotions ran through her. She felt sad, afraid, disappointed, and angry.
“Look at you Ada! You don’t know how to respect yourself, how can you make yourself so cheap for men? I am disappointed in the two of you.” Ifeoma said as she broke down and started crying.
The air was so tense that both Ada and John felt like the earth should open up and swallow them, Ada felt worse.
“I will never take it! Once this key is found or the door is broken down, both of you should leave my house. You can go and practice you prostitution and thug life elsewhere. Now both of you should leave my presence, go to your room and get
ready to leave my house!!”
Ada and John turned around and began to leave, while their mother continued to sob loudly behind their father. But Benson wasn’t satisfied with his verdict, especially given the fact that they both didn’t show any sign of remorse, neither did they hesitate and beg.
“In fact, you will not take anything with you, I don’t care how you survive, you will leave this house with nothing because everything you own, I bought with my money.” He added. He had been so hurt with the new knowledge about Ada
and John that the only thing he wanted to do was to hurt them back. How could they disregard him this way? To him, he had been insulted beyond a bearable limit.
He felt really hurt that his heart ached and the psychological pain that he felt almost filled his eyes with tears.
The reason why he had been working so hard was because of his children, but they had disregarded all that and behave like children with no training. What had he not done for them? He had ensured they got the best education, lived in a
comfortable house, fed well and gotten all they ever requested for especially when it came to education. Why would they pay him back this way?
“Who cares,” John muttered under his nose. But it was loud enough for Benson to hear.
“What did you say?” his father asked and instinctively rushed towards John. Before John could turn around and react, Benson’s right hand had already reached his shoulders and forcefully turned him around. With John now facing him, Benson gave him a slap on his face.
John wasn’t expecting it.
“Are you trying to show me that you are now a man? Do you want to challenge me? Or have you already smoked something this morning?”
John stared at him for some seconds, anger building up within him. “I have always been planning on leaving this house for a long time. You know what? My mind had already left this house a long time ago. You can have you big fancy house all to yourself. I don’t intend to stay anyway.”
Benson stared at him, surprise written all over his face, he didn’t expect this. “Fine, then what have you been doing here all along, did I chain you here?”
“It’s not just about building a fancy house. I hope you mean what you are saying when you say we should leave, because it will even be a thing of joy to sleep on the street than stay here.” Ada chipped in to her dad’s amazement. “I wish this door can be opened soon so that you can have the house to yourself. This house is not even qualified to be called a home”
“You are not even qualified to be called my daughter. You have decided to be a disgrace to yourself. I can’t even look at you. You should be ashamed of yourself but rather you still have the guts to talk to me like that. Is it me that you got
you into this condition and made you feel like you don’t have a home? I will be glad to have you take your disgraceful self out of here.” Benson angrily returned. He had never exchanged words with his children before. It had always been him talking and everybody in the house listening. He hadn’t even ever thought that his children had grown big enough to voice out their opinion. Were these really his kids? Looking at them now, they were like strangers to him.
“If I am pregnant or if John is smoking around, it really should be your fault. It beats me that you don’t even blame yourself for anything! Oh I forgot, you are the perfect dad, the manager of Dew luck Nigerian Limited who always gets it
right” Ada replied. This was really surprising. She never even knew she had such guts to talk back to her father the way she was doing now.
“Ada, you mouth is surprisingly too sharp for someone who acted in such a disgraceful manner. You are not even grateful to your parents who sacrifice their all to make sure you get the best in life. Instead you stand here and talk back to
your dad with such effrontery.” Ifeoma quipped in.
“The best in life? Did you say the best in life?” I can’t believe you mum. You think what your children are having here is the best in life?” Ada returned, looking around like disdainfully.
“A lot of your mates will give everything to be in your shoes. You are not grateful to God for what you have; no wonder you have no respect for yourself. Don’t you see your mates hawking on the streets? But you have the opportunity of finding yourself in school; instead you are misusing it by avoiding school and sleeping with men all over town.” Her mother added.
“What do you know about school mum, what do you even know about me?” Ada asked, she shrugged frustratingly and walked away from the scene.
John left after her, leaving their parents standing there with their mouths wide open.
Benson was both unhappy and angry, “Do you know this is all your fault?” he said to his wife, “how can you look at yourself and call yourself a good mother? You chose to neglect the kids under your care and concentrate all your efforts on that
boutique of yours. You don’t know your duty as a mother, now look at the result.”
“Oh please, enough of your ranting. Will you ever stop? Mr. Perfect. If I concentrate my effort on my boutique where do you put yours? Oh, I remember you always take out time to be with your children.” Ifeoma angrily replied and walked into their bedroom.
Her husband followed her behind.
“How can you feel no remorse? I can’t believe you and your children have the guts to talk like this. Do know how it hurts to realize that my family takes all my sacrifice for granted?”
“Our children! They are not my children, they are ours. You are not a stranger in this house. This is your house and I am your wife and those are you children! Perhaps you have forgotten. I believe part of this is my fault, but you also have
part of the blame. You cannot run your home like it is a business organization. I alone cannot handle these growing children, we all need you! Stop blaming me for once!”
Benson made and ‘unbelievable’ gesture, “What do you expect me to do? Sit down here with you to train the children so that you can remind me of how my mates are working hard? Is this what I get for all my hard work in ensuring that this family is catered for? Can’t anyone in this how show appreciation?”
“Please tell me Mr. Manager, what is the need of working so hard for the family when you can’t be there for them!!” Ifeoma was obviously amazed that her husband didn’t think any of this was his fault. “Having the perfect family involves more than money. Money will not speak to the kids when they need someone to talk to and guide them!!”
“And that is why you are here. Tell me, what exactly is your function as a mother? Just accept it, you have failed. Under your nose these children have become delinquents, but instead of accepting the blame, you blame me!!” he was already shaking in anger; there is little wonder why this argument had not gotten physical. “All my effort, to have a stable family has been in vain all because I married an incompetent wife! Do you realize that I have no social life for myself
just because of you all?”
“It is always all about you right? You worked hard, you give your all blah blah blah, but can you be honest with yourself? Are you not working real hard just for the selfish reason of climbing up the ladder of success? It has little of nothing
to do with your family. Besides, what do you call social life when you don’t share anything with your family?” It was obvious that she was all out for him today.
“Is that how you see it?” Benson reflectively asked and quickly dodged from that line of argument, somehow he knew if he pondered hard over the statement his wife just made, he would realize she was saying the truth. “Do you realize that I have just spent not more than 3hrs from when I woke with the family and I have discovered a whole lot of things that you don’t know about the children?”
“Yes, therefore spend more time with the family, perhaps it will help curb down all these antisocial behavior in them. How can you use your work as an excuse not to be with your family? Do you realize that for a long time now, this is the longest conversation we have had even though it is full of arguments? You have succeeded in relegating me to the background with your fastidious attitude yet you blame me for everything.” Ifeoma was still angry but her tone was lower.
“You can try as much as possible to try to shift the blame but I see all these as your fault. It pains me that you don’t see it that way; which means there is no hope for this family. You must accept responsibility for whatever is going on at home, that is why you are the mother here.” Her husband replied stubbornly. “Just imagine my children behaving like rebels, I will never take this in this house, not after all my efforts, never!!” with that, he stormed out of the bedroom, into his study.
Ifeoma watched him leave; she had already decided not to reply him again. If he had chosen to continue being stubborn and blaming her, that was his problem. She will continue being the part time mother she had always being just as long as her husband continued not to play his part as a father. She will not kill herself for anybody, not even her kids.
She went straight to the bed to lie down.