I had often heard Mama and certain others say, life is full of uncertainties and nothing is new under the sun, following a long sigh after hearing shocking news.
When Sister began to swell, I knew something was wrong. This unexpected development was new to me. Mama wore a worried look like beautiful makeup and each day she tried to conceal her sadness but I could see through the facade. Mama’s worry did not stop Sister’s swelling stomach and as days passed into months I was scared she would explode. It was unusual.
They talked in low tones and there were times Mama raised her voice then lowered it quickly. Sister comes out of the room crying but wipes her face and pats my head when she sees my questioning eyes. She would say be a good girl, don’t make the same mistake then her eyes would wander far into unknown lands. When she falls asleep on the chair in the sitting room, I touch her round stomach.
Sister finally exploded but did not survive the explosion and neither did the bomb in her stomach. At least, that was what I thought it was at the time. What did I know? I was just eight years old. Mama wasn’t herself for months. That morning when my groaning sixteen years old sister was rushed to the woman who helps fully blown up women, replayed in my head.
Now at age seventeen, I stare back and forth, from my swollen stomach to my tired mother worn from tears and thinking. She neither says much nor raises her voice at me like she did my sister years ago. All she keeps muttering like a line from a well-known song is where did I go wrong?
Her eyes say more than her mouth. They gaze deep into my soul and ask why I have decided to take this path too and continue the cycle of fatherlessness.