Adam was four years old when he found his mother sitting by the corner of the bed crying, his father and her had, had another fight; they always fought.
Sometimes he would hear a thud then his father’s voice would roar vibrating though the walls ,
“See what you made me do. You deserved it you wrench” then the walls would shake again and then it would become still. His father had left the house to return many nights after, drunk.
With a black eye and a slight cut to her lips she would pull him to her and cry in his hair.
“I hate papa!” hw would say with his tiny voice
“ I hate him, when I am old enough I would beat him just the way he beats you mama” his tears would flow freely
“No my baby. Don’t hate your father. He loves you Adam, he loves me” she would tell him wiping her tears and his, but he would reply her shaking his head with conviction
“ You don’t hurt who you love mama. Like one time when I hurt my finger on purpose because I was angry. Teacher told me that if I love myself I won’t hurt myself. Or one time..I pushed Carol off her seat because she was making fun of me, she had told me we hurt those we don’t love and I felt bad so I told her I was sorry. But papa didn’t tell you sorry. Papa doesn’t love you. Papa doesn’t love me else papa would talk to me and carry me like other fathers. But papa beats me and chases me out of his study. He tells me I am not his son. He..hates me and I hate him and when I am big enough I would take you far away from here and he would never make you cry anymore.” He nods, but she would shake her head.
‘’No Adam,you are his son. You are Adams Pope, son of Gerald Pope. Your father is just..sad because of what I did, my mistake but he loves you Adam, he does” she would tell him pulling him into a hug.
But he didn’t believe her because how else could she explain the nights he had crawled to their room and heard his father asking her why she never aborted him, or when he had told her that some days when he comes home and sees him suckling at her breasts he wanted to fling him away from her bosom and throw him out to die in the cold. Or how could she explain how many times his father had called him a bastard, and one without a father. Or the times he pointedly told him that he wasn’t his son, .
No, nothing his mother said would make him believe otherwise. His father hated him, he knew that growing up but what he never understood was why. And why that hate stems from the fact that he was his wife’s son and something that had happened years ago. It went on like that for a while. And then it stopped. it stopped because a new family member joined the tiny circle they called home.
A group of his parents friends had introduced them into counseling. Gerald Pope was a proud man, who hated to be told his wrongs and one who turned his anger on weaker persons, his wife and his son..or his bastard; Adam. Whenever he had gone out to look for work and he had come home unsuccessful he would lash out, he would tell her things she had done while he was away suffering and making ends meet. He would curse the day he met her and when him, Adam came.. he would lash him with his belt and lock him outside. It was a constant that even Adam had gotten used to it. Until the day people from their church had paid a courtesy visit and found him locked outside and his mother crying inside and his father getting comfortable with his fists.
She didn’t want to leave him, she loved him. He heard his mother tell them so many times.
Gerald, He had promised never to resort to violence ever again and indeed wanted help to fix up his family, when Gerald was asked why he did what he did, he would look at him, Adam, anger in his eyes and then he would look at his mother with further disdain, but instead of saying what was on his mind he would look away saying
“Even I don’t know why. There are some demons a man exhibits that he cannot explain” he came to know years later the reason why his father hated him, but it still didn’t justify why he hated him and that was the reason why his own hate for the man grew proportional to his.
With counseling, Gerald had stopped using his fist But in truth, Gerald’s mouth and words became as knives tearing down one’s heart-ed walls into tiny little pieces. In front of people he was the loving husband and doting father but at home he was cold. That was okay, as long as he stopped hitting his mother Adam was fine with it. After all their feeling of hate towards each other was mutual
Gerald and his mother had gone for the couple’s retreat, leaving him at home with his nana, (grandmother).
A month later they returned, and there was a spark to his mother’s eyes and a sudden gait to his father’s… oh sorry Gerald’s steps.
They kissed, they danced, they held hands and they laughed. But whenever he walked into the room Gerald’s mood would sour.
For a moment he hoped he had changed, he hoped that his father would want to hold him and even call him “Son’’ but that was a far away dream, it was like he was chasing ghosts, ghosts that didn’t exists. But that was okay too. The light in his mother’s eyes was what made his heart swell in love for her, if by any chance she was happy again and if Gerald was the reason of her present happiness, then he would tolerate his presence. But other than that.. they could go on having their own space and hatred.
At ten, Adam he had come a long way from that little boy who used to cry in the corner waiting for his father to love him. He was a lot older, stronger and wiser even for a ten year old, and just like his father he was stubborn, proud and tough, and bending wasn’t a rule. Showing weakness was for fools.
He soon realized the reason for their sudden spark and chance at love and happiness again, he was having a sibling. But to him he prayed he was having a little brother. Someone to teach and hold by his hands. Someone who would smile up at him and call him “Brother! someone he could wholeheartedly love. He broke into a huge smile hugging her
“ A Brother? I am having a little Brother mama?’’ he hugged her tight
“A sister or a brother Adam” she laughs kissing his forehead.
“ No it’s a brother. I want a brother, gimme a brother” he told her
“of course baby, God willing, you would get a brother big and strong and handsome just like you” she told him laughing.
“No son of mine would look and be like him Thelma, girl or boy they would be nothing like him and I forbide him to come near them” he breaks them apart
“you can’t stop me from playing with my brother?” Adam faces his father, his nose flaring and his chest rising
His father ..or no Gerald walks towards him, anger in his eyes flashing, his mother pushes him behind her and lays a hand on Geralds’s chest “Please, no Gerald please” she pleaded
“ if you don’t want me to run him through the wall Thelma, if you want him to remain here, keep him away from my child” he had said too silently and walked away.
“no one would keep me away from my baby brother mama, not father. No one” he had told her crying
“He won’t baby, he won’t” she had held him to herself, he felt her body shake once and then twice and then it didn’t stop, he held her tighter, he wished he could stop her tears or her hurting, if only he knew why his father hated him so much.
Damien, bright eyes, a happy and chubby baby.. his laughter was a delight for sore eyes. He remembered that night his mother’s screams had pierced his dreams, he had woken up to find her in the pool of her own blood. Gerald was out of town, one of his many trips had paid off. He had gotten his dream job and working on being one of the best scientist at his field.
Adam scared, had rushed to a neighbors, it was raining, it was cold but he had ran to the nearest clinic when no one was at home. Dragging one of the nurses along he had screamed
“my baby brother is coming.. help my mother please, help her” he had cried and together he and the lady had made a run back to his house, hearing his mother’s screams as they ran through the door.
It was that moment he had felt so scared, seeing her blood, hearing the pain in her voice, seeing the woman’s face a mask of one who knew what she was doing as she held his mother down and told her to push
“come here boy, hold her hands boy and talk to her..tell her to push” the woman had told him
Coming closer he had held his sweaty mother’s hands, clasping it together he had cried with her and told her to push, cleaning her forehead with his shirt he had sweated with her, and as her hands squeezed him he bite his lips in pain, as her fingers dug into his palm he swallowed the pain and held her tighter
“Push mama, push my brother out, push mama” he told her “I am here mama, I am here. Push mama, push my baby brother out” he begged
It must have taken hours or so, he didn’t know. Then he heard that cry, and then he heard that laughter from his mother he had grown to love. After his mother had breastfed the child she had called him
‘’come here Adams, see..meet your baby brother “ she said to him
He was bursting in love for the little bundle of joy his mother was carrying as the nurse wiped the blood from between her legs..
“I told you mama, I told you I wanted a brother” he said, touching his tiny hands, and just on impulse, the little child held his tiny finger in his own tiny hands.
“yes Adams” she laughs
But you see, while mother held him in her hands and rocked him to sleep, the little baby held his finger tight, Adam felt as though his heart would explode in his chest. He was bursting of love for this little one. And he knew nothing on the face of the earth could separate him from his brother, not even his father Gerald. And nothing did.