Eta Eta… this was the echoing sound from my mum’s voice. Not a world I would love to wake up to.
I grew up in a broken home. It’s not something I am proud of. This forced me and my twin, Etamenova to live separately from each other at a very tender age. Due to court validation, our parent had to share the properties they had and as well take a child each.
I could tell it was one of the most difficult decisions our parents had to make and I wondered why. Why divorce? This question I kept asking my mum for years but she gave no answer at all. My mum always brushed the question aside and sometimes the question resulted into a quarrel. I couldn’t understand it.
She blocked all communications I had with my dad, his family, and my sister. This gradually nurtured the grudge I had for my mum. I struggled to work on it; loving my mum and coming to terms with my reality wasn’t a roller coaster for me and with my current predicament, I am angry and as well overwhelmed with guilt. I blame my mother even more.
I was raised in one of the oil well states in the southern part of Nigeria. I grew up in the capital of Bayelsa which can be traced to be between Delta state and Rivers state. We were from the Kulukuma speaking part of Bayelsa, and our family had to settle in Yenagoa in 1989 up until 1998 when my parents’ relationship sealed separate ways.
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This was all I got from my mum! No whats, no whys, and I had to settle with this for over twenty two years.
I and Etamenova were born on August 12th 1990 in a small private hospital in the then Rivers state, but currently Bayelsa state, which was created six years after our birth and two years after that memorable year, divorce took a hard blow on our family.
Although I and Eta were little: only eight years, we had a glimpse of what was going on as we constantly witnessed our parents grumble, shout, yell, snub, murmur and ignore each other for days. We couldn’t place a why to this behaviour, and this singular fact so far as am concerned has wreck my whole life.
For the major part of my life,I grew up without a fatherly figure. Truth be told, I lacked fatherly love, and in my teenage years, I desperately seek for a male attention and whenever I got it, I simply threw caution away. Blame me not, that was my ‘I don’t care reaction’ whenever I get cautioned by my mum, whom then, I despised. But now, all I feel is pity. I should have given her a break or cut her some slacks. Life itself is complicated, we all shouldn’t be so hard on ourselves; judge less and live more.
This ‘I don’t care’ attitude got me pregnant at my teenage age for a random guy I met at the night club. I could still recall his face vividly and his name ‘Tega’. My entire life took a different turn. Eventually I couldn’t keep up with my dream of becoming a journalist. I later settled for fashion designing and I became really good at it.
Years passed by and adulthood stared at me. No time did I not wonder where, how my sister is and what she was up to or how my dad fared.
My sister didn’t keep up communication for over twenty two (22) years, so I felt the whole hatred and complete cut-off was both ways. Indeed, I might have been two hard on mum meanwhile dad made no effort at all. I lived in regret and I had to forgive myself and pick up the piece of a relationship I had with mum.
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Over time, our wounds healed and it seemed rosy, but we all couldn’t help my past staring at me. She is a sight to behold, so charming and adorable. ‘The daughter of my youth’. Sincerely, sometimes I count her to be a blessing to me, while sometimes I see her as my punishment. I had no idea of her father’s where about.
Oh my despicable teenage days raging hormones. This I have learnt to live with and bear it as my cross.
On this fateful day, 29th may 2020, I and my mum received an invitation for my sister’s introduction. I was super excited for Etamenova. Finally, our family would be united and perhaps the void I felt would be filled.
We actually received this letter with mixed feeling rather than just excitement. We haven’t seen the both of them for years and we didn’t know exactly what to expect. I felt a bit relaxed because I knew the feeling would be mutual, but I couldn’t speak for my mum.
Atlas, the day was here and we all headed for Delta state, and of course my daughter Christabel went with us. I was glad because she could have access to a family, “our family” because I feared and worried for her. I never wanted her going through whatever I went though.
After hours on the road, we got to our destination. My mum looked like she had an agenda because her dressing was indeed dashing. I on the other had made a whole effort to look gorgeous and classy. I wanted to prove to my father that I wasn’t a failure after all. My child out of wed luck wasn’t going to let my head down.
We all finally met and for some minutes before the groom arrived, there was silence and we all stole glances at each other, until my grand father’s brother spoke up. After inquiring about my daughter, my twin called her over, gave her a hug and we went inside her room.
The room was filled with ladies and all discussion was about Etamenova. I got jealous at some point but I waved the feeling aside, putting on a cheerful mood for my sister. I also couldn’t help but notice the glance here and there from her friends and well-wishers as we both had a striking resemblance.
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My sister’s body language wasn’t welcoming, although she embraced my daughter, I on the other hand didn’t receive such warmth reception; we only exchanged pleasantries. I like to think it’s because of the distance between us for years, and so I didn’t take this into consideration. I was bent on having a swell time, and so I would.
I thought I had control over my emotion until we were asked to accompany the bride to welcome our in-laws.
Intrigued I was, and devastated I later became. I couldn’t feel my own feet. I couldn’t move at the sight of the groom. It was as if my whole body became stiff all of a sudden. This was quickly noticed by the crowd, as I took the lead in the dance formation.
I could feel my breathe gasping a way, only to wake up in a hospital with the sound of my mum’s voice… Eta… Eta…
TO BE CONTD (Check here next week for the continuation)