Gary, my half brother, insisted we celebrate his birthday, at least at home. Though our family doesn't have the culture of celebrating birthdays, we agreed. Since we thought it would also be an avenue to celebrate his graduation from Secondary School and the good grades he made in his SSCE. I wished the two years left for me to graduate from the University came speedily so I could grandly celebrate my graduation too.

While Mum, Gary and I were celebrating, dad walked in. He was totally reeking of alcohol, so we paused celebrating. Our six eyes were all fixed at him but Mum's two showed more disappointment. He wouldn't change, despite all his regular promises, she must have thought.

I bet, he didn't notice Gary and I seated at the table, he went straight to his wife and made an attempt to hold her. He started saying words that no one understood, despite our silence and attention. As he did speak, he threw up on the table. His vomit splashed all over mummy's body.

Seeing her reaction, he apologized. She shook her head, muttering "it's fine, it's okay" while she left for their bedroom. Dad walked right behind her and banged the bedroom's door. That ended our celebration. Simultaneously, Gary and I sighed.

We were doing the house chores when we heard mom and dad arguing. "Josh, We've been married for 20years, but for ten years now, you'd always come home drunk, making resolutions you wouldn't keep.  Aren't you tired of being robbed of your phones and money? If you aren't, I am. I am leaving you" Maybe, it hit him hard too, but mummy's threat did surprise us. She isn't fond of empty blabs.

"I've tried so hard to stop Annie, but I just can't". "You can't" she screamed "Perhaps you will stop after I leave you. You've hurt me more than I can recall. Upon having a child with your mistress, you still don't fulfill your responsibilities as head of the family. I'm tired! I'm leaving".

"No! You can't leave, I'd change. I promise. I'd be a new man" As the arguments persisted, we moved closer, with our ears almost attached to their door. "Stop packing your things, you can't leave me. I own you, you belong to me. You can't leave me to see shame", he said fiercely.

Just then, we heard a thud and a brief scream.  I dashed open the door and found mummy lying helplessly on the ground. Dad stood petrified and confused. He had pushed her in an attempt to stop her from leaving.  She hit her head so hard on the edge of the table before falling to the ground. "Take care of Gary", she said, as she gestured for him to come within her embrace. Before he did, she breathed a long breath and laid lifeless. Mom was dead.

We cried. Dad cried with us too. He was shivering. "I will end in jail if anyone hears this".  We don't want that too. If he goes to jail, who would sponsor us; who will feed us; who will accommodate us? As I cried, I thought deeply and cried even more.

By Freda Longs

1.  What would you advise me to do?
- Should I call it an accident and keep it a secret.
-  If I keep it a secret, assuming you are in my shoes, do you think I can ever forgive the man that killed my mother?

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