Dad’s “hit and run” tactics with Mama

Mama often tends, in every discussion, to wander off into all sorts of  by-paths, hardly germane to the main topic of discussion. As old age developed, both her mind and body grew quiescent, she became less and less focused. “Why was Mama insisting I should not forget to take my toothbrush and even asked what color my tongue was?”

   Mama is now in retirement; she has allowed her once fertile brain to grow feeble through desuetude. When my two half-sisters were still around, I had the excuse to remain idle. I lacked fortitude. After leaving secondary school, I got nowhere through occasional and desultory efforts to find a job. Mama often reproved me for lack of effort.

“You always say you will do this and that, but when it comes to the crunch, you always do nothing.”

“Mama don’t get me wrong. This time, I promise to be as resolute as an Old Testament Prophet!” I re-assured Mama.

I could realize that Mama was in a really bad mood that morning. In a low guttural growl she said:

“Just make sure you don’t follow the footsteps of your Dad.”

   I knew Dad left Mama for another woman when I was only two. He returned to Mama’s fold when he got broke and I was six. He left Mama again for a younger woman when I was thirteen, returned when I was 21, left when I was 22 and came back when I was 24. It was indeed irritating to see Dad hold on to Mama during hard times, but would have no conscience jettisoning Mama for other women once fortune begun to smile upon him.

There are some women who will forgive a husband his sexual peccadilloes as long as he cherishes and provides for the family. Mama was that sort of woman. Dad was an elderly gentleman; he was old-fashioned, but often tended to regard pretty young females as delectable young ladies.

   Even when Dad was still with Mama, he would leave home for days without calling back to ask of our well-being. I remember once Dad left home for days and never returned. We were running short of money and I suggested to Mama that we break open Dad’s suitcase and forge his signature in order to go withdraw money for our upkeep. At first, Mama hesitated, then gave me the green light after she was convinced Dad was not coming back soon.

 To be continued…

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