(THE GIRLS CLUB)
There’s a saying that,
“There’s no place like home.”
But to Philomena, there was no hell like home.
It was exactly 2pm when Philomena who was 16, reluctantly returned home from school with her two younger siblings (Vera (14) and Luisa(12). As soon as they walked into their sitting room, they heard their mom crying and shouting at the top of her voice.
“Not again.” She said feeling down and disappointed.
“Sister, are they fighting again?.” Poor Luisa asked with tears in her eyes.
“When have they never fought?. I just wish mum never got herself remarried to that man in the first place. Maybe I won’t have to keep returning to this hell called home. Other kids can invite us to their homes but I can’t invite any of my friends or mates here because my so called parents are always fighting each other.” Vera lamented.
“Stop it Vera! you of all people should not be criticising our parents before Little Luisa. Now the both of you should go into your rooms while I go in there and calm them down.” Philomena said.
“That man can never be my father. And aren’t you tired of separating them? I won’t be surprised if our step father has gotten himself drunk by this time of the day. What exactly did mum see in that God forbidden man? What a hell we live in. Gosh.” Vera said murmuring as she dragged Luisa away.
Philomena slowly walked to the door of her parent’s room. Slowly, she opened the door and peeped through only to see her step dad forcing himself on her mom. She watched her mother scream and struggle.
Philomena’s heart was broken as she quickly looked away. With tears in her eyes, she left the door and went back to the sitting room where she sat sobbing bitterly.
When her step dad was done, he badged out of the room reeking of alcohol. As soon as he sighted her, he walked up to her and grabbed her by her hair. Philomena cried out in pains but her step father pulled her over to the ground and dragged her to the bathroom where he tried forcing himself on her. Philomena cried out as she kept struggling with him to let her go. Then all of a sudden, her mom came from behind.
Using her last strength, her mother hit her step dad’s head with a pestle. He fell and collapsed. Then her mother quickly pulled Philomena up and embraced her firmly as they both broke into tears.
Back at the sitting room, Philomena rested her head on her mom’s shoulder as they sat on the couch waiting for their father to wake up.
“Mum do you think Dad will wake up?.” Philomena asked.
“It’s left for the heavens to decide. If he doesn’t wake up before tomorrow morning, then I will have to kill myself to avoid dragging you all into my mess. And if that happens, please Philomena take good care of your sisters. Be the mother I wasn’t able to be to them. This is my only wish.” She said.
Philomena quickly raised her head and gazed steadily at her mother with tears in her eyes.
“Why did you get into this mess in the first place?.” She asked with tears dropping from her eyes.
“I can tolerate him raping and beating me but I won’t be able to forgive myself if he had defiled my daughter. It’s true you aren’t his biological daughter except Luisa but you’ve practically become his daughter as soon as I married him. Why will he even think of such in the first place?.” Her mother lamented.
“That’s not what I mean mom. I mean why did you marry step dad? Was it out of love?.” Philomena asked.
“No child. It wasn’t because of Love alone. After I lost your father and became a widow at a very young age, nobody treated me thesame again. I was rejected by your father’s people because I had no male child for him. Some even accused me of killing your father. But in all these, there was one man who stood by me against all odds. And that man was none other than your step father. He consoled me and helped me over come my depression. We got drunk one night and I let him into me. The next morning, I regretted everything and hated him with passion but he didn’t stopped coming for me. It was after a month that I got to realize that I was pregnant with Luisa. I was ashamed of myself cause everyone would definitely call me names and see me as a loosed woman who could not control her sexual urge not long after her husband died. I went to him and told him that I was pregnant and I plan to terminate the pregnancy to avoid getting disgraced by people. But surprisingly, he was excited and asked me to marry him. I was reluctant at first but giving birth in my parents house was not a good idea. So I let him marry me without making proper investigations on him. It took me a week after marrying him to discover that he loves beating women and inflicting pains on them. And he doesn’t enjoy sex without force and pains. I don’t know how Luisa managed to remain alive in my womb till I gave birth to her.” Her mother narrated.
“But why did you bear with his attitudes? Why didn’t you divorced him?.” Philomena asked curiously.
“My child, I tried but the fear of what people will say or think of me, kept me in this mess. And also, I did it for the sake of you and your younger sisters. I wanted you all to have a father figure in your lives. And I also endured it because there is a respect that comes with being in your husband’s house as a woman. Ever since I remarried, no one has made mockery or looked down on me and my children. Being a single mom or a widow, comes with sentiments and judgements. You won’t understand till you are old enough to understand the discrimination that such women face in the society. But in all of these, being a divorcee comes with the greatest criticisms you can ever think of. No one is interested to know why you left. All they will say is that you are too stubborn, reckless or proud that you can’t stay long in a man’s house. My case would have been worse Philomena because I was married before and I lost my husband to untimely death. Tell me what will people say when they hear I left my second marriage? definitely, they will suspect that something is definitely wrong with me. Cause the society believes that, it’s only women who are well mannered, that stays forever in a man’s house.” Her mother lamented.
“But mom, what then will people say when they hear that you killed your husband and committed suicide? Have you thought of the way this same people will treat us? Please mother, once dad wakes up, let’s leave this marriage for good. You already have us. You don’t need any one to tell you how to live your life.” Philomena said.
“No child. This is my cross. I’m tired of going back and forth in life. It’s high time I ended it all. Cause even if I return home, my own parents will reject me and treat me like a disappointment. All because I chose to walk away from a marriage that is draining me. So please child, if I finally die, please take good care of your sisters. Just make sure none of you ends up like me. Be independent. Be educated and be smart.” Her mother said.
“I won’t let you die on us mom. Who will raise your three beautiful girls when you are gone? Please let’s just report this incident to the police. With me as your eye witness, believe me nothing will happen to you.” Philomena pleaded.
“I’m sorry child. The society doesn’t care about your testimony. They will all want me dead by the time they find out that I killed my husband. Some will even say that I have done it before to my first husband and now I am doing it again to my second husband.” Her mother insisted.
Philomena kept pleading with her mom to have a change of heart but as soon as she fell asleep, her mom slowly walked to the bathroom where she stabbed her unconscious husband to death and also killed herself.
Philomena woke up in the middle of the night, and could not find her mother. She rushed into her mother’s room but she was no where to be found. When she finally got to the bathroom, she screamed out loud meeting her parent bodies lying lifeless in the pool of their own blood.