What’s the matter? Mother yelled from the kitchen. I did not respond, so she rushed out, a wooden stirrer in her hand. I was just coming back to life, understanding that I was still in the living room, I locked my gaze on her, without saying a thing. You! God will not let you harm yourself, she reprimanded, seeing the cord beside me. She came and pulled me up, and then led me to the sofa. How is your hand now? She asked, checking if I had any bruise or cut. I’m fine mom.
I looked at a red spot on her cheek and her swollen lips which was now recovering. Two days before it had been plumper. There was a darkness around her left eye which stood out on her fair toned face. My mother was beautiful. She had a round face with firm lips. Her eyeballs were large and brown. She had dimples which her smiles used to reveal. So yes, at such a young age, I knew shew was beautiful. But on that afternoon, her face was not the bright face I kissed all morning before school; her face spoke of sadness, and I knew it wasn’t because of a minor electrocution her child just suffered.
I put my hand on her face, touching a red spot with tenderness. She averted her gaze for some minutes, and stared at the dark TV screen, before returning her face to me with a weary smile. Raheem, don’t worry about that. I was in her arms, so I held on tightly to her more, and allowed her cuddling hands to protect me from the world. But mommy, your face, your eyes, are they not paining you? I touched her cheek one’s more and she withdrew her head slightly, her eyes shutting as a result. Raheem, like I said, everything is fine now. Mommy just need a few days and the pain will be gone before we know it. How about I help you get your video game ready? But you have to promise me you won’t give me that sad face anymore. I nodded that I promised. And she asked me to give her a high five.
She left for the kitchen as I began to play Sonic, but I had lost the desire of playing game. As I pressed the jump button on the game control, I remembered how my mother had fallen off the stairs three days before.
It was at night, and mom had just finished reading to me the story of Adamu, the shepherd who used to make jokes about wolves attacking his herd. One day the wolves actually attacked his herd, but the villagers had thought he was just making another joke. At first, I heard loud arguments and then I heard a slap that made my heart pound. You will kill me today! I heard a shout. Then the blow sounds became frequent and the cries increased. I rushed out of the room and my mother was holding her stomach, her hair disheveled, and her ankara wrapper laying inches away from her on the floor. She was in her leggings, and her black bra was sagging, exposing some parts of her breast.
I hid behind a chair. Yet another launch, and with that, my mother tripped and began to roll down the staircase. I ran to my room, and picked up my phone, the one I was given for emergencies. Before the police officers arrived, mother had risen and, upon hearing the siren, changed into a shawl and a lace wrapper. She told the police that she tripped but she was now fine. I couldn’t understand why she lied since I was taught by her not to tell lies.
A week after my electrocution, as I prepared for school in the morning, another argument ensued. It was something about a car which wasn’t serviced on time. I waited in the dining area for mother to come and take me to school, but she didn’t come out. After about thirty minutes of waiting, an ambulance siren sounded on our street and he rushed down to open the door for the paramedics. My mother was wheeled on a red bed stretcher, her eyes was closed and an oxygen mask was covering her mouth and nose. His face displayed sadness; he would miss her. He was, perhaps, worried. He put his arm on my shoulder and said, Mom will be fine, Raheem.
Standing with him on the porch, tears began to fall from my eyes as the ambulance drove away from Fairview Lane. Will mom come back? I asked, raising my face up to stare at him. He carried me and patted me in the back. She will be back, he started. All we need to do is pray as the prophet advised us to. We will pray to God, and soon she will be back home. He put me down, and led me back into the house. My mother had once taught me that the best Muslims are those who are best to their families. But as we walked back into the house that morning, I wondered why grandma did not teach him what my mom had taught me.