Friday, 26 June 2015
IF ONLY I LISTENED
A short story by Teboho Masakala
It was a cold night in June, with the onset of withering winter and everybody dressed warmly and all in their homes safe and warm. Right there in the town of Roadridge there was a family which was sitting around the fire, with the father perched on the chair holding his daughter on his lap and telling her stories while the mother was busy washing the dishes.
“Now the story comes to an end,” said the father”
“But Dad I want to hear more stories,” said the young girl.
“No Lucia! It’s time to go to sleep “said the father.
“But dad” the girl started again.
“Okay Lucia it’s bedtime, but before that you should first take a bath” said the mother, Elizabeth, firmly. Thereafter Lucia went to the bathroom and closed the door behind her. “OK Christopher, there was no need to be so ‘impolite’ with the child” said Elizabeth with a smile.
“But honey I wasn’t so bad,” Christopher retorted with a smile too.
After some minutes Lucia had done with her bath and was on her way to bed. ,” DAD! I’m done” said Lucia. “Okay honey I’m coming,” replied the father.
Moments later Christopher put Lucia to bed and sung her a lullaby like he always did. Moments after singing, he said to her “My dear child, will you promise me something?’ “What dad? What can I promise?” said Lucia.
“Promise me that you will always listen to your mother, respect her, always do what she says,” said Christopher.” I promise I will dad and I swear I will” said Lucia,” Good girl, and here is a little teddy-bear doll as a gift to you my child” said Christopher smiling, “Thanks dad, I love you” said Lucia. He kissed his daughter on the forehead and went to bed.
One Sunday morning Christopher became sick and was coughing and Elizabeth helped him to bed. “My dear Chris what’s wrong?” said Elizabeth. “I am sick the doctor said that I have a lung problem”said Christopher and he was coughing. Elizabeth and Lucia who loved him so much began to cry, but Christopher told them to stop crying. Lucia went to her room and began crying. The days went by and Christopher was close to dying. Ultimately he called Lucia and Elizabeth; and he said to Elizabeth: “My dear love, you know that I love you right?”
“Yes I know” the distraught lady replied.
“Please take care of Lucia,”
“I will” promised Elizabeth. Then Christopher said to Lucia “Remember what you promised me,” “I do remember dad” said Lucia.
“I can now rest in peace,” said Christopher. He looked at them and died. Elizabeth and Lucia cried all day long.
The funeral passed and Elizabeth and Lucia were all alone in the house, they looked at Christopher’s pictures crying disconsolately.
Time passed, and presently Elizabeth said to Lucia “My child, tomorrow you are starting high school, please make sure you make your dad proud because he is watching over you and know that he is with you in spirit “.
“I will mom and I promise you” said Lucia and she kissed her mum on her cheeks and went to her room.
Monday was the first day of the school and Lucia was already dressed up for school, agog with excitement. “Today is your big day,” said Elizabeth, “Thanks mum” said Lucia. Lucia told her mother to take her to school and she did so. As Elizabeth was about to return home from the school premises, Lucia said to her, “Mom I love you”. “Me too” said Elizabeth and she went home.
Lucia was on her way to class and she saw two girls looking at her. They came to her and one of them said “Hello, my name is Sharon and this is Emily…welcome to SYDNEY TL High School” “Thanks” said Lucia shyly; then the three of them went to class and they were introduced to their attractive teacher, MR MARVELLOUS CRAIG.
Lucia’s first day at school went well and she told her mother all about it and her mother said to her: “Lucia, please behave yourself at school, be aware of bad friends and always pray,” said Elizabeth.
“I will mum. I promise,” and Lucia went to sleep in her room and was excited about her day at school.
The following day at school, Sharon and Emily, now close to Lucia went to her with Emily saying: “I have a party tomorrow, it will be fun!”
“But I can’t go, my mum will kill me,” said Lucia.
“Don’t be a chicken, you are in high school now” said Sharon, “or you can sneak out during the night,” Then they went to the class and as MR MARVELLOUS CRAIG was busy teaching, he looked at Lucia and smiled at her. Lucia smiled back shyly and Emily and Sharon noticed everything. They said to Lucia “MR MARVELLOUS is a fine guy, a nice guy, if he comes and proposes to you, just say yes…”
Lucia winced. “But I am too young to be in love” said Lucia.
“Don’t worry Lucia. MR MARVELLOUS is very rich and will take care of you” said Emily. The school was out, and Lucia was back at home and her mother Elizabeth, as if sensing something, said to her:
“Lucia, you are my only child. Please beware of bad friends, please”
“I will” said Lucia. The next day at school Lucia was with Emily because Sharon was not at school; she said to Lucia “Come to a house party at Monica’s place tomorrow”
“NO!!” said Lucia.
“Oh you are afraid of Mummy” said Emily and she laughed. She teased the young lady in front of her now blossoming into a very attractive female.
“I will come’ said Lucia in the end.
And after school MR MARVELLOUS went to Lucia and proposed her and she found herself agreeing. Sadly she had forgotten what her mother said. Lucia started going to parties, sneaking out at night and lying to her mother. Lucia would tell her mother that she was going to study but she would wait for her mother to sleep and then go out through the window and come back later at night.
At school “Marvelous” came to Lucia and he said to her “Come to the party and I will be there”
“I will my love” she said, now having a crush on him. She kissed MR MARVELLOUS on the lips. Sharon and Emily knew that Lucia and Marvelous were now close. “I love him because he gives me money” Lucia told them, “you know my father is dead”
“Just accept the money, my friend” Sharon said and they told Lucia to come to the party and because Marvelous will be there. Lucia now met with Marvelous after school.
Elizabeth called Lucia one Saturday morning and said to her. “My child, many girls are pregnant and some are dead, please promise me that you that you won’t be one of them and that you will take care of yourself and love yourself”
“I will mum,” said Lucia guiltily, knowing that she was no longer a model daughter. Yet her mother now kissed her on the cheeks and forehead.
The grand party arrived and Lucia told her mother that she was going to read, but she wanted her mother to go to sleep so that she could go to the party. Elizabeth went to the study room and saw Lucia apparently reading - not knowing that she was pretending and she went to sleep. When Lucia saw that her mother was sleeping, she got out of the window and went to the party.
At the party Lucia met Emily and Sharon and Mr. Marvelous was there and he saw Lucia looking at him and called her. Lucia was tentatively shy, but Sharon said: “Your man is calling you, go now,
“OK my sugar daddy needs me! See you girls,” Lucia quipped.
When they were together Marvelous said to Lucia “Come with me and I will show you something” Marvelous took Lucia to the backroom and made love to her. Lucia was in a whirl as she went back to the party. She confessed to Emily and Sharon that she had slept with Marvelous.
As time went on, Lucia started feeling unusual but thought it would go away, but it didn’t. Elizabeth noticed something wrong about her but she thought her daughter was just gaining weight and she carried on with her life.
After two months Lucia found out that she was pregnant and that Mr. Marvellous was the father of her un-born child, and told her friends about her status. Emily and Sharon said brusquely: “It’s your fault that you slept with him and it’s up to you to see what you do with the baby”
“I thought you guys were my friends!?” sighed Lucia in despair. They laughed all together and said “You are on your own, we are not friends with pregnant people”. They left her alone and told the whole school about her pregnancy and that Mr. Marvellous was the father.
Lucia’s world came crashing down on her and she felt all alone. She told Mr. Marvellous that she was pregnant and that he was the father of her un-born child. “What?!” exclaimed Mr. Marvellous. “I have kids and a wife, now you are telling me that I’m the father of your baby? You want to destroy me!” With his rage he slapped Lucia in the face and by so doing he left for his car leaving her standing on her own.
The next day Lucia did not go to school. She did not know how to tell her mother that she was pregnant but instead she locked her self up in her room crying and crying. She knew what her mom’s reaction to the news would be. At a distance, Elizabeth heard Lucia weeping and came rushing to her room which was unfortunately was locked. “Lucia, Lucia open the door honey” “No, I don’t want to” “Honey but why not?” “Just go away, I have disgraced you Mama”
“Open the door for me, PLEASE!!!” “I won’t”. And Lucia cried even more loudly. Elizabeth had heard enough. With all her might she slammed her rotund body on the door until it opened and she gained entry into her daughter’s room. “Lucia, what did you do, tell mommy what’s wrong” “Mom, I did not honor my promise to you and dad” “how my child, tell me what’s wrong, maybe I can be of aid”.
With her imagination going wild it was hard for Lucia to murmur the words, but she finally said “Mom I’m…..I’m pregnant”
“You…..you….Lucia you are what?!!!”
“I’m pregnant and the father is none other than my school teacher. And he’s very angry with me too”.
With the thoughts of how her daughter disgraced her, Elizabeth started to cry. “I told you to behave and you went out and slept with your teacher, why? Why did you do this? And Elizabeth looked at Lucia and cried.
Lucia went to the kitchen and took out a knife. “Put that knife down” said Elizabeth. “No mother, I am killing myself” said Lucia with determination. “No, don’t” said Elizabeth
“Bye mom” said Lucia pointing the knife on herself, “No we can talk about this, you are my only child Lucia, please don’t kill yourself” said Elizabeth.
“Bye Mom” reiterated Lucia, a glint in her eyes. She stabbed herself on the stomach and blood came out, and she fell, face down on the floor. Elizabeth, screaming shrilly, looked at her muttering “IF ONLY YOU LISTENED”
Lucia cried, “I am sorry mother”. She closed her eyes and died, blood dripping from her lifeless body, Elizabeth cried a lot because her only child was dead. She stood there looking Lucia, tears coming out of her eyes, “If only you had listened, my child” said Elizabeth, and she continued crying because she knew that her only child will never come back to her. She tore her dress and covered the face of Lucia and continued crying. The horror, pain and distress, was too much for her. A few minutes later, she had a heart attack and also died.
Copyright Teboho Masakala