A part of me just always knew; somewhere deep inside me, I always knew that they were not my parents. Call me insecure but I know the signs of pseudo-love when I see them.
I am supposedly the first born of my supposed parents. I don’t remember a life before them but I’m sure one existed – I have been sure since I was about 10. I have 3 younger brothers and 1 sister who I absolutely adore, not because hey are kind to me, but because I knew them before this world tainted their opinion about me.
I remember when Jude was born. The only other person he let carry him apart from our mom was me. I couldn’t really carry babies then but our mom would sit me down and place him on my laps. This was only when visitors were around.
I had noticed that she never let me come even near her baby not to talk of touching him. So, whenever visitors came to visit us, I’d stand in their presence and openly demand to carry ‘my baby’. They would all ogle and prompt our mom to give me the baby, so she’d then tell me to sit and then would place him in my laps. At first, she used to protest that the baby didn’t like anyone else touching him, but with time all our frequent visitors knew that Jude adored me.
After every of such visits, I used to get the beating of my life.
Take Leke, my second brother as another example. When he was only 3, he confronted our dad on why he used to beat me for crimes committed by me and those committed not by me. Now he has a scar across his left eyebrow: it is from hitting his head against the edge of the wall while running away from our raging father that day.
But these boys have grown to be like their/our parents. Leke no longer can look me in the eye. He doesn’t know why he hates me, but he believes that if his mommy and daddy hate me, then I must have done something terrible on my way out of Mommy’s womb.
I have gotten very used to the frequent floggings and deprivations my so-called parents met out to me. I have lived with it all my life, it’s not a big deal. But I never seem to get used to the name-calling. It is so emotionally destroying.
Ever since I can remember, my mother calls me ‘Oloshi‘ and ‘Idiot‘ and ‘Bad luck head‘ and ‘Fool‘ and my father calls me ‘Nincompoop‘ and well, ‘Nincompoop‘. Everytime I hear those words, my nerves grate. Sometimes, I even find myself believing that I carry bad luck, or that I’m indeed foolish. It’s so sad.
But today; I am happy because I found a breakthrough.
Last week, I FINALLY overheard my fake parents arguing about me (they usually keep it hush hush when they do… I only hear snippets of my name). And the man I thought was my father said to the woman I thought was my mother, ‘-but wasn’t that the same thing he told us 18 years ago? That if we picked that nincompoop from the dustbin, God’s face will shine on us. Tell me, doesn’t it seem like God turned away from us once we did. The nincompoop is so ugly, God cannot even look. And now you want us to also fall for the same trap and give him our car? I suspect you and -‘
That was all I needed to hear. Yes indeed, I am 18 and I am only discovering that my cot was once a pile of debris.
I have been walking around in a haze since that day thinking, ‘well, a stupid foolish nincompoop is actually an abandoned stupid foolish nincompoop’
The breakthrough I talked about though was in class today. Someone shouted my name and surname: Jude Aderogba! And someone else said ‘Aderogba, Ofili is calling you‘ and in that moment I thought, ‘In these people’s minds, they are sure that I am an Aderogba, that Mr. Aderogba is my father, but they are wrong. That’s not my name. And I know that. They think that’s a fact but they are wrong. They believe it’s the truth, but they are lying. This is the same with all the names mother and father call me. They believe that they are saying the truth, and so they say it. But saying it doesn’t make it true. I know the truth; I’m not any of those words they say. I don’t have to believe them when they call me foolish. Just like Aderogba, that’s not my name!’