UnSeparating: Mom

“When the world is colder than cool;

I’ll wrap you in my arms and bless you with the warmest embrace.

When hell switches sides with the earth

And the heat gets too unbearable for you,

I’ll trade my warmth for icy heartlessness

And take you in my arms until I am melted into perfect oblivion”

I stuck my phone in front of my mom and showed her the picture I had taken of the poem. She frowned and squinted at first, her eyes trying to get adjusted to the brightness of the screen and her mind trying to understand the rush of long-buried emotions. I stared. 

When she was done reading she asked me where I got the poem from and I explained to her. I told her about my visit to dad and about how I think that they both should have some talking done and decide whether this separation is not already long overdue. 

She sighed and said, ‘Diana, stand up from there and come and lie down on the bed with me’ 

I went and snuggled beside my mom. She always knows how to get me on her side; literal and figuratively. 

Stroking my hair, she began. ‘You are such an amazing kid; always have been. I remember the day you were born. I woke up so happy I couldn’t believe it. Your two elder siblings had given me so much pain during pregnancy that I didn’t look forward to their births. It was because I had you so painlessly that I decided to even go for another child. That is, as painlessly as a human being can come out of another human being’ she laughed and then continued, still stroking my hair. 

‘Your siblings are grown and I just realize that you are as well. You’re what? 21 yes? Yes.’ Taking a deep sigh, she said, ‘Your father and I are divorced, my love. We divorced last year finally. The separation was just to give one another space while the proceedings and such were going on. I am sorry for not telling you and your brother, Daniel’ 

For the first few seconds, I was in great denial, but after a terrible and sharp pain went through the middle of my head down to my back and then settled in my stomach like bad milk, it hit me that my parents were truly divorced. 

My mom was speaking but I cannot say exactly what it wasshe was saying. I was thinking about so many things. Like how many people in Nigeria have an actual divorce? Why did I not have a say in court to decide who I wanted to stay with? Is that only in the movies?  Why didn’t they tell Daniel and I, but told the others?  We are entitled to as much explanation as they are. What was so bad that made my parents beg the law to help them break the contract that existed between them? When were they planning on telling Daniel and I? Isn’t divorce a sin, even?

Tears were welling up in my eyes and I felt my heart start to doubt the existence of a place of lasting love in marriage. 

My mom sat up and sat me up and said , ‘Listen Diana. That you hear that someone once failed Primary 1, does not give you the assurance that you’ll fail as well. That you hear that dropouts exist does not deter you  from believing that there are those who go through school and graduate.

Lasting love is realer than unlasting love. If you focus on the number of things that can go wrong in a marriage,  and because of that choose not to trust anyone, you’ll never even have any reason to trust anyone. 

I am not your standard, my love. I am the least you can be! And that is why I am sure, that you will find true joy, love and peace in your life and marriage’ 

I slept off sobbing in her arms.

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