The Teenager Who Became My Mother

by on Jan 19, 2017

The teenager who became my mother had a way of feeling, seeing and hoping.
It was hope in particular rafted her through the war.
She was not one-eyed either were her hairs curly,
She had a body of one colour: black.
I remember when I asked her if she has ever seen anyone die.
She moved her head up and down: A kind of Yes.
She said she saw five and twenty and more;
That most of them drowned inside of her.

I looked her in the eyes after she had exhausted her dying tales before me.
I saw the teenager who became my mother
and was a graveyard for those drowned inside of her
to see us crawl through the war.


Chinua Ezenwa-Ohaeto is a Nigerian who likes reading and writing.

My Cross

by on Aug 10, 2016

“It’s him again,” my elder brother complained. We all peered through the window to see who he saw.

The man from our church came again to the house. Dad wasn’t back from work. Mum gathered the four of us as usual──my brothers, my sister and me before the man. We sat beside her as she flipped through the black King James Bible. The man spoke. They listened. I observed him.

The other day, before this day, he talked about sinners, sins and saints; hell and heaven. The word “sins” particularly reminded me when mum called me a sinner after flogging me ruthlessly on the day she met me holding an egg, the only one left out of the three crates kept in the house── I was barely four years old. When she questioned me, I said innocently:

“Mum these balls are not bouncing like tennis.” I broke almost all the eggs in the crates as I mistook them for tennis balls.

The man talked about the end of the world. He said a big trumpet would be blown on the last day for everyone to be judged before the Maker. I looked at him, the type that suggested disbelief and fright.

I imagined how mighty the trumpet would look to sound to the world on the last day and the number of Angels that would carry it. The Angels, I was sure, had been to the gym. The particular Angel to sound the trumpet, I knew also, would have a mouth as wide as that of a hippopotamus. I knew too that that Angel would vomit enough air into the trumpet for enormous and resonate sound to reach all the peoples of the world even the deaf.

Because no one knew the exact time of the last day, I was deeply worried. I worried because I might be caught unawares when I might be filling the Five Alive juices stored in the refrigerator with water after I might have had my fill from a tiny hole I often perforated at its side or when I might be at the kitchen at night stealing meats from the soup pot (mum always had blamed my acts on witches that she believed was one of our neighbors) or when I might be adding more salt into papa’s food before serving to punish mum for always flogging me for bedwetting.

“…carry your cross and in this way can you follow Christ truly. Lets us pray,” the man said. I examined him as he concluded, prayed and left.

Thursday passed, so did Friday and Saturday. Sunday came. We were ready for church.

“Where are you going with that?” my mum asked me in bewilderment.

My posture was slanted and imbalanced. I was exactly that way anyone could see in those pictures or calendars bearing Jesus Christ’s images. What I carried was my yesterday’s construction done with pieces of wood I stole from a nearby carpenter’s shop.

I didn’t understand my mum’s reaction; I thought she heard what the man from the church said the other day.

“Mum, this is my cross. I want to follow Christ.”


Chinua Ezenwa-Ohaeto studied English Language and Literature at Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State, Nigeria. He is a lover of literature and expresses himself in writings.