This is one of the stories that came out of the Writivism 2014, a project of the Centre for African Cultural Excellence, with the assistance of several partner organisations, which identifies, trains and engages readers and writers in public discourse through literature. As part of this years activities, they will have The Writivism Festival from 18 – 22nd June 2014. Like the Facebook page for more updates
Hold my Hands
“I never told you about the other abilities of our family.”
He saw that his mother was struggling to say the words. She reached for him and he took her hand.
“Mother, you should sleep,” he said, but his eyes flashed as he leaned forward in anticipation.
“David, you need to know…”
As she struggled to sit higher, he put pillows behind her to prop her up, then sat and fumbled for her hand. Her fingers tightened briefly on his.
“You remember that our family isn’t from here?”
“Yes, we come from a planet where the people have dark skin…”
He loved the stories about where they came from and how they had adapted to their new home. It made him feel special.
“It’s more than just our skin…and the planet we come from…it is not like this place.”
This part he hadn’t heard before, “What is it like?”
He imagined a beautiful hot planet with bright skies filled with light.
“I don’t have time to explain, but you must go there and I must go…”
He shifted away from her. She had never spoken about their going back before. In spite of the visual evidence of her critical illness he said, “You’re not dying!”
But he suspected that she was.
“Not death…a renewal. Listen! We’re both going!” She said loudly. “You are going back, and I am going forward!” Then she added more quietly, “I’ll be healthy again…in the new place.”
“You’re going back to where we come from…”
He snapped, “And how exactly am I to do that?”
“Give me your hands.” She shifted closer to him with an amused smile. “Give me your other hand and we will both go!”
He leaned back and nearly let go of the hand that he was holding.
“I’m your son, you can’t go anywhere without me…”
“You’re not my only son.”
He stood up, shock making his face paler. He had always been the centre of her world. Her beloved only son.
David remained standing.
“What are you saying? I have a brother?”
“Sit down! Let me finish,” she gasped for air at the effort, “then we can go…”
His mouth opened, then closed, then his face closed and he sat down.
“You have more than one brother…”
“But, where are they? Why didn’t you ever tell me?”
“They each went back to our home…the last went back when I came here.”
Shocked and confused, his eyes moved rapidly with his thoughts.
“Now it’s your turn…it’s our turn. I know it’s sudden… but it is time to leave.”
She reached her hands toward him.
“I don’t want to go anywhere! I don’t believe you! Why are you saying these things?”
Her mouth firmed as she thought; Have it your way! Believe I’m confused because I’m sick!
She waited a few moments then said, “My head hurts…”
She put on a small smile. She reached towards him again, “I’m so glad you are here, my son.”
David relaxed, recognizing his normal affectionate mother. He felt comfortable and his world made sense again. She was just really ill. There were no brothers. He sighed and he looked with love at his mother’s face as he reached for her hands and held them both firmly and securely.
Color rushed into both of their faces as their skin darkened. His body trembled. He felt like he was being pulled through a tight space. His mouth opened but his mother spoke first as his world faded away.
“You will be a mother one day then you will understand.”