By Charles Gare.

2018 marks exactly nine years since my Step mother and I shared the same surname, Gare.

Growing up as the first born had been my greatest strength in me that made me feel I had something to prove to the world. The toys, clothes, attention and love I got from my parents made me think life was the sweetest joy I could ever have imagined. My dad would take me out the most; his usual drinking spots, his friend’s residences, and sometimes we could just hang out for a ride. Just the two of us…daddy’s boy, you know! Whatever I wished for came in a snap of a finger.

At school, I didn’t disappoint. I was one of those envied little geniuses whose names always toppled the class’s list of the Who and who’s in the A Grade. I reminisce teachers back then, claimed I was not only clever but was among the crème de la crème in my class. So brilliant was the little me that whilst teachers had advised me to skip Grade Two as I was regarded as too ‘big’ (intellectually) for that class. I could tackle questions from the third grade when I was just a mere first grader.

I must admit that my academic prowess was courtesy of how I was being raised up back home. My home was indeed a home. I had all the support from both fronts; mum and dad. I was being nurtured to become a responsible and authentic human being of this warm heart of Africa. Life was rosy.

August 2009 was to be the turning point in my life. My parents decided to revoke the matrimonial vows they had made way back before our coming into this earth. They divorced.

Tic toc tic toc! There cometh the other side of life. It did not take long for me and my siblings to experience the wraths of the side-effects of the curtailment of our parents’ matrimonial vows. Three poor little souls were to be, rather, were being under the steering wheel of a penurious single mother down town the dusty Area 25 in the capital city.

Life was but a hassle. We could clearly see mum was striving to fend for our needs. Having been a house wife for a larger part of her marital life, my mother could not come to grips with the sudden change of events.

The durable bond between me and my mum made me easily note that she was restless for a better part of her time. She could pretend to hide it though, but with my third eye, it was all easy to see. It was a game of her responsibilities versus her capabilities.

We soldiered on.

After a couple of years, the gods appeared to have smiled at us, or so we thought, as we moved to the father’s new home.

Back then, I was of the kind who could do anything to run away from facing my fears head on. However, here there was no way out; we, rather I had to accept the fact that our mum wasn’t around anymore and a new mother was to be calling the shots.

By and by, my fears came to reality. Everything changed. I started getting less attention, no more gifts and presents and mostly no more Son-Father camaraderie.

Equally disheartening was the fact that those children belonging to the step mother are the family’s favourites. Snacks, and non-alcoholic beverages (fantas, juices et al;) were only heading their directions. Me and my two miserable bloods were kept guessing on how or what kind of food was to hit our esophagus after a long play in the dust. You know, kids game.

Dear reader, here’s a glimpse of this new family of ours. My father owns 9% of the household resources; the rest is the mother’s. In this house, she is the Boss Lady. She’s the Queenpin. Our (me and my two siblings) presence in the house doesn’t please her and by the power vested in her, she would do whatever it takes to find fault in us and later on blackmail my father to choose between his children and her.

That is not all. Madam Queenpin sources 80% of the family budget. This also forsakes my father into a goalkeeper; His decisions are always inaudible. He simply can’t make a move without his wife’s consent. Was this the kind of life my father ever wanted? I bet all that glitters is indeed not gold. Here was my mother who was not only hardworking but was also a biblical wife; submissive to his hubby…but mmmh! Anyway, you just can’t understand males at times. They are as complicated as how they claim women to be that way too.

Anyway, I can keep on laying bare the life I am going through but space will not allow me to. Anyway, to cut the long story short, through the passage of time, I have learnt to keep my private life to where they are supposed to be; in myself. You will always see me wearing fake smiles but deep down there is agony.

Currently, I have accepted my fate. However, that does not derail me from achieving my goals for I had promised my mum. My biological mum to never let her down.

I shall always make sure my biological siblings get the best out of me and also I shall always be a law abiding citizen to the planet that I am currently residing. Whatever the step mum wishes is my command. I must make my presence in this planet, of great relevance while I keep it real in school and chase my dream. Sooner or later, I must get out of this jailhouse forever and I will act like nothing ever happened if she does the same.


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