April 19, 2015 at 10:07 am #183442
I feel a cold touch at my back. It is harmattan period. I
just want to be left on my bed. I turn around like a fat
cake, but mother turns me around again. I can see her
mouth moving. I wonder what she is saying. But
certainly she can’t be saying anything more than the
fact—I am lazy.
My school is in Ejigbo, Lagos. They say we are special
people, yet I haven’t perceived anything special about
us. Some of us can’t talk. Some of us can’t walk; some
of us can’t see, yet they say we are special. Well, I am
not moved a bit by those flatteries.
I look at mother’s hand movements. It is funny to me. I
smile. I wonder when she will be able to master the
“Rose, get out of bed,” she has managed to
communicate with her hands. She has to repeat each
word just to put them at their best. I could remember
challenging my teacher some times back that…
I rise up lazily and go straight for my bath. When I get
to the bathroom, I see a basin filled with water there.
Wow! It is warm. I splash the water on my body. I
observe that the door is shaking but I didn’t really think
about it. I continue pouring water on my body. Today in
particular, I spend around thirty minutes in the
bathroom. The water is just exactly as I want it to be—
When I step out of the bathroom, daddy gives me a
scornful look. The grotesque on mother’s face also
suggests to me that I have done something wrong
again. Why me all the time?
My father gets into the bathroom and begins to open his
mouth. Since I am deaf, I didn’t hear what he is saying,
but my mother is opening her mouth too in return. They
understand each other—it’s only we, the special one so
called, that can’t understand them.
Mother helps father to carry a bucket of water into the
bathroom. That man—always angry. I don’t know his
problem. He is far away from me more than a stranger.
I wonder why he is my father. Mother quickly taps me
and I face her when that man has entered the
“Rose, you used your father’s water,” mother says to
me in her amateur sign language, yet she claims that
she has learnt the language while I was five years of
age. I wonder what is still keeping her in the amateur
level till now, after six years.
“I used his water? How?” I ask. Sometimes my hands
just get tired of speaking. I wonder how I will be able
to speak if I become paralyzed in my hands or a bad
accident claims them.
“I put his water in the bathroom first because he must
be in Ikeja as early as possible.”
“Why don’t you tell me that before I entered the
bathroom?” I ask.
“Em…Rose…erm…” my mother’s face is clugged up with
tears. I know she is a very tender person—not wanting
to raise anything that will remind me of my status—
deaf and dumb.
“Em what? What has letter ‘M’ got to do with this?” I am
“When you were leaving, I was calling you, but you
were too fast. You have already entered the bathroom.
I only woke you up so that you could go and brush your
teeth and not to take your bath. Your daddy will be
angry with us. He has been kicking at the bathroom
door for a long time to break it if he could.”
I know what mother is talking about: she wakes me up;
I rush to the bathroom without looking at her to hear
from her (you have to look at someone to see his/her
communication). But if that is the only thing that has
happened, does it warrant my dad frowning at me in
that manner as if I am nothing but a fart?
“Is he my daddy? I doubt it,” I say. Mother doesn’t want
my eyes to get those tears in them again. She comes
on time to wipe them off for me. I don’t believe I have
a daddy yet. The only pictures I took with that man
mother calls my dad are the ones during my one year
and two years birthdays. No recent pictures, yet I am
already eleven. Maybe if he knew that I would never
speak in life, he would not have snapped those pictures
with me then.
Who creates me? I am sure it is not the same God who
creates the other people on earth. I have approached
my mother once and said, “Don’t you think it is satan
who creates me?”
“Don’t say that again Rose!” mother replies me. The
vigour with which she moves her hands shows to me
that she is shouting.
“But why can’t I hear and speak?” I challenge her. “I
thought that they say that all the things he creates
“You are good either,” she says to me.
“Good?” I laugh mockingly. Those lips of mine, what
can they do other than eating, laughing and crying? I
have been advised by my teachers to laugh always,
since it will prevent my mouth from smelling. But I
don’t seem to see the reason for laughing at all. I only
laugh to make jest of people sometimes. Nothing again
can make me laugh, even if you tickle me I won’t.
I didn’t feel like going to school that day again. That
man in the bathroom has killed my joy. How I wish I am
not born into this family. If I am born into another
family, it’s only my mother I will miss. Who cares about
John, that wicked man? I think.
Reluctantly, I sit at the table. If only mummy can allow
me have my own meal inside my room and not at the
dinning table. Or what is the essence of eating at the
dinning table when my daddy is having his own food in a
separate dish? It’s only my mother and I who eat
together in the same plate.
I see the way John is leering at me as if he should just
lock me up somewhere. He is guzzling the food as if he
hasn’t eaten since the day before yesterday. He can’t
even communicate with me since he has refused to
learn the sign language like my mother. He will only tell
my mother to tell me anything he wanted to tell me,
yet if he has written them down I would have
understood him. I have perceived that mother doesn’t
use to tell me what my father was asking her to tell
me. Perhaps my father’s words will be too harsh on me.
She has to come out clear one day when the preacher
in our church condemns the act of lying in all its
ramifications. That day, mother said to me that she has
been telling me the opposites of what father has been
asking her to tell me. I didn’t need to ask her what
exactly he has been saying since commonsense is
there in me to know that they were unpleasant things.
I am looking away while eating. Mother taps me. A
mould of amala is still in her grip, but she has
something to tell me. With the food in her hand, mother
gestures to me, “Rose, your daddy says you should stop
looking away from your food.”
I know that what he said is more than that. His face can
tell it all—many wrinkles on his forehead. If only he can
speak in a mild manner to me, it had been better.
I quickly readjust and eat my food, silently as usual,
since there isn’t any noise I want to make. I see daddy
speaking to her again. This time, mummy speaks back
with an angry face. It seems as if they are on my
matter again. At last, mummy speaks to me:
“Rose, don’t get angry, but your dad says that I should
tell you that if his boss gets angry at him for coming
late to office today, then you are in trouble. But don’t
mind him, Rose, he can’t do anything for you.” That is
how my mummy will always say, yet that man will beat
both of us together whenever it is time for him to do
My father looks at us as if he is suspecting that my
mother is saying more than he said to her. I look at his
mouth and I am able to figure out the first word he
“Hannah…” That is the name of my mother.
I fold my hands and didn’t eat again. Father didn’t even
care. He has finished eating the amala. He has begun to
rush out of the house. That Volkswagen he has, he
hasn’t used it to take me to school once. Sometimes
my mummy will use it to take me there if he is on
afternoon duty, since he will be sleeping in the morning
Father points to me as if he is threatening me when he
gets to the door. Mother is just looking at him. When he
leaves, she rushes to me and hugs me tight. She was
shedding tears as she presses her lips firmly against
I am off to school. Mother takes me there herself
before going to her own work too. Throughout the
school period, I didn’t speak a word. Mrs Oyin, our class
teacher is surprised. How come Rose’s name didn’t
enter the name of noise maker today? she must have
thought (we write names of noise makers in our school
too; making unnecessary sign language is a noise).
Mrs. Oyin is a second mother to us. She likes everyone
of us in Primary Six B. When she comes into the class to
punish the noise makers, she calls me out and takes me
out of the class. If only I can hear, then she would not
have taken me out of the class. She would just have
whispered into my ears.
In the office, she says, “Why are you not speaking
today?” I tell her there is nothing.
When I get back home, daddy was already inside. I am
surprised. He is supposed to be in the office by then.
I go on my knees to greet him, but then, he slaps me
on the face. I scream with all the power inside me. He
will be the only one to suffer the sound from my throat.
He didn’t leave me alone. He has come on me, punching
me like a punching bag. Mother rushes in at once and
begin to prevent him. But it is too late. My eyes are
swollen already, yet I didn’t know my offence.
It is the next day I know what has happened. My father
has been suspended from office for two weeks for
getting late to work that day. But does that call for
dealing with me brutally that way?
God should kill me once and for all, I think.
LINKS TO AVAILABLE EPISODES JST ONE CLICK
EPISODE 2&3 (SCROLL DAWN)April 19, 2015 at 11:18 am #183488Khola46Participant
This is too much…..
haha…kîlôdé….haba…. did you create yourself? why would he be doing such thing?….
@ Abeg Tennie, help me complete ahm….
Make you all show for here…April 19, 2015 at 11:20 am #183491Khola46Participant
April 19, 2015 at 12:33 pm #183539MrayParticipant
Tnk yu so much 4 calling me here @khola46. Sowie dearie! I really feel 4 u. U r indeed a special child created by God.April 19, 2015 at 12:55 pm #183546April 19, 2015 at 12:56 pm #183547JencuteParticipant
Thanks khola… this is the first time I’m reading a novel from a deaf and dumb point of viewApril 19, 2015 at 1:58 pm #183582
I watch as mother and father argue over the matter. My
father moves close to her and pointed a finger at her
eyes. I feel blood rushing to my head.
Mother tells me that two weeks pay will be deducted
from father’s salary. I laugh.
“Good for him,” I tell mother. Father sees the smile on
my face and he was suspicious.
Why should I not be glad that my dad is going to lose
part of his money? If I am not glad about it, who then
should be? That man isn’t the one paying for my school
fee. He has stopped doing that since the year before.
From the onset of my schooling, he objected to my
schooling, believing it is an effort in futility.
John won’t see anything good in having a handicapped
“What is the usefulness of a disabled child?” he would
tell my mother.He began to militate against my
remaining in school. He wants me out by all means,
complaining that it is a sheer waste of money.
I feel useless when John gives me the reasons why I
shouldn’t remain in school. It was the first time he
would communicate with me through letter:
What do you intend doing after school? Doctor? Nurse?
Lawyer? Engineer? Pilot? You can’t do any of those or
anything in life without your ears and mouth, I hope you
know. Rose, I hereby want to advise you to pull out of
school and master house works because that is the
only thing you can do without your ears and mouth.
I have wanted these ever since; only that mother
insisted I should remain in school. I am not an
education enthusiast, but I am not bad in school at all.
Now, father says he won’t pay my fee, so what is the
essence of arguing with him now?
I know John is only trying to hurt my feeling, but he was
shocked when I laughed for the first time and wrote
back to him, “Thank you so much. I have been looking
forward to that.”
I had only stayed two weeks away from school when
my mother came with a big shock.
“Rose, you are returning to school?”
“What!” I responded in my sign language. My oval-
shaped mouth also synched the word. I have learnt a
lot from lip-reading my teachers in school, such that I
could figure out some things people are saying with
“You have won a scholarship!” Mother said.
“How?” I asked, puzzled. I haven’t applied for any
“Last year when your father began threatening to pull
you out of school, I decided to apply for a scholarship
for you and…”
I held my mother’s hands. I didn’t want to see more of
her speech. I didn’t buy the idea of returning to school.
“Please tell the scholarship sponsors to stop wasting
their monies on disabled like me,” I say. “No matter
what they spend, I will remain disabled in life.”
I rushed to my room and held tight to my pillow. Tears
was soaking the soft pillow in my grip. I took a little
time gazing at the wall. My thought began to speak out:
They teach us that God is kind, but here am I…I can’t
speak. If he is kind, why can’t he make me like the
other people? I came to the world, useless. How am I
different from the animals in the jungle? I learnt that
animals can’t speak too. Little wonder Bayo keeps
putting leaf inside his mouth every time, just to show
me that I am a herbivorous animal…
My nape felt a touch. The sensation slid down and
rested on my left shoulder. I have shut my eyes long
ago, only feeling the seepage of my tears on my
It was mother’s touch. If I knew she would be coming
in, I would have bolted the door. I don’t want to go to
“You are able, Rose,” mother says.
“A proof or I don’t believe it,” I respond.
“A proof?” Mother said. She was confused.
“Tell me what a deaf person can do that a normal
person cannot do. Tell me the job I can be offered
without my ears and mouth functioning. After then, I
might reconsider schooling.”
Mother racked her brain. She scratched her braided hair
for answer such that the bobby pins on them began to
fall off. Still, no answer to give.
“Tell the sponsor of that scholarship to transfer it to a
normal person. I am done with schooling,” I say.
Mother sat on the bedside. I could see her throat
moving up and down like a jangrover. Her red lips come
out to lick her tears intermittently.
“For how long, Rose, for how long will I keep begging
you to stop being inferior? Rose, just…just…”
I have buried my face in the pillow. I don’t want to go
to school. Period!
In the end I decided to comply. Ever since, I’ve been
on scholarship, so John’s salary could keep on
decreasing, how should I care?
But I still want to know what brings the disabled at par
with the normal people. If my mum and my class-
teacher can’t give me the proof that I am able in three
weeks time, I shall go on personal strike.April 19, 2015 at 2:01 pm #183583
It is such a great hell for my dad while he was at home
those two weeks. The man loves to go to work. If
possible, he will make his workplace a permanent
abode, just to avoid what he calls a sick home.
John tells my mother to allow me remain at home with
him, but the woman rejects blatantly.
What is my father’s motive for demanding such thing? I
am just eleven, so what do I know?
At school, I begin the question again:
“Is there any reason for God creating us like this?” I
ask my clasateacher. She was rash at saying yes, yet
she couldn’t state a reason.
“Rose, you ask too much. Stop thinking of what you
can’t do; think of what you can do.”
“What can I do?”
“You can see, walk and…”
“That’s normal,” I say. “Everybody else can do those
“But Joshua and Gbade can’t do any of those things,” she
My hands drop. To raise them, no vigour. Each time I
remember the case of Joshua and Gbade, I always feel
like climbing a ladder to heaven to pull God down and
Joshua is paralysed and at the same time blind. Gbade’s
case is the worse; he is deaf and dumb as well as blind
and lame. If John is Gbade’s father he would have
thrown him inside the Oke Afa canal.
Some sweat pour down my neck and soaked my school
uniform. Now I begin to imagine how Gbade has been
able to survive the hardship he is into.
It is just two days left for my father’s suspension to be
over when something strange happens. That day,
mother carries me home in father’s blue volkswagen
car. We open the door of the house and to our surprise,
daddy and another lady were kissing each other in the
They see us but did as if they didn’t.
I began to see many mouths moving. I began to
imagine the conversation they were making:
“What is happening?” my mother cries out.
“Is she your wife?” the woman says. It seems she has
just come out of her senses.
“Em…you are my real wife, not her,” daddy says without
any humane feeling.
“John!” my mother cries. The man just looks away
lackadaisically and hissed.
“Em…Toyosi, leave that scallywag alone and let’s
continue our love.”
Right before my eyes my mother is being denied of her
marital right. This is not right. I made a shrilled sound.
At least I can shout even though I am dumb.
Daddy gets irritated and comes for me at once. Mother
stands in his way. The wicked man pushes his wife out
of the way. She loses balance and falls. I guess mother
must have broken some bones in the process.
Now I remain still, harden myself so I can be prepared
for daddy’s beating. He looks on at me and I don’t know
why he didn’t pounce on me as his manner is. He stands
gazing at me for a while, then he carries my mother up.
She can’t stand on her own anymore.
I have to check on my mother in the hospital the next
day. I have missed school that day. She is on
wheelchair, her hands and legs on bandage. We look on
at each other. She can’t communicate with me right
now because she can’t move her hands.
“Get well soon mummy,” I say, kneels before her and
went down on her laps, weeping.
“Mummy, what is the matter with daddy?” I ask in tears.
My mother can’t move her hands so there is no way she
will signal her response to me.