It all began on a rainy Wednesday morning when her parents, sitting across their family lawyer finally and unitedly signed their divorce papers. They have been going on about this for months now and finally, her mother lifted her hands in victory as she was granted custody of their three children. Queeneth couldn't understand why her mother had been so happy and joyous. At fourteen, she knows that divorce is a sad thing and shouldn't be mixed with any emotions of excitement.
The events leading up to the divorce had been strange and collectively awful. Her mother had always been a loud woman, always on the lookout for any little mistake made by her father, and shouting on to of her voice when things did not go her way. Sometimes it was hard to imagine her parents were ever in love or if it was just one of those situations where there were forced into some kind of commitment. They never slept in the same room except at moments when they needed to bring forth children into the world. When they would succeed at that, it would be all smiles and joys until after the dedication, and they would quit their acts of love and move on into enmity.
Her mother was a chameleon. Always acting like the devil in the house and a damsel outside, especially in front of younger men and they fell for it. Her mother is blessed with a stunning young body which would always make the young boys fall for her, and then she would have her way with them.
Her father has always been quiet from the beginning. Always saying little at little times and looking past the behaviour of the wife he married. Queeneth didn't understand why he was like that a few year ago because he always loved Her and her brothers more than her mother did. And each time her mother was not around, he got them lots of ice cream, toys and make her sleep in her mother's room and have a bed all to herself.
But now, with the blank expression on his face, she wondered if he ever loved them truly or if he was just doing some fatherly obligations.
when the news came that her mother wanted a divorce, she couldn't place her feeling, part of her was happy that her mother would be leaving them for her father, well, he was a better option for them. And part of her was sad because they wouldn't be a complete family,But they haven't been a complete family for a long time now.
It didn't occur to her that her mother had different plans until that faithful Wednesday afternoon when a car pulled up in front of their gate, and her mother crammed them up inside the beetle car with a few clothes, and their books. That afternoon they left their three bedroom Lekki apartment to an unknown place that didn't look like it was part of Lagos. The road was muddy, and they kept jumping on their seats because of all the gallops. Her mother didn't seem to mind as she kept talking nonstop to the driver who was managing a nod in her direction. The back seat was hot, but her brothers slept all through the ride. She wondered how they felt about that day. Were they feeling as miserable as she right now?
After driving for two hours they got to a very small house without a gate. A very young man stood at the entrance waiting for them. She was the last to climb out of the car, probably because she didn't want to, she wanted to drive out of that place and go back to her father, but her father didn't want her. That afternoon when her mother was putting their things inside the car, she stood not too far away and looked at her father hoping he would rush toward them and take them back into the house, but he did none of that, he just stood there and watched, he watched his children go. In years to come she would be haunted by her fathers betrayal of his own love, as she would move on with her life she would soon forget about him, but still she would replace him with no one.
The man that stood by the entrance of the house was one of her mother's numerous boyfriends Judging by the way they hugged each other. The house was a one room apartment and the whole flat had to share a kitchen. Her mother never called his name, but she reminded her brothers that he was their new father and from then should always call him '' Dad, '.” It was difficult for Collins who was older, but mark fell right into it quickly and smoothly, he was just three.
The mattress her mother gave them to sleep on that night looked like it was a century old and it had many tiny holes all over. It was as flat as the floor that it made her body ache all night till she was finally tired, and she decided to sleep on the floor. They slept in the tiny sitting room, except her mother, who slept in the only room with her boyfriend. Queeneth would never call him dad, she would always refer to him as ''he'' when she would speak to her brothers, and call him '' Mother's boyfriend '' when she would speak to her new friends. Sometimes they would laugh at her, but she would raise her shoulders high and walk away when she gets tired of them.
He was an unemployed undergraduate, she found out after a few days of watching him play video games all day. They were still enjoying the divorce money and her mother never showed any sign of worry. Queeneth couldn't wait for weekends when her father would come and pick them up as stated in court. But weekend flew past, and there was no sign of him. Her mother laughed at her all through the weekend till she could laugh no more. She gave her father another chance, and another, and another until her tolerance level thinned, and she just gave up.
Two years now and she never went back to school. Her father's money stopped coming in a year ago, and she was mostly forgetting how he looked like. Her mother forced her to start selling fruits by the roadside, and she had made lots of fruit seller friends, and they walked in groups and ran when they need to. She knew her life wasn't meant to be this way, and she pitied her younger brother Collins who is just 11 and already getting dirty with black oil, and exhaust fumes. She was sad for mark who was just five and have to babysit his two younger siblings all day. And For the first time she pities her mother who is already frustrated and tired and receives all the beatings in the world from her also frustrated and tired unemployed undergraduate boyfriend.
Their lives would have been a lot better if her parents had just mended things together like real adults, or if her father had taken custody of her and her brothers, or if her parents had never been married to each other in the first place.
As she stood by the side of the road that evening and called on to pedestrians to buy her fruits. Two people climbed into a car at the opposite side of the road, they kissed each other from their seats, and she was sure that the man looked very familiar.