My mom and grandmother lived in Lester, a large town just outside of Georgetown, and when my mom was sixteen years old, she became pregnant with me, and to this day, she has not told me who my father is.

When I was eight, my mom left me with my grandmother and part of me wishes she had secretly walked away from me like the guy who told his family he was going out to buy milk and never returned. Not my mom, though. Instead, she sat me down one Saturday in the light-red upholstery chair in the living room and said to me, “Michael,” she never called me Mikie like my grandmother, “Mummy has to go away, but I will still be around, and your grandma is here, and I want you to be a good boy for her.”

“Okay, Mummy,” I replied, even though I did not fully understand what she meant by having to go away but still be around.

Then I finally understood when I saw her in the supermarket the following Saturday. I saw her before my Grandma, and I was about to run to her when a guy walked up to her and put his hand around her shoulders.

My mom was beautiful! She wore a yellow and white sleeveless floral dress, and her long, straightened hair was in long curls dropping down her shoulders. White sandals that I’d never seen were also on her feet.

My grandma followed my gaze because she said, “Go ahead, say hi to your mom,” but after a moment’s pause, I shook my head no and turned away from looking at my mom.

However, when we finished shopping and were in the checkout line, my mom and the guy with her came in the same line. However, two other people were between us and them.

Then my mom noticed us, and standing where she was with the guy’s arms around her waist, she said hi to my grandmother, then asked me if I was being a good boy. I didn’t want to answer her, but I nodded, and that was the end of our conversation.

The years flew by, and I continued to see my mom on and off, and when I graduated high school, she was there with my baby brother or sister in her tummy. However, she was gone when I came down from the stage, and I later found out that she was upset that I only yelled out, “Thanks, Grandma,” and I did not thank her too. So after that, I did not see her for about three months, and when I saw her, I was at work.

I was a waiter at Tim’s Palace, and when I went to get the order at a table, I saw that the customers were my mom and the guy she was pregnant for. I think they have been living together for about two years, but this was the fourth time I’ve seen him.

“I forgive you,” my mom said.

“Forgive me?” I asked, “What for?”

All the tables in the restaurant were full, and although the stereo system was on and playing a slow jam, soft voices of both adults and children filled the place.

“For being ungrateful to me,” my mom replied.

My mom looked as beautiful as always, dressed in a blue and white pregnancy dress, and I wanted to smile at her because she was my mom, and I was happy to see her. However, the look of disappointment and hurt coming from her just made me mad.

“Are you ready to order?” I asked, ignoring her words.

“Did you hear what I said?” she asked, looking up at me.

“I heard you, but I am at work, Mom. I’ll give you a few more minutes, and then another waiter or I will take your order.”

I walked away before she could reply and kept away from her for the rest of her dining time there.

My baby sister was born shortly afterwards, and my mom brought her over for my Grandma and me to see about a week after her birth. Then she returned for my sister a week later.

“Why is Mom like this?” I asked my grandma on the third day my sister was with us, “Why doesn’t she love us?”

My baby sister had a rough night, but my grandma and I took turns caring for her. This morning, as I sat at the dining table eating bacon, eggs and toast with hot chocolate, my grandma also sat at the table and held my sister, who was sleeping in her arms.

“I can’t speak for your mom,” she replied, “you’ll have to talk to her, but you do know that I love you and this little one here, right?”

“I know that, Grandma,” I replied with my mouth filled with food.

My grandma was wearing her black and white sleeping robe, and my Mom looked more and more like her every time I saw her. I just wished her heart looked more and more like my grandma’s.

“Just keep your mom in your prayers,” Grandma said, “she needs it.”

I did not reply as I drank my hot chocolate.

My grandma yawned, then picked up her cup of tea and drank some of it.

“Are you going to raise my sister too?”

Grandma looked down at the sleeping baby and smiled, chasing away some of her wrinkles.

“Your grandmother is too old to raise a child,” she said.

I nodded.

“When do you think she will return for her?” I asked.

“I have no idea,” she replied.

I finished eating my breakfast in silence.

“It’s been over a week, and my sister has no name yet,” I said, shaking my head before pushing away from the table.

I was not at home when my mom returned for my sister, and when I asked my grandma if she talked to my mom about not taking care of my sister as she did me, she said yes. However, my mom did not take it well, and although I do not know what she said, she somehow hurt my grandma’s feelings, which made me very angry.

Therefore, I went looking for my mom, hoping to find her in the supermarket, but I didn’t see her. I hoped she would turn up at Tim’s Palace, but she didn’t. A week passed, and we did not see her, and then a week turned into a month and a month into a year.

Then one day, I returned home from an early shift at work and found my baby sister crawling on the brown carpeted floor and quarrelling at the top of her voice.

After washing my hands, I rushed over and picked up my sister, who was still quarrelling, and when I hugged her way too thin body, tears whelmed in my eyes, and I could not stop them from falling.

When my tears ended, and my sister was still in my arms, my grandmother handed me a note from my sister’s stroller when she found her on the front porch. The message read – Sarah is now one year old, so you can’t complain about having to raise her from birth like you did Micheal. I just need a little help. I’ll be back in a week.

“Sarah,” I said after reading the letter, “your name is Sarah.”

I kissed her on her curly head of hair, and later that night, as I put Sarah in the makeshift bed my grandmother made up for her, I silently promised her that my mom, our mom, would never take her away again.

The End

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