Gogo's Journals 2/4

By Drum Digital
20 February 2014

Is Ben a woman-basher?

Thando spent the rest of the night reading. She felt closer to gogo as she read her poignant words. It wasn’t all bad. Gogo relived their happier days on the pages of her journal too. She wrote of her grief as her parents died and then of her joy as her children were born. October 1963: His anger rose to the surface again yesterday. He has not touched me for a long time. I have almost forgotten the time when we were so happy. At least I have Moses and little Lato. Thando’s eyes filled with tears as she read her mother Lato’s name, and tender memo-ries were recalled. Lato had lived to marry Thando’s father, then both of them had died in a car accident when Thando was eight. She wrapped Gogo’s shawl around her shoulders and began reading again. November 1963: The children had been fretful all day so I put them both into the pram and went for a walk along the sea road. The sound of the surf seemed to soothe them. By the time I got home Lato was fast asleep so I left her tucked up in the pram by the back door. I lifted Moses into my arms and put him down on the kitchen floor to play with his blocks while I made a start on dinner. Ben came into the kitchen from the hallway, startling me. He must have been home for some time as he had a glass in his handand it was almost empty.

“Hello. You’re home early.” I smiled. I knew better than to make any reference to the now half-empty glass of whiskey in his hand.

“I suppose you met a man out by the cliffs,” he spat.

I laughed at the absurdity of this, then regretted it. I sensed the violence in him. It poured out of him. What could I possibly say to calm him down?

“How dare you laugh at your husband! How dare you make fun of me!” He lifted the glass to his mouth and emptied the con-tents down his throat. “You’re nothing but an ignorant, country woman.”

I swallowed the knot of fear in my throat and looked over at Moses, who had abandoned his bricks and was now looking up at his father with huge, terrified eyes.

“You know something, Mildred? My mother was right! I should never have marr–” He stopped talking in mid-sentence and looked at me with a hateful gleam in his eyes.

At that moment I gave up hope, thinking that his mother, in all her evil, would always be there between us, poisoning our lives and our marriage.

I laughed hysterically. His mother would despise any girl who took her precious son away from her. I bent and scooped Moses into my arms. Very calmly, although I was feeling anything but calm, I turned the oven off and went outside to wheel the pram inside. Lato was still fast asleep.

I left her in the kitchen. With Moses cradled in my arms I walked into our bedroom.

-by Agnes Kimberley

To be continued...

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