A demon came into my mother when I was seven… I knew it was a demon because she had changed. She was now shouting at father when father shouted at her and yanked her hair; she was not crying and begging and hiding in my room again.
I think I liked her begging and hiding, because that was quieter; at least father would go out of the house after standing for about ten minutes outside my door, and would come back late at night or the next morning.
I liked the hiding also because she fell asleep in my room every time, stroking my head and telling me “sorry”, like I was the one crying and in pain, till we both fell asleep. I never cried; she always did, but I loved the silence and hiding.
I used to try not to think then, whenever his shouting began; I just listened for mother’s cries and pleas and opened my door a crack, waiting for her to run in so I could lock the door and father could go out.
I was used to the pattern, and it seemed alright because, surely, mother must have been always doing something bad for father to always be handling her like that. Certainly, father’s a good man, and wouldn’t just be punishing mother for no reason. I learnt from that time that evil was evil, and good needs to punish evil, and I believed I knew the difference.
The demon came after she had been listening to all those things on TV about how a woman was this and that and bla and the other bla. She had also made a friend in a newneighbour whose perfume always brought out hands to squeeze my neck, and whose makeup gave me nightmares at night. I hated her so, and when mother would take me visiting with her, I was disgusted by the rolls of flesh on her neck, and I imagined how much father would hate her too because he was always telling mother, who had bones all over her body, that he hated the small jutting of her stomach, and that she had to do something about it because it irritated his very spirit.
I liked that I knew father would hate this woman just by looking at her, and I knew he would be right in his “hating” because she talked too much, and made mother laugh too loud. I was not used to how she was making mother feel.
The demon came five months after the evil woman came to live near us, and it manifested itself when father sought to punish mother, surely for an evil again.
But mother did not beg or come to hide so we could sleep and know she had been cleansed for that day. No; mother talked to father in “Englishes” I didn’t even know were in her head and stomach. He was yanking her hair, and she was still talking and not begging.
That day, I locked the door and cried myself to sleep, because I felt sorry that an irremovable evil had entered her now, and would definitely not succumb to father’s purging, and would surely damage her.
I didn’t want mother to be damaged, but I felt she would be, because that’s what demons did to people. I knew our neighbour was responsible for mother’s demon, but then, father couldn’t go to another woman’s house to cleanse her of evil so that she could come and talk or laugh the demon out of mother.
The demon manifested itself two or three more times, and then the house began to grow silent…
Father did not rid mother of evils, and she too, could not manifest any demon again.
I did not like the silence; I still am not used to it after these two years.
I want the normalcy of the sounds of mother being cleansed I am used to.
Maybe I will just grow older and create the sounds that I now miss so much… Yes, that’s what I will do – I will take over from father and be a cleanser.