The Spaces Between Your Fingers

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I Interviewed my 50-year-old mother in my childhood home in northeast Philadelphia. She had worn a soft blue lace dress and some gold jewelry, she said she was ok but I could tell she was a bit uncomfortable telling a story on camera, I might have forgotten to tell her that I did not need to post it and no one would see it. We had previous talks about her parent’s divorce and how she had made decisions in her life from that place of fear, we had both agreed that she never really left that place so it was hard asking her to pick one and step completely into it. She went into detail of the day her father walked out, which she rarely did. Him walking out is a part of her story but as I’ve pointed it out to her, it’s one of those moments she skips detail on. She told me it’s because at that time she was confused since she didn’t really understand her own fealing and forty years later she still confused.<br />
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They sent the children out, they didn’t need to hear this. They kept a calm demeanor until the

door closed in the face of their seemingly unaware children.

“Let us talk.”

“What kind of man will say he wants to leave his wife and children, and you still call yourself a

true Muslim man.”

“Whose business is it what I do with my life, I said I do not want to be here with you.”

Was he was trying to say this was all her fault? Is he is leaving to escape her? His harsh words

slashed at her skin while her own doubts salted the fresh wounds. She pulled in a deep breath

of air and allowed all the pain sink into her blood before heating it up and manifesting it as rage

“If you want to go, go, nobody in this house but the children will want you back and when

anybody ask I will tell them that you abandoned your family.”

“Now you a muslim women will lie in the face of allah, I said I will get another wife, I never said

I would leave my children here for you to mistreat.”

She scoffed and replied with hash words that she had dipped into venom before flinging them

“How would you know I mistreat them when you are never home, did they tell you I mistreat

them...of course they don’t, they need to like you for them to talk to you.”

“I don’t come to this house because of you! I will finish work and be tired, but I can’t come

home because you won't let me rest.”

“What did you give for you to be tired, tell me what have you given.”

He stayed silent and just shook his head which was a signal for her to go in for the kill

“Leave, I don’t care, Kafayat’s school payment is due, who is going to pay for it”

“You have a shop, you’re doing so good that you can disrespect your husband like he is nothing,

there are women all over the country still looking for a husband and you are disrespecting your

own.”

“For me to disrespect my husband he needs to be a man with respect.”

He opened his mouth, but nothing came out and when he finally thought of a retort There was

a knock on the door which was first ignored. At the second knock he pulled the door was open

and a blur of small children ran past him to their mother and continuously hugged her even

when she asked them to stop. He stood at the door and asked them to leave so the

conversation could continue. The response he got was glares, from the children, from the

mother, they made his decision for him. He softly closed the door when he left.

Listening Children

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1970's
Lagos, Nigeria

I Interviewed my 50-year-old mother in my childhood home in northeast Philadelphia. She had worn a soft blue lace dress and some gold jewelry, she said she was ok but I could tell she was a bit uncomfortable telling a story on camera, I might have forgotten to tell her that I did not need to post it and no one would see it. We had previous talks about her parent’s divorce and how she had made decisions in her life from that place of fear, we had both agreed that she never really left that place so it was hard asking her to pick one and step completely into it. She went into detail of the day her father walked out, which she rarely did. Him walking out is a part of her story but as I’ve pointed it out to her, it’s one of those moments she skips detail on. She told me it’s because at that time she was confused since she didn’t really understand her own fealing and forty years later she still confused.

Tags: Divorce, Family, pain
Decade: 1970s
Rating:
Recorded by Abolaji Amosu on December 9, 2019
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