I wondered what it was like being cursed in the family. I had a huge black mark at the back of my neck, my dad had too, my grandfather likewise had a deeper mark on his neck … It all seemed to be passing through generations on that same spot. Same area I emphasize again. The villagers called us “cursed” but when the white came, they called it “a birth mark”, but then I asked if it was ‘birth mark’ like they say, why has it appeared in the family lineage continually? But no man ever replied.
It was Sunday real quick. I don’t like the idea of being the first to church but my father loved the presence of gracing the church building first. He made me and my 11 brothers, 22 sisters and 15 cousins line up according to our heights. I am the second shortest and fifth smallest so you can imagine my position in front, as there was nothing as embarrassing as that scene on Sunday mornings, but that was my fathers pride, having to take all his family members early to church.
You need to see Mama, gorgeous each sunday, in her Sunday best, either repeating the wrapper or top she had worn two Sundays back. The truth is we weren’t all that comfortable, but father never took that up as an exscuse not to go to church with what we had but if there was anything that soothed the entire sadness on Sunday Morning, was the different form of head gears mama and Aunty use to tie for themselves. Yeah! It is aunty who owns the 15 children – my cousins that lives with us. Yeah! It is a big household.
Getting to church was a different case, as father made us sit in front, our family alone taking the first five pews in church without interruption from another family. Father Abbey, the priest always nodded in acknowledgment happy to see that we are the persons seated in front. Firstly, persons laughed at the way my family occupied the area but soon enough rumours began reaching us amidst the first five pews that argument had begun occurring on the claim of the 6th pew for their family that they too came early. Those members that I even knew them to be CEO’S – Christmas, and Easter Only members soon graced the Sunday service calling.
Soon enough Father Abbey decided to open my topic of “curse” and explain how much joy and change the single act of my father and the crowd (us) for making an envious association of inspiring others to follow suit.
I turned back one day during the heat of the preaching, to see if probably my bigger cousins also had their hands up like mama and Aunty, but to my greatest surprise – upon all the praises and queing on the first five pews my cousins and some of my siblings that sat behind were mostly always ‘sleeping’ others ‘gisting’, ‘playing’ and making fun of other children in church from their seats. It was just an hard core extra religious rule for father never to hit any child and being on the front pew there was little or nothing he could do from where he was. It seem to me that I might be the only child listening during service, but think of it this way, if I couldn’t write this at home with the communal noise where would I be writing this story from every Sunday morning?