THE BAWA RESIDENCE – NIGHT
When Chris gets out of his car his mother comes tearing out of the house to meet him.
He turns to walk towards the house, and that is when he sees his mother running towards him.
She is barefoot, and is still in the dress she had worn in the morning.
Her hair is undone and wild, heavily peppered with grey.
Her face is free of makeup, and her eyes are huge with her tears.
Chris stops with shock.
She begins to cry as she reaches him.
She stops within touching distance, and to his horror she suddenly falls to her knees and raises her clamped hands to him.
Oh, my son! I’ve heard everything! Oh, Chris-Love, please forgive me! Forgive me, my son! I was so terrified when we couldn’t reach you! I have called the police, son! I thought I had lost you, and I couldn’t forgive myself!
(lifts her to her feet)
Please, Mom, get up! Please don’t kneel before me!
It was her, my son! Elaine! She showed me pictures that I thought were Effe, terrible pictures that made me so scared, angry and confused! That’s why I did what I did! I’m sorry, my son! My foolishness has made you lose the one woman you love! Please forgive me! Oh, God, how you must hate me!
Chris embraces her tightly.
After a while he steps away from her and looks at her.
You carried me in your womb for nine months, Mama. You laboured to give birth to me. You breast-fed me, and changed my diapers, cleaned my mess and took a lot of bad jazz from me, and I know you love me. I know that everything you do, whether wrong or bad, it is because of the love you have for me. I can never hate you, Mama. Never. You’re my mother.
Oh, Chris, my dearest son! We were so wrong to arrange a marriage between you and Elaine. My marriage to your Dad was also arranged, but it worked out for us. We were so happy until his death! I thought it could work for you too, but how wrong I am now! Elaine’s parents called. They’re all so sorry! Oh, Chris, What a terrible thing I have done to you!
Terrible, yes, but I don’t blame you. The fault is all mine. Now, let’s go inside, okay? I love you, always will. What’s done is done, Mom.
But I have denied you any chance of finding happiness, my son, in a very cruel manner. The pain I see in your eyes now shall be the cross I shall carry to my grave! How can I forgive myself?
Tonight, Mom, don’t let us talk about this, okay? I will take it a day at a time. It will be hard, yes, but it can be done. Let’s go inside now.
She puts her arm around him.
He puts his across her shoulders, and they walk in silence.
When they enter the living-room Michael is just putting down the telephone receiver.
I called the police, Madam. I told them Chris is home now.
Thank you, Michael.
Michael stares at Chris.
Chris walks forward, and just then tears begin to roll down his cheeks again.
He touches his cheeks, looks at his wet fingers and tries to smile.
I can’t believe this, man. I’m crying again! It feels like a damn dam has opened in my soul, man! I never thought human beings have so much tears in them! Ever heard the cliché that men don’t cry? I’m breaking that saying straight into the record books tonight. I’ve been crying the damn whole day, Micky. Effe is going to kill me kwa, Bro.
Behind him his mother puts both hands to her cheeks, and her face cringes with pain.
Michael puts a hand on Chris’ shoulder.
A man’s tears are always true, bro. Let them flow. They will heal that messed-up heart.You’re gonna be fine, Bro.
You know, I’ve always been an only child, Micky. I mean, I have never really been bothered about being an only child, you get me?
Yeah, Bro. I get you.
But you, Mike, have always been there for me. Tonight I need a brother, man. Tonight I can’t get through the hours alone, and there’s no one I’ll like beside me than you. I don’t wanna get drunk tonight, because if I do I’ll never stop drinking; I’ll become a drunk, always waking up in gutters. I can find a woman to spend the night with, but if I do I’ll become a womanizer forever. Yeah, some shit like that. Tonight I only need a brother, Mike.
It will be an honour, bro. Your words are the sweetest thing any human being has ever uttered to me. Lemme be your brother tonight.
I’m going up to take a bath and cry my heart out, man. You lock up and come upstairs. Let’s play some video games together and watch some Kung-Fu movies, man. If I get through tonight, I believe I can make it.
(hugging Chris tightly)
I’ll be right up, bro.
When they break apart he turns round.
(gently to his mother)
Get some sleep, Mom. I will see you in the morning. Good night.
His mother is speechless.
Her tears are drenching her.
Chris climbs up the stairs with his shoulders sagging and his head down.
Oh, God! I have destroyed my son, Michael! I have hurt my poor son so badly!
(hugs her gently)
Get some sleep, Mama. He’ll be just fine.