I remember the day as if it were yesterday. The pain I endured that weekend was unbearable. However, the pain yielded good fruits – the pain hit a reset button in my brain and I was transformed. “Spare the rod and spoil the child” was the basis for trashing I received that weekend. My mother held fast to this verse of the Holy Book and never spared me. Whenever I was spared the trashing was usually doubled. I wonder if the Europeans and Americans ever came across this verse in the Holy Book.
Thinking about it now, I believe I was destined to be flogged throughout that weekend – it was inevitable. On that fateful Friday, I arrived home at 4pm but to my surprise the whole house was empty. Joy surged through me. Immediately, I ascended into my phase of 5 minutes ‘euphoria’ (everybody has one).
I forgot to lock the front door properly but didn’t realize it until much later, instead of taking a shower, I decided to do things I now consider silly. I decided to slot in Hercules (the cartoon) into the VCR but didn’t watch. I left the TV on and decided to make a couple of calls.
Back then we had two telephone boxes. One was situated in the living room and the other in my mother’s room. But still acting within my 5 minute phase, I decided to make use of the phone in my mother’s room. I called a couple of people (feeling like a boss) but I was still in my dirty uniform on her neatly laid bed. All of a sudden, I heard the front door close. Immediately, I snapped of out my 5 minute phase, I raced to the living room to switch off the TV and pick up my school bag.
By the time I was done with my ‘operation tidy the living room’, she was calling out to me but I was still in my dirty uniform. Reading her facial expression, I knew she was pissed. She first knocked me on the head for not closing the front door properly, and then asked why I was still in my dirty uniform. Before I could proffer her with an answer, the standby indicator of the VCR caught her eye.
The next thing I heard was ‘What were you watching?’ I said ‘Nothing’. She then pressed the eject button, lo and behold she had the Hercules cassette in her hand. She was livid but instead of saying anything she went straight to her room. Then I knew it was over ‘cos I forgot to lay her bed. ‘Abi, you’re in serious trouble’ was the next thing I heard.
Immediately, I started to sweat. She used to handle the cane like a martial arts master. During these trashing sessions she was everywhere, I could never escape her. She asked me what I was doing in her room, engulfed with fear I told her the truth (don’t blame me o), that sealed my fate for trashing that very hour. She then brought out the ‘pankere’ and told me to lie down on the centre table. She told me she was only going to give me 12 strokes of the cane but if I stood up she’ll start again.
When the first stroke made impact with my back I stood up instantly, then I started to beg her but she started from number one again. The second time she flogged me, I screamed but I had to stand up. She then ditched the rule and trashed me seriously by the time she was done I’d lost count already. She then told me to take a shower. In the room, I asked my brother how many times the cane made contact with my body. He said he counted 72 strokes.
However, when I was in the bathroom something told me it wasn’t over. Immediately I stepped out of the bathroom, the first thing to hit me was the cane. Round 2 started with me unprepared and wet all over. Throughout the beating I couldn’t cry I was still shocked when she was done with me all I could do was sleep.
The next morning I woke up with parts of my body swollen (I couldn’t blame anyone but me). I took my bath early and started with my house chores. Everything was going on fine until she received a call from a teacher in my school. All I heard was “What! Five over twenty…thank you very much sir”. There and then I knew yesterday’s trashing was gonna be nothing compared to what was about to befall me that morning.
This time she decided to flog me in my room but she didn’t close the door, she left me an escape route. There was certainly no time for the ‘lie down’ chat or anything, all I heard was “Spare the rod and spoil the child” before the trashing commenced. All I could do at that point was scream for help, I called for the neighbours to save me. I kept shouting till one of the neighbors decided to come to my rescue. On getting to our front door it was locked, my younger ones couldn’t open it in time and when they eventually did the trashing was over. I was lying on the floor and all I that was ringing loudly in head was “SPARE THE ROD AND SPARE THE CHILD”.