The first time I learnt that I was disposable to my mother, was on my 11th Christmas on earth. We had closed school a little later than other boarding schools, and as such we couldn’t wait to catch up with play and relaxation after a whole year of school.
I couldn’t really say the same for me. I didn’t have constant friends at home, seeing that I had moved in with my parents three years before. But I had a sister who adored me and a bicycle that was closer than a companion. And parents. And for the first time, my father would be present for a holiday.
I was just like other kids. I didn’t think much of the future. Just what happens today.
Until I went home, and instead of spending the holiday with my family, I was sent to our shopping center in shags, where my parents had a shop. At first I didn’t mind, coz after all, my parents would surely come for me for Christmas, right?
Wrong. I stayed and stayed. And for the first time listened to Christmas carols on the radio we had for entertainment. People seemed happy about that Christmas. Not overjoyed. Just happy. It used to rain in shags. The kind of rain that doesn’t leave puddles but smells so damn nice. White flowers popped all over. The ground wasn’t slippery, it was just wet, making me enjoy my errands.
I had rarely gone to that church in shags. Till my mum called the auntie I was staying with to command us to not miss church. Specifically her husband’s church. My mother was a Catholic before getting married. That aunt went to some funny church whose initials are ABC, while my father goes to AIC. So it was decided that we go to AIC. And we went.
It was a dreary holiday for me. I kept on hoping my mother would call, but each time she did, it was to quarrel us about something. I missed my little sister.
The last call that broke the straw, was a few days to Christmas. She specifically wanted to talk to me. And went on to tirade me on why I wasn’t concerned about the shop’s finances. That she didn’t send me there to go sit around or relax, she had sent me there to work and keep her updated on how their shop was doing. Clearly I had missed the job description.
It was then that I realised that my mum wasn’t coming for me. They weren’t. I had been disposed off.
And for that Christmas, we opened shop as usual. Happy families reunited by the season came to drink sodas after church. Children that hadn’t seen their mothers in a while couldn’t hide their excitement as they did shopping for their mothers. After all, regardless of how old you grow, you’ll still be your mothers child.
And after one long day of working, that aunt of mine, who I only called aunt out of courtesy since she wasn’t technically my aunt, my uncle, that is one of my mothers smaller brother and myself, sat outside the shop. And drank sodas.
I curled myself up in a ball, and observed the nightlight. The stars were many and twinkling. I loved the stars as a kid. Could stay for hours observing them. But this specific night, the moon stole the show. It was huge! So huge that I could make off patterns of it.
And that was the first time, the moon became my companion. Seated there with people I wasn’t close to, on a Christmas day when my family had disposed of me, I found solace with this lonely bright thing up there. Alone among millions of stars. I could relate with it. I talked with it. I formed a bond with it. At that point, we were one.
And over and over again, I’ve been familiar with being disposable in people’s lives. To the extent that I started disposing off myself in any situation where there was an extra person. I noticed that if a game in school required 10 people, and 11 of us had offered ourselves, I would automatically remove myself, doesn’t matter if I had been leading the game.
I think when the people you naturally belong to, treat you as if you don’t, it may take a lifetime to ever feel as if you rightfully do belong anywhere or anyone.
In between that Christmas and now, I’ve had many more instances of being left out or simply being pushed out, but what alarms me more, is how I dispose off people easily. With no twinge of regret or guilt or any feelings whatsoever. And now I usually feel bad for being that good at it. Trying to guilt trip myself into holding on to those whose spaces have outlived their usefulness in my life.
And as I enter into the serious phase of adulting, I am reminded that I am not disposable. Neither was I meant to be in the first place.