SHORT STORY: THE SILENCE IN OUR HOUSE – BY RUTH TORTY
THE SILENCE IN OUR HOUSE
WRITTEN BY RUTH TORTY
I liked the silence and routine in our house.
Today was like every other day; I worked on my content writing, Eche on his web designs while Orji went out to see his friends. Afternoons are best for content writing; the nights were for other things. Somehow my Father thinks we work at nights, a notion I did not bother to correct.
Our rooms can be locked only from outside, that way my parents could check on us in midnight especially since the night Eche sneaked out for a night party. My parents got his curly hair shaved off: he kept skin cut for three years. My Father’s routine was predictable: he could move in two different patterns but only two– start downstairs and upstairs last or start upstairs and downstairs last. Our house was a big duplex with eight bedrooms (built-in toilet and bathroom) and two living rooms. Two of the bedrooms which were for guests were downstairs while we had our rooms upstairs.
What my father saw in our rooms was always the same; Eche with his laptop working on web designs, me in my room doing some content writing on my laptop and Orji asleep in his room. There was always silence; none of us played music at night.
The silence was always so loud and useful. That was how I knew my father would raid Eche’s wardrobe because mother smelled Alcohol on him and how I heard Mother complaining about an odour in my room. Tonight I could hear mother telling father about Aunt Nneka’s visit.
My cousins Nnenna, Obika and Tyson would move in next week. Aunt Nneka had come to complain about the two boys. Nnenna was free from her drug addiction, everyone keeps thanking me for recommending that drug rehabilitation center but Obika was just out of rehab for his alcohol addiction and 10 year Tyson was caught watching porn in school.
I heard my mother telling Papa about how something was wrong with Aunt Nneka’s husband family. Papa was her only sibling and we, his children were perfect and successful. She did not understand it. I could hear Papa’s silent nods at her comments: my mother talked as much as my father listened.
Then I heard my father leave the room to start his night routine, today was upstairs to downstairs. I heard him commend Eche on his design and felt Eche’s nod. My brother never replies—he just nods. I heard my father open my door and once again complain about the heavy smell of my perfumes, I laughed and told him that he didn’t understand girls. He commended my content writing skills and left for Orji’s room. I knew he’d adjust the blanket and pick up the pillows on the floor: my youngest brother lacked coordination in his sleep.
Then he moves downstairs and then goes back to his room. I didn’t want my cousins to come over; they would bring noise with them.
Noise and baggage of guilt.
I was 15 when I started experimenting with drugs, how was I to know that 8-year-old Nnenna was watching me? Eche drinks, how was he to know Obika would do the same?
Last month, at Aunt Nneka’s house, I forgot to turn off the porn before going to sleep, how was I to know Tyson would see it?
I reached under the bed and pulled out the ashtray with the cigar I was smoking before Father came. Then I heard Orji’s voice, he was breaking the routine, he was praying, his prayers always made me feel so guilty. It was as though I needed to drop everything and ask GOD for mercy and help. I choked back the feeling and concentrated on the noise. Noise was not good; it was harder to pick out other sounds with it.
I clipped off the cigar’s burnt end and turned off the porn on my laptop. I would have to wait till morning before speaking to Eche, his mouth probably reeked of too much alcohol right now.
WRITTEN BY RUTH TORTY
Ruth Torty is a Christian, biochemist and healthcare & biotechnology content writer. When she is not closing the science gap with her words, she is sharing real-life struggles of Christians on her blog https://undyingembers.wordpress.com/
You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org, on WhatsApp @ 08053731208 or connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn @Ruth Torty.
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