Thursday, February 05, 2015

how not to learn how to drive

when i was in high school, we had the misfortune of having our water cut off for the whole village.  we went from free unlimited water to where-the-hell-am-i-going-to-get-the-water-for-my-next-bath.  it took a while before people decided it was time to pay our debts to get the water back running, much later to have a water pump built, even longer for my father to decide we needed our own.

everyday after school i would go to the end of our block just to fetch water for the house that we would be using for the next day.  i wouldn't stop until i was able to fill three whole drums:

 photo oilDrums_zpsbe67d5c8.png

that would take at least two hours before i can start cooking and do my homework.

anyway, one Sunday when my mother went to work and my father went jogging at the park, i woke up alone in the house, with no food and no water.  i mean, we had water to drink but we didn't have water to use at home for our basics.  every Sunday, the block where the water pump was situated would be parked with cars so as if carrying two pails of water wasn't difficult enough, you had to make sure you didn't hit the cars else by the time you get to the house there would be no water left in the pails.  that also meant that if you were out pumping for water, no one would be able to see you because you were blocked by the cars.

i locked the house and went to the end of the block to fetch water for the house.  it was a manual pump so it took a while to fill one pail.  apparently while i was going to get water my father went home from his jog and he didn't have any keys to the house.  we didn't have cell phones or beepers then but you'd also wonder why the owner of the house wouldn't have his own keys.  so when i got back he was so mad because he thought i might have eloped or something. after this ordeal, i wish i  had ran away.  or died.

my father was raised old school so you don't throw tantrums, you do not answer to your elders no matter how right you are.  YOU HAVE NO VOICE.  explaining to this man where you went without being hit in the face or the head or accused of being disrespectful was impossible.  if he wasn't hurting you with his hand, he was hurting you with his words.  this went on for about an hour, probably longer, because every time he would cool down he would ask the same questions.  he'd cool down, apologize but before i could explain, before i could answer he would get his second wind (and third, and fourth . . .) and start hitting me again.  all i could do was cry.  i wanted so much to tell him, "i was trying to get water," but he wouldn't hear any of it.  he just wouldn't.   all he heard was how tired he was that he didn't have keys to the house, trying to find a way to get in.  all he knew was that i went out gallivanting on a Sunday morning and he looked like an idiot calling out my name so that i could open the door for him.  he didn't even see the two full pails of water or the second drum which was two-thirds full.  when he finally did, he'd already hit me a bunch of times.  not to mention he kept yelling at me so loudly that neighbors could hear even with closed doors what a slut of a daughter he thought i was.

when i finally did get a chance to tell him, you could tell he was surprised but no amount of sorry could stop my tears or my hurt face.  i was too petrified to come near him when he called to hug me and apologize.  he took the house keys from me and asked me to get in the car.  we went to the cemetery.  by this time i was really scared like i was done for.  i've seen shows where they do body dumps in cemeteries.

that is where and how i learned how to drive.