A wrinkle in my Twinkle

Right from cradle, mother told me I could do whatever I set my heart to. So, I aimed for the stars by studying and the prizes always came to me – with emptiness though.

Don’t be deceived. I enjoyed the applause and cheering, but something in me always cried for more. It was harder because whenever I told mom about it, she’d just say; “I guess you want to have even more A’s” and I believed her. But when at 15 I had straight A’s in all my National exams, and the empty feeling lingered, I knew I wanted more – that I was made for more.

But I didn’t know how…

21, I wrote my final exams as a medical student. Mother called to congratulate – for keeping my grades at a sterling point. But she didn’t hang up after promising to credit my account; she didn’t after the prayers; she didn’t even after asking if there was a lady in view. So, I probed – and she confessed to seeing my journals from 10 to 20. “You took after your father with writing,” she sighed.

I hid the journals from her because she used to talk about writers with sorrow – now I know why she did.

“Did you love writing, my child?”

Did you? Why would mother talk about my first love like it was some worrisome childhood dream? She was old and grail now though, so I kept quiet. But she asked again. I said yes. She mumbled an apology.

But I wasn’t angry at her. I was angry at me. Angry at all the lost opportunities to share my art with the world. Angry at all the emotions I had skillfully inked on weary pages. Angry at the blog I opened never to publish.

“You are a wonder, my child. Let it out.” She smiled, and her eyes closed as she let out her last breath. Mother’s last thoughts were on how she planted a wrinkle in my twinkling star.

The tears clouded my vision, but it feels too late now. It was too late. The laurels of being one of Africa’s best neurosurgeons made it too late. The responsibilities of pastoring a local body for Christ made it so. The duties of being a father of four and husband of one.

But, my youngest daughter gave me a paper to read yesterday. It was a poem. And I didn’t care if it was good or not. I simply called my wife:

“Rumie, I’m starting a foundation for young writers. We’ll help rid any wrinkles that may be in their twinkles.”

Mother is old and gray now – would die soon. 

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