In Search of Mother This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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As I clenched her hand, I felt the warmth of friendship. I was at peace, I had a full heart; I closed my eyes and trusted her to guide me. She was my half sister, a part of my life, my family, the daughter of my father’s first wife and the only friend I had. Our names harmonized; her name was Aneba and mine, Abena. Her name meant earth and mine meant water. Thick black, curly hair that turned brown in the summer framed her face; she had chocolate skin and deep brown eyes. She was independent, cunning, sarcastic, and a comedian. She would constantly get me into sticky predicaments, and somehow she was the first person to get me out.

We ran in circles. As we danced, I laughed. Aneba whispered like a hummingbird in search of food, “Mama said Papa’s gonna get another wifey.”

I corrected her English: “You mean wife.”

She giggled at her mistake and continued, “Mama says she is only 19 this time and very pretty. I wonder if she’ll like us.” Aneba worried because her birth mother died in labor. And my birth mother, Juliana, was on her yearly voyage to Israel to pray. For Aneba, a mother meant security. She never received a mother’s hope, encouragement, or love. We both longed for a mother. Even though I had one, she constantly traveled to distant towns teaching and taking odd jobs to make money.

The week before Third Wife was expected, Aneba and I were instructed to make sure the farm was perfect for her arrival. Anxious to attend to Third Wife and ensure her comfort, we assiduously cleaned the house from top to bottom. A week later, Third Wife arrived, wearing a bright yellow khilo with gold jewels swinging from her neck. Her aroma swam in the air. Her breeze touched our faces, sweet as honey, and warm with the scent of a spring day. I was intoxicated. Our dream was coming true, and we giggled with excitement.

To our disappointment, Third Wife was the opposite of motherly; she was a child. She wanted Aneba and me to bathe her three times a day, feed her, and run errands for her. She constantly ordered me to go to the creek for water. Normally, I would be happy to go, but it was three miles away. Even though a stream passed near the farm, she insisted that she needed better water.

So I walked the long road to that creek. When its cold water reached my waist, my body went numb. It felt like knives stabbing me. I walked the three miles home with the bucket of water on my head. When I finally finished, my back, legs, and head were throbbing. I was instructed to fetch water from that distant, cold creek every morning.

She wasn’t easy on Aneba either, ordering her to wash all the clothes from her enormous suitcase; she wanted us to cut the fields and feed the animals too. A job done by adults was given to two seven-year-old girls who dreamed of a mother, not a task master. That dream was crushed day by day; there was no ray of hope.

One October morning, when I was about to fetch water for Third Wife’s bath, I saw a woman dressed in white and gold. She was an angel; her voice was warm and kind. Her smile glowed in the morning light. Her hair poured down her back. Her smooth, dark chocolate skin glistened when the sun touched her. I looked closer; she was breathtaking. The longer I stared, the more familiar she looked. It was as if, although I’d known her all my life, I was seeing her for the first time. To my surprise, she was my mother. She had finished her trip to Israel and had come to take Aneba and me to America, as she promised. She gently lifted me and held me in her arms. That motherly love I longed for was effusive. She gave us what Third Wife could never give us; she gave us hope.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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This article has 4 comments. Post your own now!

beckylovesxx said...
Aug. 25, 2009 at 2:17 am
amazing
 
Samantha G. said...
Jul. 20, 2009 at 6:30 pm
beautiful, enthralling, moving.
 
KatKrazy said...
Dec. 17, 2008 at 11:52 pm
This piece was fantastic!
 
danni:) said...
Sept. 6, 2008 at 9:53 am
Just Beautiful!
 
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