My Humble Abode

A Short story by Daniella Verde

Never a moment of peace in the place I call my humble abode. To call my home ‘a humble abode’ is a cruel joke to the sanctity of home.

My throat tightens at this home as I await the acknowledgement of my existence through the venom of his words that he spits across the room as soon as I enter. A rebuttal runs through my thoughts but the tightness of his mental grip around my neck forbids me to voice them. Forced to chuckle unwillingly, I pace to the only corner of sanctity in this giant place I call home. He can sense my insecurity. However proceeds to express, “It was only a joke…” he laughs. The grip tightens, I turn to his direction and force the venom to rise. Venom ejects from my mouth and lands onto his left eye. I watch as it fizzes and erodes his tool to admire himself, no longer. But, I can only imagine this is my humble abode.

My blood boils at this home as soon as I enter -- boiling away like the meal my mother has slaved only to be spat and shunned by the one who is only a slave to himself. “It was only a joke…” he scoffs. He requests the pepper and I smile unwillingly, reaching for the grinder. His hand stretched out whilst continuing with his humdrum day as if to be expected that we have his full attention. As his attention is diverted, I swiftly grab my fork and pierce it into his warm hand. I watch as the tool he uses to project his assertion is injured, halted for handling. But, I can only imagine this is my humble abode.

My teeth clench at this home as I hear never-ending roaring that echoes throughout the house. Like clockwork, monotonous tasks are disagreed upon as if it shows true character. The only true character is the brute masculinity being enforced through a dish being dirty. The volume of voices heighten, I hear a light blow as I see my sibling glued to the wall. Looks are exchanged, I look at her, she looks at me, I look to him, he looks at her. Before he exchanged his next glance, I stomp toward the dirty plate. I angrily grip onto the side and smash it onto his stiff head. I watch the red liquid spill onto his smug face. His damaged head that encompasses his complacent brain. But, I can only imagine this is my humble abode.

Never a moment of peace in the place I call my home. I sit by the lounge retreating to another fantasy as I glare into the beaming black box. I snap out of this other reality with a thump to my head, “Change it.” he asserts. I inhale sharply, grab the remote from the floor that only seconds ago ricached off my head and switch to another channel. A constant flow of bitterness escapes his mouth… my throat tightens. “What’s wrong with you, eh?” he asks, “Nothing…” I mutter. However, my blood starts to boil. Suddenly, my face is engulfed by a cushion and I clench my teeth hoping this ends. I beg him to stop but this only inspires him to cackle, “Come on, it’s only a joke…” he declares as he removes the cushion from my face.

This is my humble abode not ever. I remove myself from his vicinity and retreat to the kitchen. I reach for the pantry door as I usually do and see the glint of the silver knife. My sanity is plucked, there was a split second it was there, but no more. I grasp the item in my hand, I watch him guffaw at the screen, his last smug remark. Making sure to face him, there is a split second he questions what is in front of him. I do not allow him to follow through with the thought as I plunge the sharp dagger deep into his stomach. The blood pools and stains his precious sofa. His face forms a baffled look unable to let words escape as blood spills out. I smile willingly, “It’s only a joke…”

Now, this is my humble abode.

About the Author:

Daniela is a contributing writer for Maidenhair Press. She writes on a variety of topics ranging from beauty and fashion to social commentary.

 

TEMBERKEKE

By Admas Tewodros

I’m from Ethiopia and I come from two different tribes though I only speak my father’s language Amharic. In this poem I repeat the word ‘temberkeke’ which is the female conjugation telling her to kneel

Work hard now

Then, you can reap what you sow

What you sow is not all about you

Temberkeke

She’s animated

Strong in her speech

doesn’t hold back so

I developed thick skin

my mother prepared me for life by intimidating me of it

In becoming a woman

she taught me

I am responsible for anything that happens to me

Temberkeke

Show humility

Know when you are wrong.

Don’t make the same mistake twice

Always be worthy

I fought regularly with my father

And when his ego grew too big

He became

Too angry to feel what I was feeling

My mother was his wife

So She had to teach me a lesson;

She listened so well and intently

Understandingly, afterwards

She told me to step back

Because he couldn’t handle the truth

Temberkeke

Beg him for forgiveness

Show him you are worthy

That was the first time I remember feeling broken

Temberkeke

Cover your chest

It’s cold out there

Cross your legs

Don’t wear black

Tie your hair back

Only use eyeliner after 21

Sometimes I wonder

All the things she’s seen

And hasn’t told me

I wonder

if she’s convinced herself of piece of mind

As a humble housewife

I couldn’t tell if she was complicated or conflicted

When consumed in her bitterness

She showed fire

told me I was to be different

I was named after the horizon

She said to

Manifest ideas and

Fly up against the sun

then in the feat for ultimate power

She took me to church,

Temberkeke

Kiss these sacred walls, the floors

Go on your knees

beg for forgiveness

Beg him to give you a good life.

I couldn’t understand

How power could be surrendered like that

I left home with one suitcase and the burden of expectation

Knowing what it took to get me overseas;

Were all the things my mother never had

I think,

She’s afraid I may never come back.

She tells me I defy too much

I question, only because i’ve seen so much

I’m conflicted

We have such big barriers that

My redemption is foreign to her

But;

The opportunity to live out my dreams

Is a privilege

Temberkeke

Always be worthy

Don’t make the same mistake twice

 

About the Writer:

Admas is a Brisbane based spoken word poet from Ethiopia. She aims to unpack complex emotions in her work. She says she is inspired by growth; a theme and structure she consciously and unconsciously adheres to.

A little word from Admas:

I have found strength in writing and performing poetry as it’s brought me to many truths. Fortunately I found poetry as a vessel by which to explore myself and my perspective. Last year I wrote and performed my first full length collection of poems called September Flowers (Temberkeke is a poem from that collection) A crucial project that gave me autonomous space to explore culture, femininity, and growth through the symbolism of flowers.

http://www.admastewodros.com/