Legend has it that there was once a family that was as close to the ideal family as could be.

The parents were the best of companions, constantly teasing each other, eliciting so much laughter, the best buddies. The children were mostly well-groomed and obedient and they got together well except for the occasional sibling fight.

They weren’t rich in this family, they were comfortable. Never lacked, never had in excess… they were the second bed laid on by goldilocks…. just right.

And then it all came crashing like the Wall of Jericho when the father joined politics. At first it was all good. Politics fit him well enough for someone who just started. Their comfort-o-meter was moving towards the greener light.

Before they got too comfortable however, Baba announced he had gotten married.

He did not say ‘I want to get married’ or ‘I have the intention of getting married’ or ‘my heart is doing me like I should marry’ he said ‘I have married another woman’. Hell did not break loose in the house after that declaration, hell became a tenant.

Maleficent moved in a month later. Apparently she was introduced to Baba by her brother who is part of his political circle months earlier. She is a good looking, young, widowed lady whose late husband left with two kids and a huge pile of money. Scratch that she’s not good looking, she’s beautiful. Sometimes I wonder why she chose to marry my father when she can chose from many different men who have more to offer.

I’m not saying Baba has nothing to offer, he is a very charming, charismatic and intelligent man and he ages very well. But she is so much richer than him I’d have expected a woman with a dark heart like hers will look for a place with more riches for her vampire fangs to suck.

Anyway, two months prior to the announcement, a massive renovation was initiated in the house near ours. We were so excited to get new neighbors; ‘maybe I’ll get a friend. And from the looks of it, they are definitely rich’- Fafa.

‘I just hope they don’t have a dog who’ll bark all night and stop me from sleeping’- Yasmin grudgingly.

‘Maybe they will have a tall, dark and handsome son who will be all posh and will sweep me off my feet’- Me in my mind.

 Me in reality- ‘This house is too fine, I bet they will be snobs’. 

A month later, Maleficent with no conscience/ The wicked stepmother moved in. Apparently she bought the house and beat it to fit her wicked tastes. 

Who does that?! Who marries a man with a family unannounced, buys the house sharing the same fence with his family, renovate it into a beautiful duplex that makes his existing home look like a gargoyle, and then a few years later, make sure he divorces his wife?. I’ll tell you, devil’s apprentice.

So I wanted to build up on the part where she led to my parents eventual separation but I’m too mad for that. Besides I may never share this journal with anyone because of the boringness in my life. So yeah, it marked the beginning of fights and mistrust in my parents life.

My siblings and I were all but sidelined. I literally had to pick up the maternal broom, I was 17, I should have been planning for prom.

Well Mama might be meek and after the initial brouhaha, she was willing to let things slide but she is no pushover. So when things got unbearable, when Baba wouldn’t come to our side for a month even though there’s a door that joins both houses from within, when he wouldn’t send upkeep money or he’ll retaliate at the slightest provocation, she left. 5 years later, we still aren’t over it.

Pretty messed up right? Honestly I didn’t expect it to be worse than this but well, my brother followed her soon after. According to the WSM, he was being very rude, discourteous (isn’t that basically the same thing?) and downright insultive to her. From what I heard, she made it seem like he was being almost violent, which is the fattest lie in the books; my brother is almost too gentle for a guy. Anyway, he was always fighting with Baba. Baba was always picking faults in his every behavior. She was always adding fire to the existing bad blood between father and son and then there was us, the three younger sisters trying to team up for our brother and fight for his innocence, in the end, we lost.

He moved out and moved in with Mama who is back in her fathers house occupying her mothers room. The thought of it alone disturbs me all the time. It makes me feel so bad thinking of Mama back in her fathers house because where else will she live? With all the other step mothers and siblings and relatives looking at her like the sad divorcee kicked out of her home. 

And it annoys me to no end that she has to move from a comfortable city house to live in an old-setting house with toilets outside of rooms and musty blinds and linens, dusty uneven plastered walls and rickety roofs. It makes me so mad. One of the reasons I need to make me money so soon and so bad. 

I know this makes me an ungrateful, selfish and probably cursed child but sometimes I feel like I wouldn’t mind Baba dying because that will bring an end to all this fiasco and I can use my inheritance money to get Mama a house. But I quickly try to get tid of that thought and conveniently blame shaytan, though I doubt it, I can be pretty dark myself.

What else haven’t I spoken about regarding our dysfunctionality apart from the fact that we (my sisters and I) still reside in our old home and at first we were getting food from the main house but it later trickles to nothing, instead, we get shopping money, buy food items and make our meals which is honestly more preferable if we get the money on time. Most times, we have to ask him and I hate the idea of asking Baba about anything and Fafa isn’t a fan either so we usually leave it to Yasmin. She has no problem getting the dough from him. Usually he sends us some lumpy pocket money and while Fafa collects hers with a smile and counts already thinking up ways to destroy the money, I grudgingly accept mine mumbling on how I cannot be bought; and truthfully, I wouldn’t mind not getting bribed into forgetting the destruction of our happiness by him.

Let’s talk about the step siblings. A male; Jamil;16; surprisingly good boy. Likes to play game and eat doughnuts everyday. Smart enough, responsible with his sister, tries to keep her in line. Not a fam of his mom’s attitude. Tries to be nice to us (was over nice at first because he thought he just gained a new family but we weren’t so forthcoming, surprise!!!!) and we are actually cordial, sometimes familial with him. I always remind myself that it’s not his fault, helps a bit.

Then Hanan; 14; bland personality honestly. Nothing to her. Got some of her mothers pretty features. I feel like she is too plain minded to be wicked. But then I feel like she might snap out of it and gain a personality when she blooms. We exchange greetings. Sometimes I ask how is school? She looks back like I just spoke Mandarin, not rudely; like she doesn’t get it. So I sigh and move on.

Her kids aren’t little no-good meanies and that makes things a bit easier to deal with.

Then our half brother; Kamil; three years old, a little angel. The reason I usually go to the other side. We honestly share a different I kind of love. Sometimes I bring him back with me because he wouldn’t let go. One time, he even spent teh night, his mother surprisingly didn’t mind. She doesn’t mind our relationship with the kids, she especially Kamil. ‘I wouldn’t wantnto come between siblings’ she says self-righteously. Oh yeah? How about coming between families huh?

I guess that’s it. The important ones you should know. There are unimportant people by the side like Umaima, WSM’s relative some-how and the messenger, Rahina, WSM’s younger sister who is 31 and very childish, silly and inappropriate but thinks she is the smartest pants lying around on the street and some others I couldn’t care less about

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