Two days after I updated the blog last week, my father called. It was Friday at about 6pm and I stood at my usual spot in town waiting for my husband. Most of the time we hook up in town and head home together, considering that none of us works in the CBD and , well it’s more comforting struggling to get home in twos, with all the rush hour baffles and irritating traffic disorder.
So dad called. “Hi Mom,” he began. He always calls me mom as I’m named after his old lady. He particularly insists on calling me, mom when he’s had one or two. “Hi” I answered. My mind went straight to my recent post. “How are you doing?”
“Great dad, is something the matter?”
“No, just saying hi. It’s been a while and you’ve been quiet. So I thought to call you up!”
“Really? That’s nice of you. I’m doing well, just adjusting to my new job. He must have read the piece, I thought to myself. He must hate me right now for giving all glory to mom. This was torturing me. “Mom, can’t I just call to find out if you are okay?” he went on, “Of course, dad”. Dad never calls to find out how I’m doing. I do that and whenever I call him the first thing he asks is if everything is okay. He calls only when it’s important and is very brief. It always irritated him whenever we’d call each other up while in different rooms in the same house back when mobile phones became the in thing.
“Are you getting used to your new job already?”
“Yes dad it’s really nice and I like it.”
“That’s good to know. Well I’d like to hear more when you have time”
“Sure dad. I’ll make a point and come over.” The call ended and I was left in utter disbelief that made me spend the next full minute gazing at my phone. It was as if I expected the handset to provide the answers that couldn’t stop bugging my mind. It made me realize that my article somehow painted daddy black. I recalled dad’s great achievements.
When my sister, our first born was barely nine months old, mom was with child again. She had been living in shags, hadn’t finished college yet and clearly, another baby wasn’t really primed for. It got worse when after the nine months and labour bonus; she gave birth to yet another girl. Even the fact that this second girl was named after dad’s mom did not make grandma’ any happier. Kisii tradition by that time valued boys and girls were a pure waste of time and resources. A letter was immediately drafted by my uncles and sent to dad informing him of the bad news. ‘Sorry’ it read. ‘It’s another girl. Maybe you could try again with another woman. If you like, we can find one for you!’
My father truly loves my mom. He was infuriated when he received the letter and made a point to yap us out of shags and bring his family to the city to live with him, since he was fully aware of what his siblings were talented in. We were safer with him and he made sure to achieve that. Mom then took a baby-break and went to college while dad took over taking care of us. Mark you, mum was training as a teacher and she had to board in school and that meant that we would only see her during holidays. It was not easy. Dad managed to take us to school, cook us dinner help us with homework and work shifts, though he at times hired someone to help on those days when he just couldn’t make it. To me, that counts for something.
We all went to boarding school at the age of 11years and it was nothing short of misery, especially for me. Dad had to constantly visit us in school and reassured us that he had his eyes and ears on us. Many times he was mistaken for the invited pastor whenever he’d land in so early on a Sunday morning and he’d be received by C.U officials on duty. He watched us grow and taught us girls to be like men. It was hard as we got punished the hard way but ultimately we learnt to be tough. Despite the live nightmares we had to live with at home, dad loved us so much and he always made it clear it was never about us.
He taught me to save and budget and life stopped for him if any of us got sick. Once I was down and he never left my side. He wasn’t working then so he had all the time with me. He took me to hospital, then back home and became my nurse. He made sure I took my medicines on time and made me pudding and some porridge. He only left my side when my husband, then my best friend paid me a visit. I still remembered the smile that cracked his face when I told him I felt better.
Dad made me realize that no matter how evil someone could be, there was always a good side to them. He is the most optimistic man I have ever met and probably the most credulous. The latter definitely cost him an awful lot. Now he leaves his trusting to God and I picked that up. I always sought for my father in my potential boyfriends and now that I’m married, I want my husband to do the many things, my father did; kill mosquitoes, buy the meat, sleep after everyone else and even wake up in the night to check up on everyone. I know my husband will certainly not wake up at 2am and I always keep the bugs away. Either way, I would never trade this man for anything, his imperfections and all.
This Friday I’ll shoot a call his way, just to say hi.