After my fathers visit to the house on my birthday, I kept recalling everything that happened. I got upset thinking about all he said about my family, and the story Aunt Baraqah told me about him. I didn’t want to make a decision because I was upset, I decided to talk to Maryam hoping she would help.
“I think I need to talk to my father” I told her
“Are you sure you want to do that?” She asked spreading the clothes on the line, Maryam and I were doing the laundry.
“Yes, he is my father. I need to ask him some questions” I replied
“It’s OK, after what happened, I think you both need to talk. Your father needs to apologize to you and everyone too” she said staring at me
“I want to hear his own side of the story” I said, letting her know why I wanted to see him
“Huh! What do you want to hear?. Hiqmat!, are you doubting all that Aunt Baraqah told you” she asked with a straight face
“No, I need to know why he did what he did” I replied
“He did what he did because your mother refused him” she said still angry
“I know, I need to know why he never cared to check on me. I need to know why he wants to be part of my life now” I explained.
“I know how you feel. If that’s it, you should see him, but you mustn’t let anyone know”
“I don’t know how”
“I don’t either, but I think you should be prepared to meet him soon. He’s coming back” she said as we continued spreading the clothes on the line
Few days later, I was returning from my JAMB class when a black vehicle waylaid me. At first I thought I was going to be kidnapped, but I saw my father getting out of the car.
“You scared me” I said almost screaming
“Am sorry, I had no choice” he replied with a smile
“What do you want?” I asked with a straight face, I wasn’t going to forgive him just like that.
“I need to talk to you, I know you hate me but I need to clear somethings up” he said as he moved closer
“Really, things like what?” I asked trying to figure out what things he wants to clarify.
“Come with me, we can talk in the car” he said pointing at a black Toyota corolla car
“Am not going anywhere with you” I said as I tried to leave
“Please, am not going to hurt you I promise” he said, and continued to persuade me.
After much persuasion, I agreed to enter the car.
“Thank you” he said as we both got seated in the car.
“Am listening” I said, ignoring him
“I know you’re not happy with me, after everything they must have told you about me. I know you really wish you could erase me from your story” he said
“What do you want” I said, I wasn’t interested in long talks “Why are you just showing up” I really wanted to go hit the nail on the head.
“It’s really not my fault, your grandparents never gave me the chance to. They always hid you anytime I came around” he replied
“No one hide me, you never came around. If they had hidden me, why are you here with me?” I asked “You always came over to hurt my family, cursing them without showing any form of remorse for what you did to my mother” I added
“Am sorry, I know I did wrong too. I wasn’t the best husband to your mother, I was ignorant and as the years went by I got to realize my mistakes. Am sorry for everything, your mother didn’t deserve all that I did, I hope and pray am forgiven” he said, his face turned pale
“So it’s really true, you did what you did” I said almost crying
“I really can’t imagine why you did that, aside she not wanting you. You abandoned me and after sixteen years you want me” I said staring at him, but he avoided my eyes.
“You’ve been the wall between me and the things I want, am not letting you come in between me and the things I want again” I continued
“Hiqmat, I know how much I have failed. I know I haven’t been the best of a father but I can right my wrongs. All I need is your forgiveness, I couldn’t get your mother to forgive me, I want you to forgive me. Am not coming in between anything, I just want to be with you as a father” he said
“You need to ask for forgiveness from my family, they’re the ones you’ve hurt the most. They’re the one’s who took care of your wife, my mother till she died and they nurtured me till date” I told him
“I will, I need you to forgive me first” he pleaded
“When my family forgives you, I’ll do the same” I replied and got down from the car.
It was good to know he’s alive and well, I was scared of getting too close to him thinking I might fall victim of what happened twenty years ago. My mind kept going through everything Aunt Baraqah told me about him and how he admitted to it.
This is the story of my life, I got home and plunged into my bed. Maryam came over to check on me, I hugged her and narrated everything. She’s been my greatest confidant and strength
…To be continued.