I loved my Dad but…                                 

With Mama’s approval, I forced open Dad’s suitcase, found his checkbook, and forged his signature. I then hurried to the bank to see if I could withdraw some money without being caught. I was intrepid, ready to take the risk. This was the only single commitment that Mama had seen me fulfil with great aplomb. The forged signature wasn’t detected at the bank. I got the money alright. It was enough to maintain us for three weeks.

What was quite unsettling to me was: “Why did Dad had such money but decided to lock it away in his suitcase and bolt away thus leaving us in  distress?”. Honestly, I still cringe with embarrassment when I recall that I once forged Dad’s signature to withdraw money from his account. Yes. It was evil, but very necesary.We needed the money badly!!

   Prior to my departure, intermittent blackouts all over the city had been a daily occurrence, an incident that many of my compatriots had come to accept as a fact of life. On the eve of my departure, the blackout had been particularly long and harsh. It had continued night long. Worst of all, our house was often made darker during the course of these blackouts by the propinquity of big mango trees.

“Mama it’s so dark, why aren’t you in bed?’ I cried out to Mama.

“I’m OK. I’m fine. I’m alright!”

“Have you finished packing your suitcase?”

“Yes, Ma’am.”

“Come over here my boy.”

“Sit down and listen to me carefully. As living beings, we are not allowed to know how our time on earth may slip away. I may be dead by the time you return from your journey.”

   There was a crunch as Mama bit a cola-nut. As she continued, I noticed intermittent flashes of light from afar through the side window of the living room.

“Mama, can you see those flashes of light?”

“Yes, that must be your Dad.” Mama assured me.

“What does he want?”

“He’s coming to see you off.”

“See me off?”

“How did he know he’d  been absent from home for six years!”

“Frank, your cousin told me yesterday he had informed him of your travel plans.”

“How could he do that without my knowledge!”

   Mama had a mercurial temperament and was difficult to deal with. You never know where you stand with unpredictable mercurial individuals like Mama. I often did not feel safe talking to her, because, I never knew when she was going to turn on me.

“Stop quibbling over this matter. Do you hate your Dad?”

“No, Ma’am, I’m only irritated because Dad is feckless.”

To be continued…