Dad returns home hungry and frail     

“Don’t you ever dare use that word on your Dad any more!” At the first sight of Dad, whom I haven’t seen in six years, my voice quavered and my eyes filled with tears. Holding a torch-light firmly with his left hand, the old man hobbled along the street leading to our home with the aid of his stick. Dad was now hoary-headed and frail. He was no longer that handsome and tall man who Mama had fallen in love with thirty-something years ago. Guilt and regrets were now terrible exchanges for his past joyous, halcyon days.

A once affluent George Muhammed was now acting like a mendicant! There was little doubt that Dad was now creeping toward his twilight years. The phone is ringing. I turn to Mama.

“Mama, Dad is standing in front of the door.”

“When have you started to tell lies? OK. Go pick up the phone!”

“I’ll take care of that. I never bothered to call him. What would I have to say to him over the phone, anyway?” Mama murmured to herself. 

Do I have to say:

“Do you miss me, honey? Or do you miss our son Ayoma?”

I just knew he would be coming to see Ayoma off. I needed to see him face-to-face anyway, look him in the eyes to see if I see any remorse, any signs of regret or shame. The doorbell is ringing before I even ask Ayoma who is on the line. I open the door. George Muhammed rushes in, trying to embrace me.

“Hello, Letitia,” he asks. “Where’s Ayoma?”

“He’s in his bedroom.” I say.

I walk past him into the kitchen to turn off the cooker. I hear him say as he comes in.

“He’ll be safe where ever he travels to.”

“Spare me, would you, Mr. Muhammed. I’ve got a lot to do right now before Ayoma’s departure.”

Upon a second thought, I open the door. I hear him enter the living room. Feel him standing behind me. When I turn to face him, I realize that Muhammed is looking tired. He looks much older than sixty. I see why people often mistake him for my father. But at the moment he just looks pitiful. Like a stray and hungry dog. But I don’t feel sorry for him one bit, because he’s not a stray dog. He’s the man who left me for another woman without any reason.

T be continued…

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