I sat down on the muddy ground, looking on as daddy’s golden casket was being lowered to the earth. I had cried and gotten tired of crying. I couldn’t believe that my foster daddy was gone, after promising to take me away from mummy and her constant troubles. I looked at mummy, dressed in a lacy white gown. She was looking at me and I wondered if it was pity or hatred that I saw in her eyes. She wasn’t crying. She just kept her gaze on me.
Three months ago
After daddy left the house, I went into the house and saw Chine struggling with the broom. I took it from her and swept the entire house before going into my room. I picked up my phone from where it was charging and dialled Chuku’s number.
Me: How are you?
Chuku: I’m fine. How are you?
Me: I’m not fine.
Chuku: Are you sick?
Me: It’s mummy. She…..
Chuku: Did she beat you? I’ll call her up right now.
Me: No. No. She’s having problems with daddy because of me.
I took time to explain to him all that happened that morning, including the slap.
He sighed deeply and paused for a while before speaking.
Chuku: l’m sorry about what mummy did. I’ll round up my computer classes and come back as soon as possible.
Me: Daddy said I’ll leave with him today.
Chuku: Sis, you’re not going anywhere. I’ll call daddy immediately and plead with him. For my sake please.
Me: Its okay. I also want to stay with my family. Daddy is just angry,when he comes. back, I’ll talk with him and we’ll settle everything.
Chuku: Thanks Sis. Where is mummy now?
Me: she left while I was sweeping the house.
Chuku: Okay. But trust me, I’ll be back as soon as possible okay?
Me: Better cause I’m missing you too much.
Chuku: Me too.
We spoke a little longer before we said our goodbyes and I went to eat breakfast. Chinu didn’t come out of her room till I served lunch. She ate and asked me to keep food for mum and dad before she went back to her room.
While frying food for dinner, hot oil poured on my leg. I cried out in pain and cried while the food burnt away. Mummy came back around 8:00pm and I served dinner. On a normal day, she would beat me once she sees any burnt part of the food but today, she ate it without saying anything to me.
I did the dishes that night, using the opportunity to wait for dad. I wanted to talk to him. He needed to stop beating his wife. I waited till I slept off on the couch.
The next morning brought about the worst news I’d ever heard. Daddy was found in his car along the road, dead. It was not an accident, he was not shot or injured. His head was on the steering, like he was .
I watched as the men from Kingdom funeral undertakers lowered the remains of my daddy to mother earth while on the other hand, mummy stared at me, not removing her eyes for once. We were all dressed in white but I didn’t care. I was sitting on the muddy ground as it had rained heavily that morning. Chuku stood beside me. He was crying his eyes out. My friends from school were all around me but will their presence bring back my daddy Alex? I only came back to the present when Gini tapped me, asking that the priest was talking to me. I stood up and realised that everyone was looking at me. I looked at Father Jude, he was our parish youth father. He was a close friend to the family. He was smiling but today, I wouldn’t smile with him.
Fr. Jude: Amanda, show respect to your father.
The catechist handed me a shovel. I took it from him, collected some sand from the heap on the floor and held onto the shovel. For the first time in two weeks, tears fell from my eyes.
Me: Daddy, why didn’t I leave the house with you? I would have being with you today. Why did you choose to leave me alone? Why daddy? Who did you visit? Who did this to you? Is this where you promised to end? I thought you promised to be there with me all the time? Are you happy seeing our faces this swollen and red? Daddy why didn’t you fight death? Why didn’t you come home like you promised? Or is this a better way of making peace reign? Daddy who will take care of us? Daddy I have so many questions to ask you but since you swore not to answer them, rest in peace. Since you were weak to fight death, daddy, fight now that you’re immortal. Fight whoever did this to you daddy.
The shovel left my hand and landed into the grave, right on top of the casket while I slumped on the floor, crying my heart out. Chuku and some of my friends came and took me away into the house while the burial rite continued.