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Throwback Tuesday: My Little Girl

Good Morning.

 

December 2012 I published an e-book titled ‘For Days and A Night’. If you’ve read it, you’ll probably recognize the story that follows. If you want to read it again – please do.

 

If you have no idea what ‘For Days and A Night’ is about, please read on.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________

“But Daddy, shebi if this bread was Nigerian made now, shebi people will start saying they are using juju. See how people are plenty on the line.”

 

 

“Baby, the bread is Nigerian made. It is made in Nigeria by Nigerians.”

 

 

“But Daddy, shebi you said that Shoprite is a South-African supermarket? Shebi that’s what you said.”

 

 

Sigh. My wonderful daughter.

 

The lady standing in line behind us looks like she’s hanging out with Bovi and Basketmouth at some event. I don’t see the joke.

 

 

I wonder why my daughter is standing beside me and not running up and down the aisles like most other kids. Isn’t that what kids her age do? Eerily, she looks anything but her age as she stands beside me with silent dignity, looking up at me with an expression of childish curiosity. I sigh and lean over till my face is on the same level as hers.

 

“Yes indeed, it is South African business. But you don’t expect them to bring bread down here everyday now, do you?”

 

 

She looks thoughtful, posing like the thinking man as though she is actually considering what I’d said.

 

“But how does the bread taste so different from all the ones we’ve been eating?” she asks.

 

 

“Because they probably have their own recipe, imported and all. So what they do is to bring a supervisor who mixes the flour and everything…” I pause to see if she is listening.

 

“Hmm-mmm,” she nods seriously.

 

“And then he just supervises the baking. That’s most likely why it tastes different from everything else,” I finish and stretch, wincing from a pain in my waist. This is starting to become an inconvenience, I think.

 

“Thank you for explaining daddy. Mummy says you’re the smartest man she knows,” my baby says.

 

 

That makes me sad. If she thinks I am so smart, why did she leave me?

 

 

I can’t find an answer.

 

 

Twenty-something minutes later it’s our turn to get bread. I dump two hot loaves into our nearly-full basket and head towards the cash register, my little girl skipping ahead of me. She gets to the fruit stand, raises herself on tiptoes and lifts the largest bag of apples she can carry.

 

 

Carefully raising it, she shows it to me, asking for my approval. At my smile she bravely tugs it to the least occupied cash register and waits for me to show up. I get there a few minutes later – having stopped to organize a few surprises for her.

 

 

Right in front of us is this annoying young couple. They keep touching each other lightly, teasing, smiling and laughing at each other. They are clearly in love; giggling like two monkeys. The way they are carrying on you’d think they were the only ones in Shoprite.

 

 

Some old women and men on the line smile indulgently, recognizing it for what it is. I frown because I recognize it for what it is; two people making fools of themselves over something that is not destined to last. From the left edge of my vision I see my little girl looking at me, definitely about to ask another question. I keep my face straight and frown deeper. She leaves me alone.

 

 

Finally we get out.

 

 

I ask her to wait by our stuff while I go get a cab from outside the parking lot. You should get a car; I tell myself. Definitely makes things easier all around. By the time I return, she is talking with two young girls dressed as though they are headed for a D’Banj video shoot. I politely but firmly shoo them away and load my daughter and our stuff into the cab.

 

 

And then we head home.

 

 

“Don’t you like women anymore Daddy?”

 

 

You would expect that I would be used to my daughter’s curiosity and strange questioning techniques by now. Sorry to let you down.

 

“Where did that come from?” I ask, reluctantly turning away from the window to look at my daughter’s upturned face. She really is beautiful.

 

Her brows gather as she concentrates. “Well, we’ve been together for two weeks now and you haven’t said hello to any woman except the cleaning woman and grandma’s friend.” She pauses. “Mummy says you need female attention,” she concludes.

 

“Mummy should learn to mind her business,” I mumble under my breath. My ex-wife is a model and therefore attention is the order of her life. And while I understand it is not to make me jealous; it was that way even when we were married. I do not like it.

 

“I just want to spend time with you. You’re the only woman I need right now,” I say. She smiles briefly at that, and then that look appears on her face. Not this time; I think grimly and quickly ward off what I know is coming.

 

“I have a friend,” I confess, half truthfully. “I would have brought her to meet you but I wanted this time – just you and me. Haven’t you missed me?” I say, acting hurt.

 

“I have – and you know, Daddy,” she says, sliding across the back seat to hug my arm. “Okay. But when can I meet your friend?”

 

 

Problem child.

 

 

“She wants to meet you,” I say as I get off the examination table, quickly putting on my shirt again. The belly I’ve grown over the past three months is embarrassing, and I don’t want her seeing more of it than is necessary.

 

“Your back is bust,” my physician says. “I think you slipped a disc – your hips are slightly bruised. But nothing a couple of injections and medication won’t cure,” she finishes.

 

 

I nod, uncharacteristically fidgeting. It is because she has not answered my question, and I understand why. It implies a different level of commitment…one she probably is not ready for. I am not even sure I am ready myself. We have seen each other socially a couple of times, and we are genuinely fond of each other – we agree it’s not serious.

 

 

She pushes her glasses back on her nose and smiles. “Why are you hiding your belly? Potbellied men are sexy you know, and haven’t you heard Wasiu’s song, ‘give the money to the man with the belly’?”

 

 

I am thankful I do not have water in my mouth. I would have bathed her; the way the laughter is naturally forced out of me.

 

 

On my way out after my injections and prescription, she gently lays a hand on my sleeve. “I would love to meet your daughter. When would you want me to come?”

 

 

 

I am proud of my daughter tonight.

 

 

Whatever else my ex is, she knows how to raise a daughter. She has done herself proud with ours.

 

 

At her first sight of my friend my daughter kneels down to greet her properly. My friend is so overwhelmed, she hugs my baby firmly. When she finally lets go, my daughter asks, “What do I call you?”

 

 

My friend is taken aback. She looks at me for help, and when she does not get any she sighs. “Well I don’t stand on ceremony, so you can call me by name. It’s -”

 

 

My daughter interrupts. “Mum will kill me if I do that,” she says seriously. “I’ll just call you auntie.”

 

 

‘Auntie’ looks over at me, eyebrows raised behind spectacles. I shrug.

 

 

Dinner is a huge success. I am the guest.

 

 

They get on so well I am amazed. It is as though my little girl is determined to make a point. It is incredible. Finally, after auntie leaves it is just me and my little girl on the couch.

 

“So…do you like my friend?”

 

 

She considers that for a bit, fiddling with the hem of her dress. “That’s not what’s important to me daddy.” She pauses, and then continues, “does she make you happy?”

 

 

Slowly, my eyes overflow and tears trickle down my cheeks.

 

 

I am crying.

For Days and A Night by Seun Odukoya

I really hope you enjoyed the story! Download For Days and A Night free here!

Be wonderful as usual!

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41 responses

  1. I definitely remember the I definitely remember the I definitely remember the I definitely remember the story…

    September 10, 2013 at 7:07 am

    • Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You…

      September 10, 2013 at 7:16 am

  2. M

    This story here is one of the why’s i…

    September 10, 2013 at 7:16 am

    • Why you….what?

      Thank you ma’am!

      September 10, 2013 at 10:24 am

  3. Really lovely story. Great job! i’ll definitely go and read the ebook now.

    September 10, 2013 at 7:18 am

  4. Still as captivating as the first time i read it…

    Kudos

    September 10, 2013 at 7:22 am

  5. All the while I was reading, I struggled to wrap my head around the fact that a child could ever act this matured. Otherwise, it was beautifully paced, well told and I enjoyed…

    I don’t know how I missed this when I read the ebook though.

    September 10, 2013 at 9:49 am

    • You never know.

      Thank you man.

      September 10, 2013 at 9:57 am

  6. You are an amazing writer Seun. You always leave us wanting more. But come o! How old was this child? May your well of inspiration never run dry.

    September 10, 2013 at 10:16 am

    • Amen ma!

      As to the age of the child…hmm. What do you think?

      September 10, 2013 at 10:41 am

  7. @BankyB02

    This is so beautiful Seun, keep up the beautiful works

    September 10, 2013 at 10:37 am

    • Thank you so much. God bless you!

      September 10, 2013 at 11:03 am

  8. Nneka

    Being the mother of a very wonderful 3yr old, and knowing the amazing things she says daily, I’m not the least surprised. In fact, maybe, Seun watered it down a little here. These children could drill you like they were working for the CIA.
    P.S.
    This was one of my favorite parts of the book

    September 10, 2013 at 11:48 am

  9. Dotun’s word-skips may have been accidental. It happens at times with wordpress.com on opera mini.
    Err… no way, you say how old your baby is. All the same, babies these days are a…mazingly intelligent. They make me feel I may have really been a dullard.
    So, I can wrap my head around that part of the story.
    I really did enjoy this. Thanks for mentioning on Twitter.

    September 10, 2013 at 12:38 pm

  10. Wow! Captivating! You’re a good writer. Thanks for this.

    September 11, 2013 at 8:24 am

  11. Gloire

    Though I have the ebook, I read this story like I haven’t seen it before.
    You always have that effect on your readers.
    Awesome, Seun.

    September 11, 2013 at 3:15 pm

  12. This was my favourite story in ‘For Days and A Night’ when I read it last year. So well written! Reading it again feels like I have never even read it before and I’m sure it would feel the same way if I do over and over. Seun, I’ve run out of words to describe what a bundle of talent you are! Keep it up sir!

    September 11, 2013 at 4:12 pm

    • Thank you, Geebee. It’s a privilege.

      I will. Lord willing.

      September 13, 2013 at 7:09 am

  13. Very nice! I had to read it over and over. Straight to download the book.

    September 11, 2013 at 10:57 pm

  14. Heartwarming story.

    I love the flow. It had this sadness that resonated a coming hope and the assurance of things turning about for the better.
    Good thing you put this up, it should encourage people who haven’t read it to want to read the book.

    September 12, 2013 at 8:25 am

    • Thank you so much Afro.

      I appreciate!

      September 12, 2013 at 8:42 am

  15. I remember this story. I frickin’ remember it! I’m so happy to say I remember it! 😀

    Baba God, gimme pikin like that, I pray fervently.

    September 12, 2013 at 11:03 am

    • Amen.

      And thank you for calling my story memorable.

      September 12, 2013 at 11:47 am

  16. Awww. I almost shed a tear. That little girl…

    September 16, 2013 at 1:01 pm

  17. Seun
    Mr seun
    Mr seun odukoya
    this was a very beautiful story……now woondering y I hvnt descended on d ebook yet. Will do so annd gv uu feedback
    Ure a good writer sir
    I’m a lady bt I tip my hat all d same. #smileys$mile
    I hope to feature u someday on my blog and I dnt mind showiiing face here either
    Lovely story

    September 17, 2013 at 7:05 pm

    • Thank you thru and thru.

      Whenever you’re ready.

      September 17, 2013 at 7:09 pm

  18. Pingback: Midweek Fix: The Simplicity of Love | Seun Odukoya

  19. Yemie

    Aww! This little girl’s outta this world! Too good to be true! A jewel of inestimable value! A diamond amongst stones.That final line touched me deeply! Your compositions are soul-stirring! The convos I find very witty and phenomenal! Definitely the icing on the cake for me. Keep keeping on, you do great always!

    June 23, 2014 at 5:28 pm

    • Whoa.

      I cannot thank you enough, you.

      Meanwhile – hey, have you read the book THIS story came from?

      June 23, 2014 at 5:53 pm

      • Yemie

        Whaddya think?! I don download the E-book like ‘tipetipe’! I just need to go find me a quiet spot and sink my gums into it, devouring it to my heart’s content! Will let you know what I think but from what I already know of this darling lil missy and her daddy, I know it’d be exceptional! Lolz.

        June 23, 2014 at 5:59 pm

      • Well – this is the only story about them in there!

        Do tell me what you think. Thank you!

        June 23, 2014 at 6:12 pm

  20. precious

    I love it….
    “giggling like two monkeys”. lol 🙂

    October 25, 2014 at 7:34 am

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