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Just Saying

“What happened between you and my mum?”

Annoying child.

I kept looking around the Barcelos’- hoping I would see either a ‘quiet’ or ‘no kids allowed’ sign.

No such luck.

I didn’t – couldn’t meet her face. But it wasn’t because of anything other than that she had asked me a question I didn’t have an answer to.

What had happened?

What went wrong? When did we decide to…

No. We didn’t decide anything. SHE had asked for a divorce and something – probably guilt, had stopped me from arguing or fighting.

In fact, the only reason there are divorce papers is because it was a formality since we did the registry thing. Churches do not acknowledge divorce.

But what had made her ask for a divorce? I wasn’t unfaithful. Where was the time? I was barely able to come home for dinner at times, I was gone before they were up – all in the name of providing them with what I thought they needed most. The almighty naira.

Interesting; looking how far that got me.

And that; is what the problem was. Is. Because I haven’t stopped working absurd – nothing short of ridiculous hours.

That was what made her ask for a divorce.

I was working myself steadily towards an early eternal rest…my excuse being there were things to do and no time. So I put work first – and everything came next.

“What happened, daddy?”

I finally looked her in the eye, cut to the heart to see the unhappiness lurking in their innocent depths and knowing I was responsible. It hurt a lot to admit it, but I hadn’t been such a hit as a husband or father.

Shame on you; I thought.

“What happened?” I repeated. “I don’t know exactly what it was, but somehow it was my fault. I think I just stopped talking to her.”

She cocked her head sideways, dangling the fried-rice stained spoon in her hand as she watched me. “But dad, didn’t you live in the same house?”

Interesting question.

But this time, I knew the answer.

“Baby, you still have most of your toys?”

She smiled confidently. “Huh uhn.”

“But do you still play with them?”

She put the spoon down and set her chin in her palms, looking at me intently. I was suddenly afraid I had used a wrong example.

“Are you saying mum was a toy and you outgrew her?”

Uh oh. “That’s not what I…”

“That’s not nice daddy. Sorry I interrupted you. That’s not nice still.”

I scratched my head. This girl must be punishment for my mistakes – and it would seem as though they were just beginning.

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13 responses

  1. Hmmm. Hope this is not the end?

    April 11, 2014 at 10:19 am

  2. I can totally understand the daddy’s plight here. Sometimes when my 4yr old daughter starts with her questions, I wish I could just stitch up her mouth and leave just enough space for food to pass through a straw! But then, she’s not a “punishment for my mistakes”, dear daddy. She’s just like every child her age who won’t give up until all the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle are perfectly in place. Meanwhile, I still have similar discussions with my dad to this day.

    April 11, 2014 at 12:03 pm

    • You know, that’s the kind of relationships that hardly exist anymore.

      Nobody has time.

      Thank you!

      April 13, 2014 at 5:52 am

  3. Yemie

    Awww! This is so hilariously touching! Precocious kids can be such smart mouths, asking a gazillion and one questions in the fraction of a millisec before you gather enough wits about you, to attempting to answer even a single question. That can be pretty awkward! Funny how in one’s bid to bring home the ‘bacon’, one loses track of what’s equally as important: building and sustaining a budding relationship within the home. Whoever’s able to achieve a balance is wise and blessed. Kudos to you for this!

    April 11, 2014 at 1:12 pm

  4. Yemie

    Awww! This is so hilariously touching! Thought-provoking too! Precocious kids can be such smart mouths, asking a gazillion and one questions in the fraction of a millisec, while one’s still trying to gather one’s wit ’bout one in attempting to answer a single question. That’s one pretty awkward situation! Funny how one feels one’s towing the right path, working extraordinarily hard to bring home the ‘bacon’ and neglecting another equally important aspect of our human existence: building and sustaining relationships within the home. A wise person’s one who’s able to strike a balance, its difficult in this day and age; but not utterly impossible. Kudos and thanks for sharing!

    April 11, 2014 at 1:23 pm

  5. bshaba

    I remember this little girl and her dad. Her ‘sharpness’ just dey increase as she dey grow. The dad should be grateful for the innocent questions that provoke deep thoughts because it is during the search for the answers he will find strength, hope and some reason to be grateful but never to make the same mistakes.
    Thanks for sharing.

    April 11, 2014 at 3:17 pm

  6. Ah! This child again. I remember her. More please?

    April 11, 2014 at 4:43 pm

  7. balancing being the provider and companion can be so tasking sometimes….or maybe we just take things and people for granted. I like the story a lot.

    April 11, 2014 at 5:48 pm

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