Daddy’s Little Girl
“I didn’t raise you like that, Use.”
I am having a father-daughter
moment with my dad. Probably our last. The old man is dying and it is a heart wrenching thing to experience, so I’d rather believe that it’s not happening. To me, he’s seventy again and I’m his young twenty-year old daughter who has come to ask his advice over some boy issue. The boy in question is Jide. I have reported my misdeeds and daddy is giving me his counsel. He is very disappointed in me.
“I think we overindulged you. We gave you everything you asked for. And that is why when you can’t get the things you want the way you want them, you lose control.”
“But daddy, you know I’m not like that. It’s just that I’ve been hurt so many times. I can’t trust again. I just can’t.”
He tries to speak but strenuous breathing takes over. I hold his bony hand; it shakes in mine. The room is warm and smells faintly of my mother’s perfume. Years after her death and daddy still retains her essence. Her clothes remain in the closet, untouched, but dusted by daddy himself every other day. The bathroom slippers she had worn on the night of her death remains on the floor, on her side of the bed. No one had touched them. No one dared to. And now, I lie beside daddy, where she used to lie; a place he had not given any other woman even though he had been lonely through the years.
“Buy him a new phone, go back and apologize to him.”
“But he lied to me. And I’m sure he cheated too.”
“And you can’t forgive him?”
I want to explain to daddy that it is not about forgiveness but I know he won’t understand. I just don’t want to continue with Jide. I’m in too deep already. It will tear me apart if he hurts me again; my heart is too fragile. It’s better I leave now that things haven’t gone too far between us.
“Somehow you think that when you eventually get married, it’ll be with a perfect man.”
“Yes. You were perfect for mommy. You always made her happy, despite all that was happening.”
He laughs, in a quiet and muffled way, to avoid going into a coughing spell.
“Erhinyuse,” he calls.
He laughs again. “My Honey.”
“You’re still a little girl inside. I’m wondering how you have made it thus far in this world with this mentality. Life is not those romance novels you read.”
“Trust is a two-way street. You have to meet him halfway. And as a woman, try to overlook some things, which would be difficult but just try. Lastly, no more spying on his phone. Give the young man a break.”
“That’s assuming we get back together.”
“Don’t be as stubborn as your mother, Honey. That’s the part of her you took that I don’t like.”
He rubs my hand. I give him a glance to see a tired smile on his face. I should probably let him rest but I’m so scared that if I leave, he’ll get worse.
“You can go now, let me sleep.”
“I’m not going anywhere.”
“I’m fine, Erhinyuse.”
“No, I’m staying, daddy.”
“Go.” His hand leaves mine. I dither before I walk out of the room. I stroll to mine and fall on the bed. Jide naturally enters my mind. I hate the way I miss him. I am glad that I have reason to stay back here in Warri or I would have zapped right back to him without a second thought….
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