Saturday, December 4, 2010
Daddy and I - Part II
One bright Saturday afternoon, Daddy called a family meeting. I loved those! We got to go out to our favourite restaurant and eat all the ice-cream our little bellies could contain. Growing up, they lost their allure because I realised Daddy only called those when there was bad news he had to break to us - like when he lost his job and we had to change schools, or when grand-pa passed away.
This time, it was different. Daddy kept looking at us anxiously during the meal and even with our undying love and devotion to Italian ice-cream, we could hardly eat any that night. We were just as eager for the meal to end so we could drive to the beach and Daddy could tell us why he called the meeting. The tension in his face, in his sighs and in his glances was almost palpable and painful to watch.
After what seemed like eons to our anxious minds, we arrived at the beach and after the usual beating about the bush, Dad broached the topic at hand. "You miss your mom, don't you?" He asked both of us. "Yes" I nodded. "Daddy, who is 'your mom'?" My younger sister asked and as young as I was, I couldn't help but marvel at the great capacity the human heart and mind had to cope, to heal and to forget. Daddy took out the wallet photo he had of the four of us, visibly worn out no doubt from being taken out and replaced countless times. When she saw the photo, she exclaimed 'Mummy! When is she coming back, Dad?'
Daddy chose that moment to spring the news on us. Artfully dodging the question, he asked her 'How would you like Auntie May to be your new mummy?' The sly fox! 'whoa, wait a minute there, our new mummy?' I asked, incredulous. "Yes, love, I am thinking of marrying Auntie May. Your mom sent the divorce papers even before she re-covered from her jet-lag after running away with Raphael, effectively quenching all hope. I have thought long and hard about it and would like to with your approval, marry Auntie May" By this time, my little sister was jumpin up and down the beach screaming 'yay! I'm going to have a new mummy!'
You see, Auntie May was this uber cool 'Auntie' we had who used to visit us at times and prepared delicacies such as opham, kubecake, nkatiecake, and honey top cookies for us. (Auntie here is as per the African definition - i.e. any older woman whether related by blood, marriage or friendship or just plain living in the same neighbourhood) My sister loved her and I guess I did too but I had always felt she was trying to replace my mom and here I was being proven right.
Daddy saw the clouds that had gathered on my face and touched my arm, willing me to understand him, to be share his joy and excitement. After a while, I sighed and asked him - Do you love her?Yes, he said without a moment's doubt. Then I'm happy for you, I said, hugging him so he wouldn't see my tears. And as a tear fell from my eye, I meant it with all my twelve year old heart...(To be continued)