Our house was probably more silent than the morgue in the following weeks after my father’s passing.
My mother didn’t cry much. I was really surprised, that was always how she was.
Funny enough, my father was always the emotional leader of the home. He was very in tune with feelings around the home.
I remember once when my “friend” had a birthday party and invited the entire block but not me.
I sobbed all day in my party outfit.
My plan was to crash the party but my mother shut that down. I was not going to be out there embarrassing my family.
Notice any patterns?
That evening, my father came into my room. He was fully clothed in his all white agbada, I was only 13 and he sat with me and played video games all evening till I passed out in my outfit.
That was my father.
He always had my back, even when I was unsure and just out of it.
And I loved him dearly for it.
So you can imagine losing him under the circumstances that we did.
I was crushed.
I stayed up in my room as the funeral planning went on.
The church was handling much of it and my mother was just in the house with no one feeling confident enough to approach her.
It was about 4am in the morning when I heard a car honk.
A few minutes later, I heard the doors open and voices became more pronounced.
At first, I thought it was more people coming to pay their respects but it didn’t make sense for them to be there that early.
Shortly after, I heard a mild knock on my door.
The door swung open and it was one of my mother’s cousins. I barely sat up when she said
“You have guests. Mummy wants you”
I felt my heart skip a beat. My mother had not spoken to me since that day at the church.
I wasn’t sure what was going on but I slowly got up.
Slipping into my clothes, I headed down the stairs.
When I arrived at the living room, I noticed it was filled with about 15 people. My mother was sitting in the big chair that my father used to sit in.
Her hands between her legs and clad in an all black gown, she barely lifted a brow as I took my seat.
As I scanned the room, I noticed my dad’s cousin to my left.
He lived in Saudi Arabia and the last I heard, he wasn’t in town.
I greeted him and sat with my head bent.
He opened the meeting with greetings before addressing the passing of my dad,
the upcoming funeral and how he wanted things to go moving forward.
“….I know you are still grieving but whether you like it or not, this is your son.
God did not make you a barren woman. He is your responsibility and I have never known you to be one to shelve your responsibilities.
Now the circumstances we find ourselves in are very unique and unexpected but this is still a family.
God gives and He takes how He feels best but He gave you this one and made you guys one. We can only ask for His mercy and guidance because we cannot do it alone or by our reasoning”
He stopped and looked in my direction as he said
“…you are a man.
Regardless of your orientation or preferences. You have to step up and be the man of this house. You have to be there for your mother and be her rock”
This was a man my mother and my entire family greatly respected. He rarely spoke but when he did, people listened.
So it was surprising when my mother blurted out
We had a man of this home. He is a disgrace to this family and to God!”
She was crying as the words left her lips.
I am still not sure how it happened but I stood up and snapped.
“Are you serious?!
Are you being serious right now?
I did everything you asked for a son. I am at the top of my career, I don’t steal or cheat.
I have never brought reproach to your name, but the moment I want the freedom to love who I want, you want to call me a disgrace.
You publicly humiliated me!
Your own fucking son!!!! I am your son first and foremost!
There are people that have sons as murderers that stand by them. But the moment I want to love someone, I am the disgrace?
You are the disgrace! You dragged me in front of the house of God to shame me!
What kind of God do you serve?
Where is that in the bible? Call me a disgrace, in fact exile me!
Once the funeral is over, I am going back to America. You can have your perfect home since you want the whole world to think everything is perfect in here!”
I was standing and the whole room was stunned into silence.
I took a deep breath and said
“Uncle, thank you for your wise words but there is nothing here.
This is not my mother. I am done”
I walked out of the room as he called my name
I just kept walking to my room. I locked the door and curled into the bed.
That night, I missed my father more than ever.
The funeral was as you would expect – big.
There were so many people from all over the world. His church folk, friends from his days at the Rotary Club, high school buddies and just random folks.
Everyone came out to pay their respects.
My mother and I didn’t stand next to each other like you would normally see in movies.
There were a few family members standing between us.
Dressed in all white, my mother said my father would not have liked us in all black, I stood and just counted down the minutes.
It was scorching hot and humid.
The sermon was long and unnecessary.
Tears rolled down my eyes as he was lowered into the ground.
Even more when I poured the dirt on the coffin.
I think it really hit me then that he was gone.
Sandra was right next to me as we turned away and headed to the car waiting for us.
There were traditional drummers singing my “praises” as we walked to the car.
They were expecting a token but all I wanted was my father back.
I got into the back of the car and just stared out of the window.
We went back to the house. Sandra and a few of my other friends were in my room with me while I laid on the bed staring at the ceiling.
What next from here?
I thought to myself.
It was 3 days after the funeral.
And I was packed and ready to go. Sandra was taking me to the airport with her boyfriend Eugene.
All of my suitcases were loaded into the car.
Dimeji walked up to me and said
“Oga, you sure see you wan go like this?
At least wait make mummy come back from where she go with her friend”
I nodded and said
“Oga D, time don reach to day go.
E better like this. No wahala for anybody. Take, use this one by biscuit for Salewa and Timi”
I handed him some money in his right hand while supporting the firm handshake with my left hand.
He pulled me in and gave me a hug.
“We go miss you for here sha.”
He said with a saddened look on his face.
I forced a smile and said
“You know sen even when I day go school for that side, I day always call na.
I go day whatsapp una. “
he nodded and I lowered myself into the car.
Off we went, I remember buying Gala and Fan Yogurt on my way to the airport.
I couldn’t wait to leave all of this behind.
I was lost in thought when I heard Gaga Shuffle come on the radio, I turned and looked at Sandra who had a wry smile across her face.
We started singing as I pulled out my phone to record a snapchat video.
As I watched the playback I said,
“You know I’m going to miss you right?”
She rolled her eyes and said
“You’re going to see me in a few months. Literally less than 3 months!”
I smiled back and said
“But it feels like forever!
You better buy enough plantain chips when you are coming. Otherwise, I am turning you away at the airport!”
She chuckled and said
“Come on, you know I got you always”
We parked the car in the garage and used the trolleys to get my bags to the terminal.
Check-in was fairly smooth but for the waiting in line.
I had weighed all my bags at home and paid for the excess luggage online to save time at the airport.
The attendant asked me
“Where is your final destination?”
She smiled and handed me both of my boarding passes before tagging my bags.
I walked back to Sandra and gave her a long hug.
As I let her go, I said
“You know, I actually have time before we board, we can grab food and chill at that spot”
pointing towards a restaurant.
She smiled and said
“I wish I could but remember I have my fitting for my cousin’s wedding. Have to make it back to the Island”
I nodded and gave her another hug.
She whispered in my ear
“I love you”
“I love you too”
As I let her go and began to walk away, I heard someone call my name
I stopped in my tracks and turned around. It wasn’t Sandra.
She was stopped too, trying to figure out where it came from. I looked to my left and noticed a tall and slim man in a suit approaching me.
I faced him and he smiled before saying
“Hi, sorry to interrupt”
Still puzzled, I shook his outstretched hand.
He smiled again and said
“I know you have questions…”
I then spoke and said
“Please who are you?”
He ignored my question and said
“…I had to stop you because I could not allow you to get on that flight.
You deserve to be here with the people you love. This is your home”
I was even more confused, this man knew my name and seemed to know a bit about what was going on at home.
So I asked
“Please sir, who are you?”
He moved closer and now with a straight face, he replied and said
“I am the man your mother has been in a relationship with for the past 22 years”
Sandra yelled out
I couldn’t believe my ears. This ride was about to get a whole lot messier. PLEASE LEAVE ME A COMMENT BELOW!
What happens next?
Come back for Part 4 next Saturday!
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Come back next week for Part 4!
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