Read previous work from this Author… Amaka
The old grandfather’s clock chimes 12 noon in a bright sunny afternoon. The smell of white lilies lined up the hall way leading to the front giant door into their house.
She has been staring out of the window for as long as she could stare, waiting to see the gates swing open and that all too familiar car drive in and an all to familiar face alight full of smiles and maybe a rose for the woman he loves and an equally befitting gift for the other he adores.
She continuous to stare, not looking away even when she felt her behind her.
”Come sweet one” The hand to her shoulders, it was warm. It has always been warm. But she needed another hand, that one was comfort.. that one was more than love. That arm of the one she calls her hero. The one whom the woman who touches her now adores.
”No, he promised” She wipes her nose, already reddened.
”Yes, but sometimes, there may be unforeseen circumstances and he may not make it, it does not mean he loves you any less”
”If he loves me, he would be here, he promised.” She sniffs, tears leaving her eyes .
”And he always keeps to his promises. You must not forget that he is halfway across the world sweet one” She wipes her tears with her finger.
”Why though, why can he not be here with us, why does he have to be far away… miles and miles, thousands of miles away Mama? Other fathers are always around, but he is never around, it hurts.”
Her mother goes to her knees, she turns her away from the window to stare at her ”Because my sweet child” she tucks a hair behind her ear and then brushes a thumb against her cheeks ”Papa is a busy man; Papa takes care of his family both near and far and Papa has so much to do and he is always one man, and sometimes he needs to make sacrifices to ensure all needs are met. And yes he may not be around as much as you want him, but he is always there, showing up when you need him and when you do not, he calls you, he makes sure you never lack and he ensures you go to the best of schools, you are his Princess and he loves you so so much my sweet one” She stares lovingly into her eyes.
”But he is not here… he isn’t. I wish he didn’t have to leave … he never stays, he comes and he leaves and I want him home, I need him home Mama… I need him Home” she sniffs.
”Oh come here mio dolce bambino” Her mother pulls her into a hug and kisses her ”Tuo padre ti ama e si farebbe vedere quando hai bisogno di lui, lo prometto”
”You keep speaking Italian to me knowing I do not yet understand it Mama”
Her mother smiles ”Aww Bambina… you need to, it’s because you don’t want to. It is my mother tongue my sweet child, and Papa loves to speak it too..” she pulls her cheeks ”Now come, come and I will take you to the park and you can have all the ice-creams you want”
She backs away from her mother and stares back at the window…”I won’t go anywhere, I would wait for Papa”
Her mother smiles ”And I would wait with you, that is what families do, we stay with each other… yes?”
”Now clean your eyes Bambina, pretty girls do not cry, do not soil your dress hmm?”
She nods . The she heard it, the car honing at the gate.
Her eyes grows big and then she began to squeal ”Papa! Papa! Papa is here, Papa is here, Mama… Papa is here” She jumps rushing to the window and staring. She saw his car drive him and he alighting, he stares at her direction and then waves.
She waves back at him in excitement, unable to contain her screaming.
Her mother laughed ”I told you Papa would show up when you need him, he always does. Now leave the window and come greet your Papa like a little princess you are..come come” She beckons to her daughter, reaching for her hand.
She leaves the window to her mother, still unable to stand still.
The servants rush to open the giant doors down the hall to usher him in, they wait, she jumping still.
Then she saw him climbing the stairs to her, walking fast… breathless he mounted and then stood a few feet from her. He handed the flowers he held to a servant and then a few boxes too.
Her face breaks into the most largest smile she could carry. She stood clapping happily as he rushes to her and swings her up in his arms spinning her round and round as she squealed in excitement.
”Careful my love, she would puke all over you, she just ate” The woman who stood beside him with her hand to his back stares as she blew her a kiss.
”Nonsense, I do not care, I would clean it all up and swing her in the air again and again, won’t I now, won’t I now my little monkey?” he kept spinning her till her cheeks hurt from laughing. He stops and brings her to his knee as he sat down ”How is my most favorite girl in the whole wide world huh?”
”Happy papa!” she hugs him ”Really Happy. I missed you, I feared you would not come”
”Aww I missed you my Bambina and I would not not have thought of not coming, it didn’t matter that I had to cross the deep blue sea and had a fight with Moses at the red sea and even had a word with the angels and sold my left arm to get passage all because I wanted to spend time with my Princess”
She laughs, he grabs her face and places a kiss to her lips ”Oh, my Darlyne , My princess… you are my life, the very life and I am sorry I am more away than close, but do not fret, soon, my business would be brought overseas and you and I can be together, always”
”Forever and always?”
”Forever and always, like you and I and Mama have always wanted” He hugs her
”Papa, how long are you staying Papa?” She stares into his eyes, they were so blue, so full of love and care..those were the first eyes she saw and loved… her father would always come first in her life, his place was unmeasured. Her mother was her everything yes, but her father was her everything everything.
”Ahh my little monkey, how does a month sound like?”
She gasps ”A whole month this time?”
”Yes, a whole month, 31 days, morning and night, Mondays through Sundays… a whole month with you and you and you alone” He plasters kisses all over her face.
”Yay!! ” she claps ”I love you Papa!!” she hugs him
”I love you too my princess, look, I got a present for you ”
”Show me show me” She claps excitedly.
He lifts his briefcase, takes out a small box, then opens it to reveal a hand and neck chain ,
”Oh Papa, it is really beautiful” she touches her cheeks and stares at it, it sparkled.
”Just like you, I know you like white gold so I had one especially made for you and lots more where it comes from. Here, let me help you with them”
He places the necklace to her neck and helps her with the one to her wrists ”See, I made it a few sizes too big so you can adjust it as much as you want and guess what..you can have it forever without having to take it off. You do not need to take it of, ever..take this as your most priced possession okay?”
She nods touching them tentatively as it rests round her neck and then her wrists
”Happy birthday my Princess, I would give you the world, I promise” they hug.
She raises her wrists and then frowns at the inscription ”What does this mean Papa?”
He reads it out for her ” Tutto ciò che cerchi è giusto di fronte a te. la chiave del tuo tesoro è accanto al tuo cuore” You do not know?”
She shakes her head
”Have you not being attending your Italian classes ?”
She pouts ”I don’t like Italian”
”No? But it is your mother’s language, you should love it”
”No, I do not like it”
”What do you like then?”
”Ah Si, I’ll tell you what, you tell me the meaning of that inscription to your chain and I would make sure you enroll in your french classes this summer and maybe get you that that castle house you have always wanted”
”But she has a dozen of those castles my love” Her mother comes to them. He gets up with his daughter, carrying her in his arm as he leans into his wife and places a kiss to her lips, lingering…”ti amo il mio mondo” He places his forehead to hers
She closes her eyes for a minute, placing a hand to his chest ”ti amo padre di mio figlio” he beckons to one of the servants who gives him the flower he bought ”And a beautiful flower for my Queen and all the shinning things in the world I picked from each country for you in those boxes” he smiles, her eyes glowed
”Oh, you take care of me much my darlyne”
”That is what I should do always…that is what I should do for my girls” He kisses her forehead and then turns ton his daughter ”Who isn’t too old for a piggy ride?”
”Me!!” She squealed clapping her hands, He drops her down and then bends backing her
”Well, hop on my little monkey, and away we go” He lifts her up with a spin as she laughs in excitement, He began to run with her, his wife walking fast to catch up with them. Love in laughter fades away…
She blinks… her hand unconsciously caressing the necklace to her neck.
“‘Ma’am, would you like to un-board the plane please, we landed ten minutes ago and you are the only one still on-board!”
She turns to realize that she truly was the only one on-board, smiling she grabs her bag and makes her way out.
They were waiting for her, everyone was.
She stood there, barely listening as he spoke. Half the people who stood beside her she didn’t know. Yet she stood, dressed in the usual apparel befitting the scene, black shades to cover her eyes, the sun scorching her back and her desire to be anywhere but here.
The man who stood before them, staring at the book he held, his words audible, yet, words she didn’t want to hear, or rather she didn’t think she would hear for a long long time after she heard it, a few years ago for the first time. She had prayed to God, that before she would again, it would be as a result of natural causes, in due time, after he had had the time to be a part of her joy, at least one of them should have been a part of her joy..
But life wasn’t a bed full of roses, and it never did give you all that you want when you want. Life just happened, whether you are ready for it or not.
And it did happen, leaving her empty, void…in pains.
The man kept talking, she tried to block out the words. But it was too quiet, the surrounding was to quiet to distract herself with noise, even the birds were solemn as if perceiving the atmosphere. Everything had an aura of death..the trees had withered, the flowers in vases that perched at the foot of where they laid seemed recently refreshed with springs..but yet…it looked like death.
She turns away, blinking back tears. She sniffs, and wills herself away, to a distant land, anywhere but here.
But just like life, you cannot run away from reality, no matter how painful it is, you need to face it..and by God she didn’t want to face it, not yet, not now, not ever, it was too soon. Too soon.
”We are gathered here to honor and pay tribute to a husband, a father, a friend and a brother, whose life was suddenly cut short by this sudden death.
Benjamin Thomas George was a man with a vision, a man who saw life differently than most of us. He saw a need in the society and ensured he went all out to fulfill it, he sacrificed a lot to ensure others had a good life. He was friend, he was a giver and he was a good man.
After the death of his wife, Aviela Roberto Guellingo Tegena, He became a man wrought with pains, but he never showed it. Instead he continued to do good things and make life easy for us. Building schools, foundations for orphaned children and making Crescent Hills a home for all of us who didn’t have the privilege to have one. Despite the challenges he faced and the bottlenecks, he didn’t give up trying. And he succeed continuously.
Before his death, he was on his way to meet his only daughter, having been away from her for five years straight because he had been in Africa doing the good work. He had wanted to spend the year with her, and also to tell her the good news, all the years of hard work and good deeds had paid off, not only has his company been established, with chains of it to open across the country, he was able to give new lives to the citizens of Cresent hills and the Government have finally recognized his love and Zeal for humanity and that he was going to be the recognized internationally, and given a platform men like him only dreamed and become bearer and treasurer of all good things. But,death knows no man, it is no respecter of man…Death took him, even before the plane reached the ground..” the man paused ”I know that he has touched each and every one of our lives in the most wonderful of ways, and yet, he was not even our blood..yet…he was a blessing to us all and we would miss him. Our prayers go out to his only remaining family, Annika Aviella Thomas George, whose heart is in pains having lost her father.. we pray that God grants her the fortitude to bear such lose..let us pray”
While the Priest prayed, she closes her eyes and lets the tears drop, struggling with the urge to scream and curse..
”Annika, would you like to say your goodbyes?” The priest asks and ushers her to step forward.
She does, standing over his coffin, as it is been lowered to the ground, picking up dust from the earth she held it over the coffin and says ”Papa, you have taught me so much, much more than anyone could have and you have told me countless of times how we should be selfless to humanity and that our reward would be in heaven. Father , you thought me the meaning of love and then of sacrifices and you showed me how beautiful the world can be if we all live together in love. So forgive me how i fail to understand how a man as good as you, as loving, as caring and as selfless could be ripped from this earth leaving his daughter alone to this harsh world. Forgive me if i cannot understand how God could let this happen. I know in all things we should give thanks, but i am not thankful because i want you back, i want both of you back..but” she sniffs ”Wishes aren’t horses. I miss you Papa, and i miss you most Mama. You both were my life and now that you are gone, and i wasn’t able to say goodbye it hurts. You said you would always be there for me, and that you would always show up when i need you, but this time you broke your promise..and i wish i could hate you for leaving me but i cannot..i am just sorry i was not able to tell you how much i am thankful to God for blessing me with a great father like you before you were Gone.
Dying from a plane crash was a horrible death, but I am thankful that at least, you get to win something today; you get to be with the woman of your dreams now, ..Mama.
I love you, I love you so much. Rest in peace Papa… Possa Dio concederti di riposare in seno a papà, dire alla mamma che amo e che mi manca. Ti amo tanto tanto”
She lets the sand slip through her fingers and then slips to the floor, letting her tears flow as she cried.
She felt hands pull her up and the take her away, she turns around to see them cover her father’s coffin up, she turns away slipping into unconsciousness.
”She just needs rest, she is fine, the doctor says she is still recovering from the shock”
Anikka blinks trying to clear the blurriness from her eyes. She could hear voices and then see shadows, a light music playing in the background. She blinks, trying to seat up.
”Oh, she is awake” Someone rushes to her ”Anikka, are you okay sweet child”
She seats up as the lady helps her up ”Drink water, you would be fine. You fainted at the funeral, are you okay do you feel okay?” She hands her water, and helps her to drink.
”I do not know you!” Annika drinks staring at her and the other faces who stare back at her.
The lady smiles at her ”My name is Abetta Bluime. Your father gave me a job, and ensured all my kids got to go to college, now I also took care of him when he was in Crescent Hill; food and all that, and i ensure that he is comfortable while he is in town”
Anikka nods standing up, staring at the rest of everyone staring at her ”And them?”
”Your father was a blessing to us all, helping those who he can, ensuring that they didn’t lack, they all came to pay their respect to him and see how they can make his funeral a success. They all loved your father. ”
”Why is it loud?” she grimaces as she felt a headache coming, she rubs her temple.
”A lot of people are in the living room,want to pay their last respect, also want to see the daughter and thank her for the goodwill her father had done for them. Would you want to see them?”
”Come, I would introduce you” Abetta takes her by the hand and leads her out of the room to everyone who waited to see her.
She stood as each and everyone began to leave, shaking her hand and saying a few words to her. The last of them came, taking her hands and staring at her ”Your father was a good man, too good a man infact, maybe that’s why he died. The world don’t love good people, no, they rip them off from the earth and make it look natural”
She frowns removing her hand from his ”What did you say?”
”I would hate to see you end up like your father miss Anikka, my advice is you should leave this town as soon as you can, don’t look back and don’t trust anyone, thank me later” He says, tipping his hat and then leaving. He staggered as he walked, opening his jacket and gulping from a bottle of wine. He sang..he kept going.
”What do you mean by that? What does that mean, who are you, what did you mean?’ she calls out
Abetta comes to her holding her ”What is is Miss?”
She points to him ”He said that… he said that my father , he is-”
”Tsk Miss Anikka, I must warn you… Tickle is a louse mouth, a drunk he spews nonsense, pay him no mind. He says the most absurd things most times , pay him no mind”
”But he said he would hate to see me end up like my father and that my father was too good that’s why he died, what does that mean?”
”It means he is an inconsiderate man who knows not when he should play stupid prank, come on in, you need rest” She takes her in and then shuts the door ”You must not let him put ideas in your head. Your father was loved and death took him away from you and from us… relax, drink this, it would help” She gives her a cup of green tee and then watches her drink it, then she stares at the door.
She must have a word with Tickle, he wasn’t suppose to say anything to her, it would raise suspicion.
”Abetta, why do i feel so sleepy?” she says drowsily, her eyes closing her eyes weak.
Abetta smiles as the cup hits the ground, she picks it up and places it on the table, watching Anikka’s eyes close ”Because you are tired, rest now, it would all be over soon” she touches her face, smiling down at her.
”It would all be over soon my child”
She stands up and opens the door, two men come in and then lift her, taking her away from the house, into a car and zooming away into the night.
”Wake up Bambina!”
Her eyes shoots open ”Papa!?”
TO BE CONTINUED.
Footnotes – Language Glossary
”mio dolce bambino” – My Sweet Child, Bambina– Babygirl
Tuo padre ti ama e si farebbe vedere quando hai bisogno di lui, lo prometto’‘ -Your father loves you, and he would show up when you need him, I promise.
Tutto ciò che cerchi è giusto di fronte a te. la chiave del tuo tesoro è accanto al tuo cuore'' - Everything you are looking for is right infront of you. The key to your treasure is next to your heart''
Ti amo il mio mondo – I love you my world
Ti amo padre di mio figlio -I love you the father of my child
Possa Dio concederti di riposare in seno a papà, dire alla mamma che amo e che mi manca. Ti amo tanto tanto– write May God grant you rest in his bosom Papa, tell Mama i love and miss her. I love you both so so much.