Author’s note: I’ve enjoyed writing this episode of the series. We meet Boakye Biney alone. Supposed you haven’t been following, missed an episode or are new here, the story started here and progressed to II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII and to the most recent before this episode, IX. It’s a good idea to read any you haven’t so we’re on the same page. So flipping to X, here we go!
Boakye Biney stared at his bible. It was open to page 545. His eyes were glued on the prodigal son’s parable. The words sunk home. They’ve been to him a metaphor of God’s great love for humans, never as one expected of him. He looked toward the shelf full of books and exhaled.
“I never imagined it would be demanded of me to be the father.”
He closed the bible gently, flipping the pages unto one other and stared blankly.
It’s more than hatred, I loathe you…I wish I could throw up every food your hands fed me.
Ako spat out this to him days ago. He didn’t know they had come that far. Saturday, they sat to have what he imagined, the final conversation and then he’d take her home, she said them. Her face had hate itself written all over it.
The sun was bright outside and it was yet windy. Osu feels like a clone of Takoradi, clear sky, bright sun and strong gentle winds carrying the sea breeze. Supposing his mouth didn’t taste this sour, he’d have had some of Jane’s lemonade with giant ice cubes swimming in them. Her lemonade and melon juice should be put on the same level; both were a delight.
He rubbed his eyes. They sting. His mind was walking back the past days. He was kept awake most of the night. How do you get sleep when your daughter is drinking herself to death and you have to keep your distance to start showing her some respect? You simply can’t sleep.
You are because of your reputation.
He’s been pondering over this – what Ako said. His first honest reaction was hurt. It tore through his chest without any apologies. He had prided himself in being a good father. He’s not brought up any child who strayed. When Ako did, he choose the path every father would have taken, allow her go her way and return after she hits the wall. At least he’s heard that’s what often happens, seen it one, two, many times in counseling and hoped they’ll their end. The story of the prodigal son showed it. The son came back to his senses, came back home unworthy, was welcomed and reinstated as a son.The father’s part is the side of the story he missed entirely, about thirty-three years of pastoring.
Where did he go wrong? Should he have shown his love? Should he have allowed his emotions flow on his face? Shouldn’t he have been the man? Shouldn’t he have the strength when everyone else was breaking down?
Boakye Biney realized for the very first time when Ako swaggered away, he’s perhaps done it wrong all along. He definitely never decided to be the model of a father he’s been exposed to away from home – brutal, hated and a failure. He’s been tempted to cover up with the excuses streaming into his mind. He fought for the family’s reputation. He gave the kids everything he had. He brought them up in the faith the best he could. Call it harsh, judgemental, he trained them best he could.
He took in a short quick breath and walked along the shelves of books. His thoughts were to pray, listen to God on this matter. Did he also think he’s done it entirely wrong? When Ako opted out of the house, demanded she could live by herself, pay her way through life, was there one thing he did right? Certainly not dragging her bags out, locking the door or not calling. His heart began to be heavy. Which sort of preacher sends his child away and yet accommodates strangers worst than her?
He stood by the last shelf and stared at the cover of a familiar book. Parenting for new couples written in green over a plain black background. He stared harder at it. His wife, brought an exact copy with her on his 58th birthday, the same day three years ago Ako packed out. Or rather he packed her out.
Was Adobea trying to tell me something about how I’ve fathered Dorothy, James and Ako the years past and now?
The exact place he dropped the book flashed as if in his face. It will be lying behind the wooden boxes of old sermon notes.
Lord I’m terrible. And you love me still.
Boakye stood gaping, his focus alternating sharply between the brown ceiling and the wine painted walls, realization washed over him. He shut out the tears that threatened to slide down his face and shut his mouth. He was starting to see the world that’s been home to him all these years. Today is Wednesday, four days after Ako blurted out her obvious frustrations with having him as a father. It took four days to see.
“And you love me still.”
He nipped to the chair for his bible, Parenting for new couples in his hand. He felt jimjam. How was he to make a turn? And should he fail? How’s redeeming the lost 30 years of failed fatherhood possible. He let the door handle out of his hand lightly, stepping onto the walkway. A silvery Mazda was entering, about making a stop by the house. Osu gave him not only homey breeze but a better view.
© M’afua Awo Twumwaah 2016.