The last but one chapter. We’ve come far. Thanks to you who read and to you who read and dropped those comments. Let’s finish hard.
Sule’s eyes stayed on Hassan, his father’s. He could see the way his father’s eyes stared blankly at their cream wall above the stairs. At first, when he was gone, their family photos were lined up on the wall. He had taken them down when he got back; perhaps guilty of all the innocent faces that stared him back each time he walked up and down. His sister, Fatima, cried every night for a full week and then gave up. They’ll never return. They all gave in. He realized he’s been fidgeting with his fingers. He smiled, nervous and cleared his throat for the umpteenth time.
“I asked mum to tell you because of course I want to talk with you…” He shied away from the weary eyes of his father he’s been staring into all this time. “… I want to because we’ve never talked about you leaving, you coming back…”
The grief he had felt, the hatred when he came back and the shame upon knowing his father, this man, is the cause of the sorrows of another family, Kate’s, were seeping into his heart. He could feel them. He cleared his throat again and with it, shut down the tears.
“What exactly do you want to talk about?”
The question was harsh. Sule decided to smile; to be proper like an obedient Christian son.
“I’ve already said it.”
“You want an apology?”
The next question shot through him. It stung – like his first crab bite. And like then he wanted to yell. He didn’t. He let the fury soak in. He said nothing. No one did, till after about five minutes. The father spoke, no, he presented his defence.
“I see how you look at me ever since I returned…like I’m the devil…like I destroyed this family. Your mother has told you all you want to hear. I know she’s warmed her story into your mind – how I left her and run off with another woman. I just wanted to make money for us and she wouldn’t agree…”
“We wanted you, not money. If you stayed…”
“Life would have offered you better? You’ll be a better man?”
Sule’s tears didn’t fall. They were stuck into his chest, making it to rise in uncomfortable ways.
“No. We would have had a better father.”
The slap landed on his face with his last words. And Sule laughed. He laughed so hard he was afraid he’d be mad when he stops.
“Why won’t you face it dad. You left us. You never showed up in my school. And when you did you offered no apologies. Men take responsibility. You run away from it.”
“How dare you?”
Hassan tried to stand on his other feet, the proper feet.
Continue reading “When Love Finds You XXXIX”