Welcome to another chapter. Read chapter XXXIII here. Find this week’s poem here.
Tara had both legs lying on the centre table in their large living room – her uncle’s. Her head was rested backwards on the settee; days ago jogging through her memory. She couldn’t settle on what to think.
Her pained smile was rooted into her face as she handed Sule her letter. He was shocked and hurt. His face bared it all. Not a single emotion hid.
“You’re not joking.”
He had lifted his head from skimming the short letter.
“I’ll still be your friend.” She had attempted cheesy. “I’m traveling to do that master’s I’ve dreamt so much about. I couldn’t miss the opportunity.”
She wouldn’t lie. Yet she wouldn’t say the whole truth. At least not now.
“I still don’t understand.”
Those were his last words before Tahil called and he rushed off. He hadn’t called back. She can’t call yet. She smiled and puffed. Who dictates how to break your own heart? She laughed shortly at her thoughts and closed her eyes. That night when she prayed and cried, she’s never felt any freer. She intends to hold on to it – to jealously guard that freedom.
The glass door slanted and she heard her father walk in. She needn’t open her eyes. His shuffle and short paused coughs were enough to tell her who.
“Only destroys every good thing that happens to you.” He started off with his usual rants. “The car, your job, the TV… What can you hold down?” He sneered, like usual, and kept at it. “I’m ashamed she’s my daughter.” He raised his voice like one would for a theatre audience.
Tara hissed under her breath. John’s laugh rose up into the air. Tara opened her eyes and watched him. He had walked slowly and grabbed on to the settee. Then like one who has caught a joke last, he burst into another bout of laughter.
“I could never be.”
He held on to the settee, his steps slow and calculated and sat down in a heap.
“I’d have birthed someone better.”
He looked at her and rested backwards, taking up half of the three-in-one settee. His body parts seemed independent of each other with his legs unable to stay without an unusual shake.
Tara sat up. First faintly but becoming clearer and clearer, she could see herself sitting, cramped up, by her mum, both parents were fuming; their words flying at each other around the room. It was about changing her surname from Serwaa to Tafuah; right around her first national exam, her BECE. And that’s the first time she heard bastard.
“Where’s he then? Did you lure my mum to divorce him and live with you in this misery?”
Her mum walked in on them.
She asked Tara, looking at John. She shook her head and returned her attention to her daughter.
“My father? Your husband here is clear on the fact that I’m not his.”
Selina made for the kitchen. Tara followed.
“And we’re used to him being drunk and still making perfect sense.” She held on to her mum’s face with honest eyes. “Tell me.”
“He’s your father.”
“Then why would he say he’s not? Many times Maa. And why did he say bastard during your argument about whether or not I take Tafuah?”
“What do you want?”
“Who is my father?”