My Old Man [Part I]

Mom died a year later after she went on pension, and that changed Dad completely. He had just lost the love of his life, the trauma was severe; he mourned for a year; he ate less and talked less. But we were there for him, my four other sisters and myself. I was the fourth born in level 300 at the university, the pressure at school and home was over whelming, I was really close to my mom, so losing her really got to me. It left an empty space in my heart. I was the only male child among my sisters so some responsibilities became mine as dad was too old for some of these things.

After a year, Dad wasn’t grieving. He became happy. The sudden change in mood took us by surprise, so one of my sisters went snooping around his business to find out why the old man suddenly was himself again. It wasn’t as if we were worried that he was happy, just that, it was sudden, and unexpected, considering that he had been distant lately.’ Could you believe last week he bought a very fat sow, for 1,350 cedis’, even though the fridge was stocked with food? Dad wasn’t a big spender, so spending this much on a pig was so uncharacteristic of him.

We later found out, mom had made Dad his pension beneficiary, so dad got all her money. That was great news, because dad had almost exhausted his pension money, and some of the cash went into mom’s funeral. But then, what we didn’t get was, ‘why didn’t he tell us?’ It just didn’t make any sense. He was the man of the house, so we didn’t complain or confront him about it. He started with Friday-nights at a bar with his friends. He says he goes there to dance and enjoy the Friday night live band music.

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It continued for weeks, then he added Saturday and Sunday, it now wasn’t Fridays alone, he included the weekends too, and he always came home drunk af!

We got fed up, the last straw was when he came home very late with this lady, a stranger, and he said she was his friend. He got really angry when we tried to question the lady. He stormed off. That night, “mmm aahhh” moaning sounds was all we could hear from his room, well not like I wanted to listen though. It was loud and very annoying. The next morning I couldn’t even look at my dad’s face, I felt disgusted. My dad asked Doris to make breakfast for her, apparently this shameless lady said she was hungry but Doris refused, my dad got really furious and started raining insults on her.

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This didn’t stop; every week dad came home with a different lady. We didn’t know what to do, we tried talking to him, but it didn’t work, he just wouldn’t listen. He claimed we were his enemies; ‘we were obstacles to his happiness’ he would curse at us whenever we dared him. It was really bizarre hearing this from him. Dad was 69 years old, but claimed to be young at heart in the mist of beautiful young ladies. Who could blame him? It was difficult to keep track of him, especially when he goes out and came home very late, our major concern was, and Dad was having a cataract on his left eye, so driving at night for him was as dangerous as smoking cigarette at a gas filling station. If only he would listen to any of us.

I was on campus when Doris called to inform me that dad had upgraded from bad to worse. She said last night dad came home with two ladies instead of the usual one lady, it was one lady for the night, but this time round, they were two, the old man was in the mood for some threesome. She said they couldn’t sleep because of the disgusting moaning sounds dad was making, and the worse of it was, our youngest sister, Abigail, was aware of it, she was only 17 years. It’s awful for a girl that age to be witnessing such insanity at home. It could traumatize her or cause her to lose a great deal of respect for her dad.

Doris, my slightly older sister was like an informant, keeping me updated on events that were happening at home. She said, the next day sister Akua, our eldest sister had reported Dad’s irresponsible escapades to our uncle, Uncle Joe, my Dad’s younger brother,  she pleaded with him to talk to Dad on our behalf since he wouldn’t listen to any of us. Though surprised at the charged leveled against our dad, he reluctantly agreed to talk to him to find out the truth.

He came by our house few days later on a casual visit, but dad wasn’t around, my sisters persuaded him to stay a while longer since it was getting late and there was no sign of him coming home any soon. Uncle Joe looked at his watch,

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it was 11:15 pm, dad wasn’t at home, and he began to realize that our charges against Dad may hold some truth to it. It was 11:30 pm, he decided to go home, since dad wasn’t coming home and it was very late, it wouldn’t have been reasonable to convince him to stay any longer, cause he also had his family to go to.

Just at the entrance of our house, just when Uncle Joe was saying his final goodbyes and goodnight to the girls, Dad’s car popped up around the corner. Abigail shouted, “Uncle Joe, dad is coming”, they turned to that direction, and it was true, Dad was coming. So Uncle Joe decided to talk to him before he leaves or probably sleep over and go home the next day since it was late.

Dad was extremely startled to see Uncle Joe, he said, “Joe, ah? Na aha nso 3h?”(What are you doing here)? The stench of alcohol from dad’s mouth could raise the dead; he looked tipsy and ruffled, unable to stand properly. Uncle Joe replied, “I came to visit you, but you weren’t here, I was actually on my way out when I saw you driving in”, Dad said, “Ooh okay, how is Mansa and the kids?”, “they’re fine, Mansa extends her regards. Bro, I was wondering if we could talk briefly before I leave, it’s very important, it won’t take long”, Uncle Joe replied, and Dad agreed. Just then two ladies came out from dad’s car to our surprise; Dad’s car had tainted dark windows so no one could see anyone inside from outside his car. He told Abigail to escort the ladies to his room whilst he had a chat with Uncle Joe.  Then two girls decided to make their presence known from the tapping sounds they’re high heels were making as they walked inside the house.

Uncle Joe and Dad excused the girls and went upstairs to the balcony to talk. The girls couldn’t eavesdrop; they couldn’t exactly hear what they were discussing. About 45mins later the girls heard Dad and Uncle Joe screaming and yelling at each other, accusations and insults flying from left to right. The girls realized Dad had gone bonkers, failing to see reason with anyone. It was heart wrecking. . Uncle Joe descended down the stairs like an avalanche with Dad’s insults following him like a shadow. Doris peeping through her window, saw Uncle Joe leaving the house with a very sad face, he just drove off. “Never confront a man when he’s drunk, it’s a useless effort”. From what my sisters told I learnt not to.

The next morning Dad was barking orders and insults, flying insults across the house. It was scary the way Doris described it. Doris said Dad broke the locks on her door into her room, sweating and breathing heavily like he was an Olympic marathon athlete, he came asking Doris who gave her the authority to meddle in his private business, Doris was too scared to answer, she feared for her existence, she had never seen Dad acting this way, she was extremely frightened!

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Doris said Dad asked lots of questions, questions she had no answers for, even if she did, she was too scared to utter a word, with dad’s hand moving to and fro, she feared for some slaps, so she just stood still like a mannequin staring at him.

Dad realized he wasn’t getting any answers from her, rage took over, he asked Doris to pack out and leave his house for reporting him to his brother and meddling in his affairs. Doris began to cry and plead, but Dad wouldn’t listen, he said his words were final! He started throwing her clothes and bag outside, he kicked her out, his last words were, “Since you’ve failed to respect me as your dad and decided to sell me out to my brother, go and live with him, he’s now your father and don’t ever come back to this house you shameless indolent disrespectful piece of goat!” 

Doris called me and told me all that had happen, so I rushed from campus to my Uncle’s place, Doris was there, you could see she’s been crying all day, I did all I could to console her and promised to talk to dad! As promised, I did, I went home, dad was napping in his lazy chair, the house was quiet, but you could hear his radio playing soft music just under his chair. I pulled the radio out and switched it off. Soon as I switched the radio off, dad woke up; he asked me who give me permission to turn off the radio he was listening to? I tried to explain that, I thought he was asleep so I didn’t want him to waste the battery, that’s why I turned it off. He looked at me like it was about to rain, about to rain insults! Soon as the awkward stare was over, just like the calm before the storm, it started raining insults, I felt helpless. He told me, since I’ve refused to listen to him and I now act like the man of the house, from now onward, I was going to pay my own school fees. Just then my heart sunk!

He retired to his lazy chair, closed his eyes and blocked his ears to all my pleas; he acted like I didn’t exist. No amount of tears could revoke my dad’s decisions.  I left to my room to cry. When I woke up, it was night, I had dozed off in the tears, for a second I thought I was dreaming, but waking up in my room at home, I realized it was all real. I went to knock on dad’s door, and plead with him and ask forgiveness. I knocked on his door, a female voice responded, “Who is it?”, and I replied, “Abigail is that you?” no reply came. I knocked after a minute later, and then Dad responded, “What do you want?” I started crying and begging, but he told me to leave. But I didn’t. Then I heard the female voice saying, “if you don’t sack him, I won’t do it anymore, I’ll go home”, tears filled my eyes. Dad opened the door swinging his belt, he didn’t say anything, but seeing that I knew what I had to do

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I was in the last semester level 300, Dad had stopped my allowance coming in weekly to monthly, and he had reduced the amount by 75%. I was struggling on campus. What Dad sends me now could barely last for three days. I knew talking to him was useless; I just had to survive on my own. I began to sell my belongings, starting with my laptop. I got half the price I bought it and the money only lasted for a month. I began to sell my shoes and sneakers. I had to do what I had to do to survive. Fortunate enough I managed to survive to the end of the semester.

Returning home, I took my final year’s tuition fees and accommodation bills to dad. Not surprised, he asked me to pay by myself; he said he had no money to give me. I felt like this is the end of my education. Just after dad made it clear that I should pay bills by myself, I took advantage of the long vacation and went hunting for a job. The hunts weren’t successful, the jobs I got either required that I do more and get less in return for the pay wasn’t just enough. I gave up, stayed at home and prayed that manna will fall from heaven.

My girlfriend offered to bring me food one time; I gave her directions to my house. She came with a beautiful decorated basket full of Jollof. It smelled really good! We sat outside and talked as I enjoyed the chicken wings. About an hour later, Dad came out of the house, he saw me with Lily, my girlfriend, he stared at us for a second, Lily greeted him, he responded with a smile and asked me to open the gate, and he’s going out. I did just that.

Two weeks later Lily paid me a surprise visit, he saw my dad napping in his lazy chair and asked for me. My dad came to my room, I was half asleep, and he woke me up and said I had a visitor. I frowned, I wasn’t expecting anyone. I took my phone to check for any miss calls but there was none. I was wondering who that was. I went outside and to my surprise it was Lily. I asked her to wait outside while I brought some chairs for her. When I entered the house, I saw dad next to curtains, as if pepping through.

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Then he asked me, “Who is that girl?”, then I answered, “He’s a friend from school”, I didn’t dare say she was my girlfriend, I knew it wouldn’t end well for me.

As Lily and I sat outside talking, dad came back to his chair. In the middle of our conversation, Lily said, “your dad has been staring at us from where he sits, for a long while now. Have you done something wrong?” I said no. From time to time I’d look back and catch Dad looking straight at us, it was very intimidating. Lily got uncomfortable and asked to leave. As she stood up walking out the house, my dad also stood up to look at her. My dad was looking at her with smiles. Then I got an idea!

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Copyright © 2016 by @AbokiCleDre

All rights reserved. No Copy and Paste. Unlawful copy of this piece is prohibited. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law. For permission requests, write to the publisher, addressed “Attention: Permissions Coordinator,” at the address below.

email: 101cledre@gmail.com/AbokiCleDre@gmail.com
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