A FATHER’S PAIN
WRITTEN BY MICHAEL DOKOSI
I was virtually choking on my anger as I listened to the tone of my phone indicating that the call had gone through and her phone was ringing. It rang and ended. Nora would however not answer my call.
I tried again and again but she refused to answer it. When I tried the fifth time, I found, to my chagrin,that she had switched off the phone.
I was sweating. I reminded myself on the need to calm down; I had on many occasions advised others on the need to control their anger. Now, I was the physician who must heal himself. I took in deep breathes and turned to other issues.
At about 4:30pm, I closed from work. I realized I had developed a migraine. I chastised myself for getting so worked up; getting my children back was not about being angry.
The sound of my son’s voice as I spoke to him earlier on kept coming back to me. I yearned to have him and his sister in my arms. I longed to cuddle them. I longed to have my daughter, sitting on my shoulders, holding on to my head and giggling.I longed to engage in the pillow fight I sometimes had with Peter in the evenings after I had supervised him to do his home-work.
As I drove home that evening, tears began to stream out of my eyes and meander their way down my cheeks before dropping on my shirt. My grief was deepened by the fact that coincidentally, the radio station I had tuned in to was playing UB40’s “Tears from my eyes.” I knew the words very much but they had much more meaning to me at that particular time. I sang along with the reggae band.
“Tears from eyes keep on falling
Because you are leaving, leaving with another
Things that we’ve done together
I’ll always remember though you are with another”
I did not make any attempt to dry my tears though I realized I was not only singing for my children but also because of the way my wife had betrayed me. She had been the centre of my life but had killed my spirit by cheating on me.
Suddenly, I felt the urge to take in something strong. I felt I needed something that will ease the pain I was going through. And, this brought another UB40 song to mind. I lowered the volume of the car’s radio and sung UB40’s ‘Red Wine’. In fact, I virtually screamed the word out as tears continued to trickle down my cheeks. I looked out for a place where I could buy some hard liquor that will kill the pain I was experiencing.
Finally, I found a drinking spot. I parked the car, got down and entered. There were people in, all men except two women. I could tell that many of the men were already tipsy or drunk. Since I was going to drive home, I resisted the urge to drink there. So, I bought a bottle of brandy and returned to my car.
My head was still aching as I drove home. Finally, I arrived safely. The gate man opened the gate for me. I drove through the gates, parked and got out with my bottle of brandy. There was light in the kitchen. I checked to find Efe, the house-help there. She had taken a week off and was back. I guessed she was unaware of what was going on. I was glad though to see her.
“Daddy, welcome,” she said.
“Thank you. When did you come?” I asked.
“At about 5 o’clock, sir” she replied. I nodded. She asked about my wife and the children. It must have been weird for her to come meet an empty house.
“They are not around. Let’s talk about them tomorrow,” I said, anxious to get to my room so I could drink myself to stupor.
“I have prepared yam with corned beef stew. Can I serve you, sir?” she asked me. I shook my head and lied that I had already eaten. I said I was tired so I was going to have my bath and then go to bed. With that, I left her and headed for the bedroom.
As soon as I entered the bedroom, I locked the door, opened the bottle of brandy and holding it to my mouth, gulped down a mouthful.
The drink stung my stomach as it hit my system. I grimaced. This was my second time taking an alcoholic drink. I took some deep breath as I felt what I had taken began to have an effect on me.
I took another mouthful and grimaced again. The drink was really strong. I found nothing sweet about it and wondered why people take it. Yet, I took a third swing as I sat on the bed. Soon, I felt the room spinning. I tried to get up but my legs were not study. I told myself I was drunk. I took the bottle to have another swing but the bottle dropped from my grip. I sighed and slumped on the bed. A few minutes later, I was fast asleep.
A FATHER’S PAIN
WRITTEN BY MICHAEL DOKOSI
I slept so deeply that it had to take very loud bangings on the door by the maid the next morning to wake me up.
“Sorry sir. It is past nine and you had still not woken up so I came to wake you up. I have been knocking on the door for the past fifteen minutes” she began, apologizing for knocking very hard on my door.
“Sorry, Efe. I went to bed so tired. Wow! It is past nine. I am very late for an appointment” I said.
From her expression, I could guess I was reeking of alcohol and she was trying very hard to bear the bad odour from my mouth. Smiling, I closed the door gently, shutting her out. Then I went to the bathroom. One look at my face in the mirror and I realized how badly I looked. Alcohol certainly does things to a man.
I went back to the bedroom and tidied up the place. The bottle of brandy I had brought into the house was lying on the floor with only a little of the content left in it. I could not believe that I had almost gulped down almost half the bottle. What was I thinking? I could have killed myself.
I finished tiding up the place, went to the bathroom, shaved, brushed my teeth and then had my bath. Then I dressed up. Efe was waiting for me when I came out of the bathroom. She was standing by the dining table.
“Sir, your breakfast is ready” she said. I was about to tell her I was not hungry but then I changed my mind and came to sit at the dining table. She served me coffee and biscuit.
“Coffee, Efe?” I asked, puzzled. She knew I hardly took coffee.
“Yes sir. You need it to keep you awake. You still look drowsy, sir. This morning, I realized you have taken alcohol so I thought I should give you something that will keep you awake especially as you will be driving yourself” she said
I knew she was right. I smiled at her and said “thanks”. Then I decided to let her know what was happening in the house. I proceeded to ask her to take a sit and listen to what I was going to tell her. She complied.
While eating, I told her what had happened in her absence. I told her everything, leaving out no details. She stared at me in silence as she listened with rapt attention. When I got to where I caught my wife and Edwin doing it on my marital bed, her jaw dropped. She stared at me as if I was a lunatic. Nevertheless, I continued with my narrative.
Efe was so shocked that she could not utter a word. I understood why she was shocked. No one, in his or her right senses, would have even imagined that Vivian would cheat on me.
As I said earlier, Nora was not only the epitome of beauty but a strong Christian woman well respected in the church. She was a role model for many young girls in the church where we fellowship.
“No! I can’t believe this!” Efe suddenly muttered. Tears began to flow down her cheeks when I started telling her about my wife’s claims that I was not the biological father of my children.
“Oh no! Sir! Please stop it!” she cried out as if I was the one claiming I was not the biological father of my children. I paused and allowed her to cry for a while as I continued eating. I had no appetite to eat so I concentrated on the coffee.
After a while, I resumed telling her about my estrange wife and her claims, winding up with why I brought home a bottle of brandy. Efe could, at this stage, not control herself any longer. The tears flowed liberally down her cheeks. I did not feel any urge to console her. She needed to cry to get the pain out of her system and begin to live with the fact that Nora and I would no more be husband and wife. But to my surprise, she got up from where she was sitting and came to kneel in front of me.
“ Sir, I beg you…please….please…I know what madam has….has…has…has done isbad but forgive her…please…You have a beautiful family…it must not collapse…the children, …Peter…Peter and Pamela need both of you. Sir! I beg you” she said as she began to plead with me to forgive my estranged wife.
Efe’s moved shocked me. But she was crying and pleading in vain and I told her so.
“ No man will forgive the sin my wife committed against me, Efe. First of all, she opened her legs for another man. Secondly, it was no other man than my own best friend. Thirdly, she had the effrontery to bring him to my house to do the abominable. Number five, they chose my bedroom for their illicit sex session. Number six, it was on my bed that they were having their orgy. And you want me to forgive this? And, to add insult to injury, she is telling me I am not the father of my children! Which man will forgive her woman for that?” I asked her.
Efe did not respond to my queries for obvious reasons. I had completed having my breakfast so I took my briefcase and left the house, leaving the maid weeping at the dining table. I drove out of the compound and headed for my lawyer’s chamber to discuss with him issues concerning the DNA test.