I was standing in her big house which was “DIRTY” toys were lying on the floor with newspapers and some clothes were all over the lounge, her white tiles had turned brown and it was all dusty. She took me to the kitchen which smelled so bad that I nearly puked, the sink was filled with dishes, left over food was on the floor and her cupboard was something else with some dishes just hanging, broken plates on the kitchen counter. I wanted to change my mind but again I remembered why I was there in the first place so I got to work and scrubbed the walls, stained bathtub, tiles and sinks, I cleared all the cobwebs that were in every room and dusted, I went to her bedroom and it was unbelievable how a woman as beautiful as she was couldn’t maintain her own house especially her bedroom, I cleaned the lounge and went to the kitchen were I washed all the dishes and rearranged her cupboard after cleaning it, I had difficulty scrubbing her stove but I still managed getting it spotless clean. It took me 4 hours to get done with the work and I sprayed an air freshener in all the rooms and I felt my hunger when my stomach rumbled and the aroma of beef stew that she was preparing in the kitchen did me no justice while I sat with her baby. She couldn’t stop complimenting me then her children returned from school, she set the table and I almost started salivating because of the mouth watering dish she’d prepared and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the food. She went away and called me after some time with a huge pile of laundry on the floor and told me to get started with it, I was a bit disappointed and I took it going outside slowly hoping she’d call me for lunch but the woman didn’t so I did all her family’s laundry and cleared the yard as I was asked. I fed on oranges and guavas which were in her garden, I was very exhausted by the time I was done which was in the evening and I started feeling chest pains but tried to ignore them and ran short of breath from time to time. She came out complimenting me and gave me a K100 note saying I was heaven sent, I washed my legs and face outside because she didn’t allow me to take a bath then I left and she said she couldn’t wait to see me the following day. I passed by a florist and bought some flowers then got a taxi and went to mom’s grave which had just been weeded, I smiled to myself because I knew that dad was the one who did it, I placed the flowers on her grave and sat next to it
Me: see what I got you with my first salary
***I smiled while a tear escaped my eyes***
Me: today marks a year since you left us but your memories are still fresh in my mind and you’re always in my heart, I got a job today and only you will understand why I did this today. Thank you for moulding me into this strong girl that I am coz I couldn’t have survived if it weren’t for you that’s why I’ll forever be grateful to you
I told her all the events of the year and left and tears were flowing by the time I was done, I stood up when I saw it was getting late but I wished I could stay there coz I never wanted to leave that place whenever I visited. I went to the bar and changed back into my uniforms then gave the bar attendant a little something for keeping my bag, I went home and found the brazier with nothing on it then I went inside where I found dad and Monica in the living room watching TV so I quickly put up an act before they saw me
Me: daddy, daddy, my history teacher gave me money for passing her history test
Dad: really! Congrats
Me: here, you can have it so that we buy what’s needed
He looked straight into my eyes before taking the money and I ignored all guilty thoughts that would make me back down from looking at him
Dad: can I see your paper?
***I took my bag opening it as I thought of what to come up with***
Me: oh no! I forgot it with a classmate who borrowed it to do her corrections
He bought my story and used the money to buy what we didn’t have in the house and after having supper I went to my bedroom and went through some revision since that’s what was happening at school and I prayed that our teacher would distribute our history test papers the following day, I only managed to go to bed at 3 in the morning.
I continued working and work wasn’t as hard as it was the first the day, I managed to pay for my tuition fees within a month and I told Austin about what I was doing and he was mad at me saying he’d report me to dad but after explaining everything to him he said he’d help me academically and I don’t know how he did it but dad asked me to go and live with his family since we were almost beginning our exams so I moved in with them and I missed Monica a lot. Austin made sure we studied everyday and he kept asking me to quit work, we started writing our exams and I told the woman I worked for that my aunt was in hospital and I had to take care of her somi asked to keep away for two weeks which she agreed to…….
Lucy: I might be considered evil but aunt Rita was the best candidate I would have chosen to be in hospital until our exams were over”
I had to stop working because I had no excuse to come up with of leaving the house since we were finished with the exams so I had to tell dad about what I did if I were to continue but he plainly refused and got mad at me so I had to stay at home. Dad started his own business of selling bottles of water in town since finding a job was difficult and everyone laughed at us in the neighborhood so the only thing I knew better was to perform well in my studies and redeem my family because we had encountered a lot at the hands of our neighbors.
I remember one evening when I was chopping vegetables for supper and dad asked me to wash his old, brown suit and it got me worried because he was rarely found home, he made coming back home late a habit and he was always dressed neatly and I wondered who he was trying to impress until it clicked that maybe be was seeing a woman. It really got to me because never had I thought of dad replacing mom with another woman and I couldn’t take it so I went in the living room where I found him busy on his phone and he was serious which got me angry
Me: dad where are you going to?
He just looked at me ignoring my question
Dad: have you washed what I asked you?
He asked ignoring my question
Me: yes I have
Dad: now get back to what you were doing
That hurt but I had to follow his orders and continued chopping the vegetables which I did in frustration this time around, he was distant from us and it got worse by the day so I once told him about it and he said I was exaggerating things so I let him be and sulked knowing I’d give him a tough time when he felt the need to talk to me.
Monica and I stayed at home with nothing to eat and she troubled me but there was nothing I could do until Mrs Mutale brought us something for supper which I quickly prepared and we ate in the living room when dad walked in and locked the door then told us to be prayerful before he went to his bedroom, I didn’t know what that was about and it left me so curious that I had trouble finding sleep. I got up the following morning only to find dad gone and did my daily routine, I had nothing to do afterwards and watched TV but we had to run out of power which irritated the living daylights out of me but I still stayed indoors until it got late and Monica placed her head on my shoulder as we waited for dad who only returned at 20H00 all excited
Dad: babies, babies
Monica: daddy, you’re back
Dad: yes Princess, why are you seated in the dark?
I clicked my tongue loud making sure I annoyed him but I guess be was too excited to get annoyed
Dad: come on don’t be like that, daddy’s got good news
Me: yeah let me guess, he’s found a new wife no wonder the late comings. I swear I’ll burn any woman you replace mom with alive
Dad: you sound like your mom now but you’ll respect me because I’m still your dad
I rolled my eyes
Monica: what’s the good news daddy?
Dad: daddy’s got a new job as a financial analyst at a certain firm, princess
I don’t know what happened but I found myself in dad’s arms along with Monica, I’d never been as excited as I was and the way I was screaming was just out of this world but sadness suddenly took over me and sat on the floor with tears streaming down my face then dad and Monica got down too
Dad: what’s wrong my baby?
Me: I wish mom was here to celebrate this moment with us, I wish it happened when she was alive
Dad: we can’t turn back the hands of time and God has his own timing which we can’t question so let’s just accept it as it is, your mother is always with us my baby
Monica and I nodded
Monica: when do you start work?
Me: is that why you’ve been distant from us and coming home late?
He took a deep breath then nodded
Me: and when do we move out of here?
I said quickly which made them both laugh
Dad: we’ll be out of here before the end of the year
Me: that’s four weeks away, find a house in the high coast areas
Dad: your wish is my command
Monica and I giggled
We talked about a lot of things that night until we all retired to bed….