I met someone.
Not someone someone, but I saw a man with his daughter and wife and I thought of you. It was like that time I walked into the wall in our bedroom and got the bump I have on my forehead. So, I was out buying Mala at Fergie’s shop when I saw them. The man was pushing his daughter away from him, “aargh! Enda kwa huyo mamako kwani, nitokee ghasia.”
And the little girl was wailing calling out to him, but he pushed her aside and walked into the night. It was last night, did you see it too? I did but the magnitude of it only hit me when I walked into a Café that has Wi-Fi.
Daddy, it’s been 20 years but I cannot shake you off. Your eyes, touch, smell, voice. You are everywhere. Even the music you loved, but you’d be sad to learn that we lost Papa Wemba this year. We still have Koffi, but you and I know there’s only been one Papa Wemba. Football teams have evolved, they don’t wear those tiny shorts anymore, and you remember that pretty boy who played for Manchester United, well, he retired but they made a film inspired by his kick. It was called Bend it like Beckham. You’d be an Arsenal fan I think, but I have a feeling you would be frustrated by Wenger, but they are trying.
It’s Pep that you’d love Daddy, he paces back and forth like you did when you watched your boys play. He has your height and body weight,it’s just the hair that’s missing, but you’d love Pep and I’d rekindle my love for football again if you were around. Did I ever tell you that I loved you Daddy? Did you know even when you were with us that night? I still see you kicking sometimes, you fought death Daddy,even in that moment you couldn’t let God take you without a fight, and it kept me awake some times. For years, I would stay up every December 18, hoping to get to you in time, but you know how wicked memories are when you don’t want them.
They become nightmares.
I wonder sometimes when I look at Mom, just how lucky you were to get that woman! She’s doing a Master’s in literature I tell you, your woman be a smart one! She can also beat down people and she misses you, but you’d be surprised at Che. She’s morphed into the kind of wine you’d save for an occasion. She had a boy, cute and intelligent named after you. She looks more like Mom, so I’m sorry if you thought she would forever look like you,but good news is, I walk like you, always in a hurry with one shoulder slanting. None of us became teachers, you should see Mom’s paycheck. You’d want to blow up TSC. I know I have thought about it but we both know I am a weakling, so I hide behind my words.
Dad, the first book I wrote and published was about you.
Since then I have written more books, the pay is nonexistent but I can’t shake off the writing or the reading bug, but you’d approve. I know you’d love reading my books because you always loved it when I read the newspaper with you. Did I ever tell you how much I loved you? We all must have even that night when you were taken away, we knew it. We turned out great.
I haven’t met someone. You know life has just done some Abra cadabra Daddy, Nairobi ji lich. Onge chuor nga’to and there are lots of people who are out to date just for fun and not commit. I dread walking down the aisle someday and having the Priest asking “Who gives the bride away?” And turn to see no one like you there. I know for sure that no one will take your place that day and it’d be nice if you could whisper in my husband to be ears, “Fanya fujo uone!” So he knows not to break our vows.
But, that’s not why I am writing this, it’s for the little girl I saw yesterday. I want you to watch over her. Father’s are for life and good ones are for an eternity. Watch over her. See, her Daddy might forget last night but she won’t, she will know that the only man she loved rejected her without a valid reason. I do not want her to grow up with “daddy issues” for she is too beautiful for that. Watch over her, because one day she will sit down and write him a letter but it will be too soaked for him to read it.
Thank you for loving us .
Thank you for telling me to keep my head up and use my brains.
Thank you for calling me beautiful before I could even spell that word. And most of all thank you for choosing wisely, because Mom has kept the faith, and has seen us through. You got a fine woman, finer than this cup of coffee I am drinking, finer than my words.
Now, go and watch over the girl.