The last time I saw him Friday, November 17, 2006 |
Distracted by blue satin like surface, I didn't hear my father ask me a question. The water was compelling, how I've always dreamt of having this luxury back home. How great it would be just to swim and play not to have a care in the world. But of course, back home is not a luxury at all; back home was 150 miles away. I have always loved the city, compared to the small village I was from; everything about the city is exciting and interesting, well, from a young girls point of view.
The trip last night made me feel ill, I loathed the crowded buses, full of people; animals caged up and shoved under the seats. Endless noise from crying babies and animals were horrendous. The dust was unbearable. But I was used to it, my mother, little brother and I do this once every year or so, it’s nothing new, but still, it didn’t mean that I liked it.
She wanted us to see our father. I could see the pain and anguish in her eyes, she didn't like making this trip as much as I do, but I knew that it was her duty to. At 8 years old, you don't understand why, why, you had to be dragged hundreds of miles just to see your father for one day. You see, our family is far from the ordinary picture perfect scene. Our family is complicated. If I was lucky, and yes I considered my self lucky, I saw my father maybe once or twice a year, but some years I didn’t. But as a child this wasn’t important to me, well, I didn’t think so anyway.
It was like a military appointment. We reached the gates of this so called housing complex. A thin stick of a man was waiting in a booth, I would say he was about 30 years old; he certainly looked like he doesn't live in this area. My mother dragged me along the long footpath, surrounded by tall cream solid walls that separated the rich from the poor. The guard asked her who she wanted to see. My mother said my fathers' name. The skinny man pressed some kind of button on the intercom and repeated what my mother said. He came back to us, now sporting a toothy grin. He ushered to go through. The gates were about 10 feet tall, wrought iron, I guess to keep the people who don't belong out of there. We certainly didn't belong there.
Still mesmerized with the clear blue water just yards away from me, my father asked me what I wanted to be when I grow up. I guess now I understand why grown ups always ask that question, an easy question to make conversation. I shrugged; I didn't feel like saying anything. Besides, I haven't seen him for more than 6 months; it was like talking to a stranger. He was playing with my hair; I could feel him twisting his fingers around the curls on my head. He said I had beautiful hair, I must have taken that from him. To tell you the truth I didn't feel comfortable, being so close to someone I hardly see or speak to. But he is my father and I guess I have to make an effort.
The meeting was somewhat strange, as I watched my little brother play along the garden, I wondered whether he knew the man sitting here is our father. As I looked at him, I could see that this wasn't easy for him either, the man I knew was full of sadness, his eyes said it all, his face was tense. Because I guess he knew that this is goodbye.