A Father’s Pardon a Little Too Late? 


Prompt: The phone rings. You look at the caller ID and recognize the number of your childhood home. You pick up the phone and recognize the voice. It’s you when you were a kid. Source: Pinterest.com

I glanced at the calendar. 17th May. The date triggered a vague memory of something significant in my childhood but I couldn’t remember exactly what. The date sounded ordinary but at the mention of it on my lips, my heart had started beating faster. What happened back then?

The phone rang. I looked at the caller ID and recognized the number of my childhood home. I picked up the phone and recognized the voice. It was me when I were a kid.

I startled and stared at the phone. I heard the voice again, saying ‘hello’ in an urgent tone. I brought the phone close to my ear again.

“Hello?”

“Yeah…who’s this?” I asked, afraid of having my fears confirmed.

“It’s Jasmine. Am I speaking with Ewurafua?”

I swallowed. I had dropped my English name years ago after the tragic death of my mother. It was my way of leaving my past behind and starting afresh. Was this a dream?

“Yes…this is Jasmine. How may I help you?”

“My mother…I think she’s dying. She had an attack and I had hidden her pills. When I rushed back with them, she wasn’t breathing. I think she’s gone,” Jasmine said, sobbing.

Then it hit me. 17th May-the day I killed my mother. My mother had snatched away my candy the day before-the one my aunt had given me, saying that I wasn’t allowed to eat it. I had angrily gone to her room and picked up her pill bottle and hid it under my bed in my room as payback. I knew she took them before going to bed each night but I didn’t know what they were for. I thought that by holding on to what I knew she needed, she would give my candy back to me.

That fateful day, I had asked my mother for my candy. She said she had thrown it away so I should forget about it. She was lying on the sofa with her eyes closed, breathing slowly. She then asked if I had seen her pill bottle and that she couldn’t find it the night before. I had replied that if she were to return my candy, I might have an idea and stormed off. I heard her scream my name but I shut my door and threw myself on the bed. A minute later, the house was quiet. I thought she was coming to spank me so I sat on my bed ready. But she didn’t come. That was strange.

I got out of my room and decided to check if she was still lying on the sofa. My heart jumped when I saw her on the floor, breathing heavily. I rushed to her side and shook her.

“What’s wrong?”

“My pills,” she said faintly. I left her and ran to my room. In my haste to grab the bottle, my fingers hit it and it rolled over to the middle under the bed. I groaned as I tried stretching my arm to reach it. It was far away from my reach. I dragged myself under the bed and finally got a hold of the tiny bottle. I struggled to come out from under the bed.

“Mum, I’m coming!” I screamed as I ran out of the room, half of my face and body covered with dust. I fell by her side and found her still. I shook her body, calling her name. No response.

“Mum, it’s here. Please take one.” I took the glass of water beside the sofa and a pill out of the bottle. They were in two colors. Which one and how did she take? I took the white one and fed her the pill and water. She was still not moving.

“Mum, can you hear me? Mum!” I knew I was in trouble.

I wasn’t sure what had happened to my mother but I knew I had caused it. I saw the candy bar on the center table. Tears filled my eyes. She was going to give it back after all. I brought my ear close to her nostril. She wasn’t breathing. I took the home phone and dialed the first number that came to mind. That was supposed to be my…

 

“What did you say?” I asked.

“My mother, she’s dying. I had taken her pills but when I returned them, she wasn’t breathing. Please help me.”

“Go and get a taxi and tell the driver to rush you to the nearest hospital. I’ll meet you there.”

“Okay. Please hurry.” The line went dead. I stared at the phone. I could neither believe my eyes nor ears.

Those were the exact words my dad had told me when I called him that day. Was my mind playing tricks on me?

I remember the hospital I took my mother to that day. If this was a flashback happening in real time, then I knew what was going to happen. Should I still head over to the place?

Maybe I was dreaming about the incident because it was 17th May again. Maybe if I lay down and slept, I would wake up and find out it was all some sort of hallucination. As I headed to my bed, my phone rang again. The same number.

“Hello?”

“Ewurafua, are you on your way?”

“Yes, yes, yes, I’m heading out now. Is she still not breathing?”

“No, she’s not. I’m scared.”

“Don’t be; she’ll be fine,” I said without believing it myself.

“Okay. Please hurry.” The line went dead again.

But my mother has been dead for years. And my dad had never forgiven me for what I did. Although he paid my fees and catered for my needs, he was emotionally distant. The day I moved onto the university campus was the last time I lay eyes on my father. He would send me money for my upkeep but he didn’t want me back in his house or his life. He said he was obliged to take care of me because I looked like my mother, the love of his life. But in his heart, I was nothing to him.

I have had to live with this guilt all my life, plagued with nightmares of that dreadful day. I couldn’t help but wonder if I could have saved her if I had gone for the pills the moment I had entered my room instead of sit on my bed. Those few minutes wasted staring at the door had changed my life forever.

I knew it was crazy but I still got out of the house and sat in a taxi, headed to the hospital. I hoped I wasn’t losing my mind. If this was a dream, I should have woken up by now.

I hadn’t heard from my father for three years now. He stopped picking my calls at a point and soon after, the number was out of service. I went looking for him at our house but was told he had moved out. I wonder what had become of him now. If only I could see him again.

“We’ve arrived,” the driver said, prompting me back to reality. I paid him and got out of the taxi. Who was I going to look for? My dead mother or my childhood self? I should turn back before the nurses noticed that I had gone mad and restrained me. But my legs defied me. I kept walking towards the entrance of the hospital.

I swallowed hard and approached a nurse.

“Yes, how may I help you?”

“I’m looking for…”

“Ewurafua! Is that you?” I turned. It was my aunt; the one who gave me the candy bar years ago. She had really aged.

“Auntie!”

“Thank goodness! I’ve been trying to reach you but couldn’t get hold of you. Your father is here o! Are you here to see someone?”

“No…why is he here?”

“Kidney failure…he never got over your mother’s death and drank himself to near death. I fear he might not make it this time. I wanted you to see him before it was too late.” She held my arm and led me to the ward as if she could tell that I was contemplating on running away.

My heart sank when my eyes found my dad’s frail body. This is my fault, I thought sadly.

“Go and talk to him,” my aunt said, pushing me gently. He opened his eyes weakly.

“Ewurafua…”

“Dad…” He took my hand in his. I suddenly felt emotional. How I missed the warmth of his hands.

“I’m so sorry, dad,” I apologized, tears running down my face.

“It’s okay. I forgive you. So forgive yourself too. Do you hear me?”

I nodded, the tears, blurring my vision. He squeezed my hand.

“I’m sorry for leaving you all alone. We could have grieved and healed together. I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay, dad. Please get well soon.” He shook his head.

“I’m not coming back home. It was my heart’s last wish that I see you before I join your mother. Now that I have, I can go in peace.”

“No, dad. Not so soon. Please, don’t leave me too!”

“You will be fine, Ewurafua. Just forgive yourself and move on.” He coughed.

“Get me some water,” he said. I looked at my aunt. She nodded. I rushed out to get it. When I returned with a bottle, a doctor was covering my father’s body with the bed cover. I dropped the bottle and screamed.

© Josephine Amoako 2017

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40 Comments Add yours

  1. nkdwhtguy says:

    I found this very compelling. I had to read every word slowly and then read it again. Fascinating story.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. joseyphina says:

      Oh thank you 😊

      Like

  2. Esther says:

    Heart breaking, and the words… This is a good one Phina

    Liked by 3 people

    1. joseyphina says:

      Thanks for reading, Esther.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. gracelarbi says:

    aaaaawwwwwww very sad!!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. joseyphina says:

      I know 😢. Thanks for reading.

      Like

  4. Debs says:

    My heart breaks reading this. The little things we do as kids…You wrote this too well, Jo

    Liked by 3 people

    1. joseyphina says:

      Hmmm… I know, right? Thanks for reading, Debs.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. biblicaljoey says:

    This is moving…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. joseyphina says:

      Thanks for reading, Joyce.

      Like

  6. Ouch 😥😥😥 this was a heartbreaking story conveyed in excellent language. We should really forgive

    Liked by 3 people

    1. joseyphina says:

      I know… Thanks for reading, Deshi.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. McApple says:

    Great great piece!
    Big ups Joseyphina.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. joseyphina says:

      Thank you! 🙏

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Liz says:

    Is this a true story? I hope not

    Liked by 2 people

    1. joseyphina says:

      No, it’s not.

      Like

  9. Kaycee says:

    Good one😘

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Kaycee says:

    I looked through the window on hearing loud banging. I knew it was my brother, Dozie, fighting. I did see from the window, punching the hard surface wall outside our verandah. He’d bleed on his fist whenever he does that, but he will lick off the blood. It was a way of showing strength, being manly.

    I did see him shove a guy face down. I knew it was his friend victor. I knew from the huge scar that ran across his neck region. It coiled in an “S” shape. “You idiot, u think you can just run- off with my girl?? I won the bet fair and square, give up Clara ” Victor said as he stood up. He spat out blood. He limped as he stood.

    Just then, I did see some other guys come in. The gates were open wide. I tried to get what they were saying, but I couldn’t hear what they said. They didn’t say much, soon I saw one of the guys punch my brother on the face. 

    I saw myself standing outside. I couldn’t tell how I got there.  I shut my eyes, as I heard voices from all directions ” you think u are sharp. We agree that anyone you win the bet go have Clara this night “. One of the guys said. ” No mind am. He think say Clara be Lola wey he go get free sex. Look at him, poor fool” Another guy said. I heard victor voice ” See him, I know that he wants to fight. See the way he pants like He- goat. Today I go give am the fight wet he they look for.

    I began chocking, coughing loudly. A cloud of dust was raised. I could fell it on my nose. I opened my eyes, just in time to watch my brother pounce on victor, punching him as he lay on the floor. The other guys shove Dozie on the floor.

    ” You this fool, You  want to kill my sister, don’t you know she is asthmatic ??” Dozie said. I was still coughing, when my mother came outside. She put her hand on my chest, while I coughed. I knew victor purposely kicked the dust in my face, just to get Dozie to fight him.

    My mum didn’t say anything. She gave me my inhaler. I opened the end of the inhaler, put it inside my mouth, and began pressing the top side, feeling my cheeks dropping and rising as I took in the air.

    My mum stood near me, watching victor and Dozie measuring their heads together. Dozie was been held by the guys. He looked like a dog that had just been giving marijuana. 

    Victor kept trashing talking. I heard Dozie say ” you’re nothing but  a sisi. You’ve always been one, hiding behind other guys. You’re a silly bitch.” I watched victor wave at the other guys, and they left Dozie.

    Dozie was smiling, and evil, sinister smile. Victor eyes went black out, like he was staring into nothingness. ” Nobody calls me a bitch, no one” he said as he ran speedily towards Dozie. I saw a dagger in his hand. My brother set leg for him, and he fell. The dagger lay on the floor. ” see why I call you a bitch” Dozie said.

    I watched him about to throw the daggar away, when victor dragged him down. He tried dragging the dagger from Dozie, who kicked him on the head, serval times with his knee, before he stood up and threw the dagger away. Victor got up and punched Dozie on his face and broke his nose. He pushed him on the floor, punching, kicking. I saw my brother lay lifeless on the floor. Victor spat on him and walked out. He had searched his back pocket for a pen- knife or something close to that. He  began walking away. I felt desecrated, watching my brother beaten like that . I didn’t feel pity for him.

    Victor was still walking, when my brother emerged. He wiped away the slimly saliva that was on his cheek. He hit his chest hard, as he attacked victor. He beat victor so hard, slamming him on my father’s brand new Jeep( my dad did literally kill him the next day.) He kept beating him. He used an iron to give him Savage blows on the head. Victor was lying unconscious, though he wasn’t bleeding like my brother. 

    I watched the men standing motionlessly. They didn’t as much as push Dozie away, until he was through beating victor. He then realized that victor was unconscious.

    I saw my brother looking at Dozie like a lion, who shoved his unconscious prey in order to know if he was still breathing. Victor didn’t get himself . The other guys took victor away. He knee did scratch the ground, as he was carried away. 

    I was certain that they won’t talk to each other again, but I was wrong. 2 days after victor recovered, my brother came home with  him. They did laugh for a  long time, teasing each other about the fight, ridiculing Clara, saying she wasn’t worth fighting for, calling her a fat wild pig, victor described how she walked, he was limping and they both laughed, as they drank a cold brandy.

    I was so surprised. It was different when my mum and a neighbor quarrelled. They didn’t fight, they were just abusing each other. My mother tapped her mouth with her palm, calling her ashawo. The other woman put her hands on her waist shrugging and clapping both hands together as she called my mother a reject from the southern tribe. I wanted to go and fight the woman, but I know my mother will spank me as we go inside, so I merely watched them from the window.

    They hadn’t talked to each other for 3 weeks, they both sigh at, and eye each other whenever they saw each other. My brother will always tell me, ” women are very petty. ”
     

    Like

    1. Kaycee says:

      How will I do that

      Like

    2. joseyphina says:

      Kindly share your post on your own blog instead of pasting it under my comments. Thanks.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. YesideO says:

    Beautiful piece as usual, Jo! The story though! 😢😟

    Liked by 1 person

  12. YesideO says:

    There are some things we shouldn’t delay. Forgiving a wrong done is one of them.
    Wrongs unforgiven fester like an untreated wound. It’s the case in this story.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. joseyphina says:

      Very true. Thanks for sharing your thoughts ☺

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Nice story, I couldn’t help crying in the end. We really have to pay for a few things we did as children…. If only we could foresee consequences…..
    You can read my stories and write feedback on my blog https://theveiledfacet.wordpress.com and maybe follow it if you like

    Liked by 1 person

    1. joseyphina says:

      Thanks for reading. Will definitely check yours out.

      Like

  14. Kaycee says:

    Please am so sorry. I sent a message on your email, not a story , do read it. Am really sorry.😖

    Liked by 1 person

    1. joseyphina says:

      Oh it’s okay. Just thought it would be better to post it on your blog.

      Like

      1. Kaycee says:

        Sorry I just wanted to get more likes on my blog. I was tired of writing blogs and only me liking them. It is very discouraging. You know how it feels when u are blogging and nobody acknowledge it.

        Like

      2. joseyphina says:

        Just share it on your social media platforms.

        Like

  15. prinxy says:

    My God. Is this real? or am I reading?,
    You placed me in all the scenes, I love the story, but so touching especially watching how the mother died, wondering how helpless the child would feel at that moment..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. joseyphina says:

      No, it’s not real. Glad you enjoyed the read.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. prinxy says:

    Thank Goodness… Josey, you are a good writer, I must admit… Am so glad to be back reading all these amazing posts… God Bless you

    ……………………………………………………….
    (your story made my heart ache) |
    ……………………………………………………….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. joseyphina says:

      Thank you, Prinxy. God bless you for reading.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Mandy says:

    Hmm. My heart! Really sad.

    Liked by 1 person

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