When he saw me seated at the dining table, I sensed that he was surprised. It had been ages since we actually saw. We practically hated each other so we didn’t even try to catch up on old times or exchange pleasantries.
All he did was greet, then he got himself seated very close Shela, trying to indirectly mark his territory. He had that look on his face that said “I have won her”. Well, indeed, I was jealous but I was also up for the challenge.
At that exact moment, I got a phone call from my uncle’s place. I excused myself to receive it, only to be told that my uncle had just passed away.
I was heartbroken. I never got to see him before he died. He was practically the only one I had, until today. Sheila noticed that I wasn’t myself anymore. Without informing anyone, I just left their house and headed straight for my uncle’s. Sheila saw me leave but decided to let me be. Besides, she didn’t feel comfortable with Roland around. She, however, came up with a story to cover for me.
To Roland, I was a coward. He actually thought I had left because of him. If only he knew what was in stock for him!
I arrived my uncle’s place to see sympathizers and family members gathered around mourning. Some family members who neglected him while he was alive, now crying their hearts out as if they really cared. The most annoying was my uncle’s neighbor who happened to be his best friend.
I remember one time my uncle was so broke that he asked him for a loan. The man deliberately refused. My uncle knew very well that he had the money but for whatever reason, he didn’t give him. Now that he was dead and gone forever, he volunteered to buy his coffin for the burial. Hypocrites!
Meanwhile, there was this aunty of mine who was there too. She was crying and all that. She hugged me tight, trying to console me. But what got my attention was when she said that the death of my uncle will at least give me the opportunity to unite with my father.
Apparently, my father and my uncle had been close friends ever before he got married to my mother. It was through my uncle that my father got involved with my mother. But as to why he disappeared even before I was born, only God knows.
Well, I don’t know what good it will do to me if he decides to show up now. He hasn’t been present my entire life and honestly, I prefer it stays that way. He wasn’t there to play the father role when I needed one and to be a good husband to my late mother.
Perhaps, my mother would have still been alive if he had been around. I remember how day in and day out, my mother kept hoping that one day he was going to show up and take up his responsibility. Sadly, that never happened. She really did love him though. There was no denying that.
“I don’t need him now” Those were the exact words I told my aunty. “What happened to uncle? He looked strong and healthy the last time I saw him, what really happened?” I asked her.
“He was fine until he complained of headache and then the next thing we knew, he was gone.
But he kept asking for you, he really wanted to see you.
“It was as if he had something to tell you in connection with your father. As a matter of fact, he gave me his number, so I could contact him. He is on his way here as I speak.” My aunt said.
“Honestly Aunty, I really don’t want to see him. I have nothing to say or do with him. If I was no good for him when my mother was alive, I won’t be any good to him now” I said.
“Ben, you need to listen to his side of the story first. At least….” My aunty started.
“Aunty, please I want to be left alone now. This is all too much for me to take in one day. Let’s just pray that God will grant him a resting place.” I said and left her there.
At this moment, the only person that came to my mind was Sheila. I didn’t tell her I was leaving so I decided to call her now to explain why I had to leave abruptly. Surprisingly, she didn’t answer my calls. She just kept hanging up on me. I was so sure that Roland was behind that.
There came my aunty again.
“Ben, your father is here.” She said.
“I don’t want to see him aunty, I don’t” I said.
“Ben, listen to me, after all these years your father has finally decided to show up, why won’t you just go and listen to him?” She said.
I nodded my head and she took me the yard where all the rest of the family gathered. I was surprised to see Sheila’s father standing there with his driver.
“That’s your father over there.” my aunty said, pointing in their direction.
I couldn’t believe my ears. Sheila’s father is actually my Dad?
…. To be continued.