Hey, did you miss me already? I’m here now, don’t worry, it’s only onions that is scarce. I’m not…yet… Lol.
So, I felt generous tonight and I’m sharing a bedtime story. I know you will love it.
I grew up being unsure I had a father.
Somehow, Decembers brought with it reassurance, as fickle as it was, that I had one. So when asked in nursery two, what my favorite month in the year was, I blurted “December!” “And why so?” my teacher asked. “Simple, Daddy December”, I said “but December doesn’t come every year” and I sat back, a nostalgic frown gracing my face, oblivious to the nonplussed stare of my class teacher.
I was no normal child. At age 2, mother says I perceptively knew when she felt the loneliest, and I’d spontaneously ask for my father, and My “daddy?” was always responded to with “December”, then I would go back to bed. So my father was dubbed “Daddy December” by my aunt who stayed with us at the time.
In primary 1, my composition on my father was so vivid, the Proprietor called me to his office; he wanted it published in the local newspaper. Sadly, the man I described only lived in my head.
I filled the absence of my father with a lust for books. My mother noticing this bought me new books every fortnight. I had all the classics and some more.
I adored the books that spoke of a prince, a king or any male figurehead. They provided solace— solace I craved, because all kids, wiz or not, need a father.
I remember the first time my father came to get me from school; I was 7, and he was this stranger with a beautiful inviting smile. I walked past him, giving a brief bow and muttering greetings. Pausing a moment to admire his Benz, I proceeded without further ado to the wooden bench in the school garden.
I was giddy with excitement, Mother had told me my father would be back in time to pick me from school, and I had gone to school in a bubble. This was the first time I’d see my father in two years.
Five minutes later, I heard footsteps; not mother’s so I did not take my eyes off my book. The penetrating stare was almost uncomfortable and I resisted the urge to lift my eyes, till the stranger said my native name. Then scales fell – he had to be my father!
I ran to him, as he lifted me and wrapped me in an embrace, tracing soothing circles on my back, like I loved .
I was crying and laughing when we got to the car park. How had I not known my father?
I asked him how his beards could have grown so full in 2 years, and why he changed his haircut. He looked pale, I said, was he not eating well? Well, I cared less, as long as he’d brought my boxes of chocolate. Or had he forgotten them? I should have 24, one for each month he’d been away. Did he get me new books? He barely had a moment to catch his breath, as I bombarded him with questions. I had missed my father.
My father worked as a construction manager and was exceptionally good. Recommendations had him touring the world managing various construction projects, and because of him, I vowed never to marry a man that worked a white collar job.
Whenever he did come around, he made up for his absence by giving me a treat, so I longed for Decembers. Any year he was to be away at Christmas, Mother would jokingly says that there’d be no December that year. She adored him.
December at 12, though, is one I will never forget, because that year, you see, I had my first real December.
We woke to heavy pounding on our front door on that cold harmattan morning. It was December 18th. Mother answered the doorbell. Ten minutes later I ventured downstairs to see what delayed my mother’s return and I walked in on my father and mother locked in an embrace, beside them were boxes—my father’s.
You see, my father and mother were separated for seven years, yet, mother always let him take me on a vacation every year at December, in an attempt to fill the “father” void with the seeming trickles of his love.
As unusual as my childhood was, Mother ensured I had the best any child could wish for. She never remarried, and hope made her never tell me of the separation. That hope didn’t disappoint, my father came back! That year, December had come to stay!
Ps: Is the child in the story male/female?