Dear Daddy,​

I am still caught up in my ​sweatpants during the evenings and really long skirts during the day leading a double life, biting at my finger nails and getting worried about the  mass incercaration  happening all over the world. I am also worried about the amount of cocaine travelling the seas to young people,and no papi, i don’t smoke.

So daddy, we no longer listen to Longombaz. Papa Wemba is dead,so is Chinua Achebe. Mbilia Bel now lives is Nairobi, still aging finely like South African wine, and Ngugi Wa Thiong’o came back home. There has been two governments since you left, but the mad man remains the same in the market place. The school syllabus has been changed yet again, and as much as i want to be optimistic about the direction my country takes, i can’t because even the mango prices keep skyrocketing. So is the price of sliced bread.

Barrack Obama became America’s first black president and Lupita Nyong’o won an Oscar and now every Kenyan acts like she saved the children of Turkana from starvation.

The politicians have become more political and the nation is now caught between politics and pomposity. This year daddy, i am old enough to cast my first ever national vote, but i won’t be voting.I know all the talk about how my vote can change everything but i    am still not voting, and i have no concrete reason why.

The house you left behind is no longer the boring  place you hibernated in after a long week at work. Everything has been renovated, the old beige walls are now lime ,with an alternation of yellow and baby blue here and there, but the ceilings still leak where they used to leak. I lay by mama’s side everynight, right where you used to lay. Once in a while, my hand finds its way to her shirt up to her belly button. I love to feel her skin, skin that stayed smooth through all this turbulent times. I always feel for the Caeserean scar. It is still right there where you left it. Do you remember the day when yout first pair of offspring came to your lives?

Do you miss mother? And her cooking?  She oversalts the food at times but has never faltered in her chapati cooking skills. She has brewed tea the way you liked it for the past elleven years,maybe she still thinks you will come back for breakfast and sip your tea while reading the days paper and asking us how we all slept. But you won’t be coming back i know.

I saw them put you away. They buried you in shoes. Do you still walk in them. I polished those shoes that morning, and i  feel  so betrayed the adults never explained why. Once in a while, i smell the shoe polish and see polish stains on my hands.I swear i still see those shoes everytime i walk into shoe shops. They are always there, with a lace tied the wrong way. The other shoe is always a size smaller. Was that your anatomy, or did you breed a paranoid overthinker?

Death has become my close companion. We eat breakfast together. He loves his pancakes thick with a sprinkle of icing and a spread of honey  I read your favourite paper to him. He loves sports and  politics, but the orbituaries have always saddened him . Sometimes, i let him cuddle me in my sleep when i reprimand him on your wherebouts.

Your mother cries everytime she sees me because she says that i look like you. She rants day long about her sons death;  woman, i lost a father too. She has lost massive amounts of teeth and now walks with a cane, and still welcomes her guests with sugarless smoke flavoured tea. By Jove! I now know why you worked hard in school. She  lost a bit of her finger last year trying to tie up a calf and the other half nailess finger gives me bad depressing thoughts of a torsoless body.

So father, i have gained all pounds in the world. I have cheeks so well rounded they look like the descendants of my backside. I still have my dark twisted humour and laugh the same way. A day ago, a boy i considered beautiful said i laugh like an old retired man, and i no longer see him in his beauty. He looks like a tax collector from  the colonial days. 

Mother was scared i would turn into  one of those bloggers  who blog about butts and boobs how to lengthen and straighten eyebrows and what colour of panties match your skin colour; or become polygamous. But i am not even dating.

The boys think am either too smart, too enlightened or too emotional. I think they are non-emphathetic, uneducated and unliberal.

 I have made mistakes. I have eaten the forbidden fruit more times than Adam and Eve ever did. I have made mother cry,said mean things and forgotten about you; i have even let my stuffed animals sit on your favourite chair. I have absconded duty, feigned sickness and stolen mothers coins to buy candy.

I have distrusted the Holy trinity  and stayed clear of religion. I no longer pray. I have admired atheists, tried  beer and other drugs, i have lain with men you would never approve of. I have worn indecent clothes, and gone to places where i shouldn’t have. I have become a loud laugher so they think i am a happy person, but i am so sad the cutlery in my kitchen knows it.

Paranoia has caught up with me. So has anxiety and i have self diagnosed for Bipolar Disorder. I am so emotional and impatient long queues at the  hospital make me cry. I have had appendicitis and several pregnancy tests. I no longer do my hair and am all afro now. Neither do i wear make up. I am self conscious i begin to think that mother and i will die of gangrene too.

Its funny how fast time has gone, and am susceptible to the same things you went through. Maybe i will die at 39 too.

I don’t know why you left so fast. Why i never said goodbye. I don’t know why we kept away all your pictures and why we neer mention your name. ,but the cross at your grave gave away to rot and the grass still grows, now even greener than ever.

A stray guava seed gave life to a tree at the foot of your grave and season after season we have enjoyed the fruit in guilt.

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27 thoughts on “Dear Daddy,​

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