Dance with my Father Again
“Dance with my Father Again” is one of the outstanding stories of the first biannual International Short Story Contest 2018 written by Quinster Naa Ayele Quintin-Cofie, River Of Life Academy, Ghana.
Dance with my Father Again
I woke up one morning with aches in my back. Today, it hurt more than usual. Why wouldn't my back ache if I had been sleeping on a 23 years old mattress?
"Queen!" my mom called out.
"Yesmom!"I responded reluctantly.
"Good morning my dear, I hope you're fine, um.....I wanted to tell you that for today um.....I don't have enough money for school" she said, reluctantly.
"I'm very sorry" she added.
"Okay I'll go back to sleep then" I responded.
I had already gotten used to the financial problems and it had made me a hardened girl with no emotions. I walked to my dad's room and knocked on the door but there was no reply. I opened the door gently and took a peep but there was no one there. I entered the room and scanned everywhere but it was empty. I lay on the bed and closed my eyes, before I knew it, I was in dreamland. "Naa! Naa! Naa! a voice called out, interrupting my sleep. That sweet voice was my little sister.
"What is it?"I asked "Daddy and Mummy are fighting again. Run!"I rushed to the hall, my sister following behind.
"Dad stop!"I screamed out standing in front of him as if I was ready to fight. His eyes were red and he was fuming with rage. My mom on the other hand was near tears. My dad walked out and banged the door behind him. I heard the gate open and that was it, no sound again, not even birdsong. My mom crumbled to the ground and began to cry."I ....I just..just.....asked him.....for...money" she fumbled with her words. Alena rushed to her side to comfort her and for a nine year old girl, she did quite a good job of comforting our mother, though I could see she herself was near tears.
Ever since I can remember, my mum had always been footing the bills for my father. Anything that had to do with us or the home my mom would take care of. Even water to drink, my mom would buy, because my dad spent all his money on drinking and smoking. Even last year, on my twelfth birthday, my dad refused to give me any money, he even denied having money. Meanwhile, I saw him counting a bundle of fifty Cedi notes. Even though my mom didn't have money, she made it a memorable day. She prepared my favourite meal, jollof and boiled egg. Since she didn't have enough money to buy chicken, she fried plantain and then, she bought apple juice to accompany the meal. I felt like I was in heaven. If my mom hadn't lost her previous job, by now we would be in UK, not suffering in Ghana. My mom used to work as a secretary in a well-known company. She received a huge sum of money every month and during Christmas, it was even better. I am to sit for the Basic Evaluation Certificate Exams next year and since Christmas is near, school vacated in early November and will not reopen until January, so I have enough time to prepare for the exam. On the day of vacation, every student dressed up in an attire that was not the school uniform, we brought our foods, snacks and drinks in baskets. We also bring gifts to our teachers. We call this day Our day. Why? because it’s not anybody's day but ours. Our day is a tradition that started ever since the school was brought into business. I didn't go to our day, because, I wanted to sacrifice my part of the money so that my sister could eat her first ever chicken and chips from KFC (she had never eaten chicken and chips before and so had I). I didn't tell my mum about the sacrifice else, she would have been angry. My sister also knowing what I had done, skipped our day and brought the food home so we could both enjoy and that was very sweet of her. Mum ate with us and we had a memorable day at home together as one. My dad has finally agreed to go to a rehabilitation center in Brooklyn. He is going to be there until he overcomes all his addictions. Thank God he's going there, so now he can't beat my mom up anymore. I'm thinking of learning marshal art though, so I can defend my mom from my dad but my dad is too tick and tall. I've changed my mind, I don't want to die young. I'll stick to being the girl who shouts "stop!" when dad is beating mom. One more week to Christmas lalalalalala. Christmas is almost near and my grand mum is in the house. It’s been peaceful and quiet for three weeks because my dad is not at home and I love him and am missing him soo badly. My mum also misses him and she says we have to pray more than ever so that he gets well soon, very soon. Yesterday, my dad called and said he would be home three days after Christmas so that we could all go to church on 31st night.
My dad has been back from rehab for over twelve years now, things are looking bright. To begin with he got a hundred million contracts as an engineer in his dad's company, set up his own engineering company and renewed his wedding vows to my mum. My mum got a job as a network marketer for three companies. Mom set up various businesses and now we are living in luxury. Alena is now in Britain studying medicine, I on the other hand, am a chartered accountant, working for nestle company. My grand mum is living in a mansion dad built for her,with two of her sisters, three cousins and six nurses. But just when things started to look good, something bad happened to me. My fiancé who my mum said was not qualified to marry me, a man I defended from my parents, a man I supported, loved and trusted broke up with me because I refused to give him $30,000. My mom was right, he was just after my money. Luckily, I never slept with him because as a Christian, it would have been an immoral act. I drove to my parents house to tell them the news but only my mum was there. Mum hugged me and told me she had received my text. I didn't cry and my mum didn't dare say "I told you so". She gave me a kiss on the forehead and cheeks and I realized that mum had been through more pain and agony than I was going through that moment and as I planted a kiss in her left cheek, the pain I was feeling went away and I knew I didn't need any man to mess up my life because the love mama had for me was enough, I could get married at anytime but for now, mama was my true love and she had just given me a true love's kiss.
CHAPTER 3 (FINALE)
Oh,oh,oh,how time flies, how the years go by soo swiftly like the wind and death steals everything away from you. When I was young, my father's one advice to me was that there was more sleep after death. Now, he would have more sleep after all his hard works and never tiring efforts. Even though he had had a bad day, because he was still sweet to be around. Ever since I began to walk, since childhood, my dad would dance with me almost every day even if he was aggressive he never failed to fulfill his part of dancing. Sometimes, we would dance till we were worn out. My dad was my confidant and I failed him in his old age. I failed to take him to the ball in London and dance with him. He had been pestering me with it but I ignored him. On his fifty-seventh birthday, I sang his favourite song "dance with my father again" but paid little attention to the words. I wish he had lived to be seventy but he is dead at sixty and won’t be able to see his grandchild I am expecting on the way. Now I am here with my mum and sister along with other relatives to bid him one final goodbye. I'm here with a heavy heart and may never forgive myself for ignoring him in his old age and not fulfilling his last wish. Even though I swore never to cry again when I was in grade four, and I had kept that oath, I couldn't help it, this was my father, an extremely compassionate man. Finally, the tears I had been holding ever since he died formed in my eyes and I didn't cry but wept. The clouds had begun to form and thunder struck. The first drops of rain of the raining season began to fall but dad would not be able to smell the sweet scent of the rain. If only I could turn the hands of time or strike a deal with death, I would dance with my father again. But I'll live in hope that one day, when death comes for me, I will indeed dance with my father again.