What if your dad was so awesome that someone tried to steal him from you?
“What is going on here?!?”
Two pair of saucer shaped eyes stared back into mine. I had caught them off guard.
“Malaka…look. It’s not what it looks like…”
“It’s exactly what it looks like! The two of you are on the floor – on OUR favorite rug – playing ludu. Daddy…how could you?”
I gripped the back of the wicker threaded sofa to keep from collapsing. How could they do this to me? My best friend and my dad; the two people I trusted and loved most in this world!
Alex tried to explain. His voice was like a chainsaw to my psyche. I wanted to throttle him, crush him beneath my heel like an ant, set the dice he was shaking in his hand alight.
“It’s just that you’re never here, and Daddy gets so lonely sometimes. We honestly didn’t think you would mind.”
The nonchalance with which Alex made this confession sucked the breath from my chest. Sure, I didn’t mind if he came over and visited for a while, but he was sitting on my favorite rug, elbows nestled on my pink fluffy pillow, playing my dad’s and my favorite game! This was a line that should never have been crossed.
“Six me ludu!” Alex exclaimed joyfully.
“How long has this been going on?” I demanded.
Alex and my father glanced at each other and shrugged. It had been about six months, they guessed. Maybe seven. It was hard to tell…they enjoyed each other’s company so much.
“Daddy. Almost half of the year? I never had any sign…any warning. Why didn’t you say something?”
My father shrugged. “Well, you’re always busy. And Alex is here when I need him – NO MATTER WHAT. Isn’t that what a dedicated child is meant to do?”
“But, Daddy. I’m not just busy…I’m at work. I’m working! I’m trying to save up enough money to do all the things we said we were going to do when the kids got older and my husband had more time. Remember? The fishing trip in Lake Victoria? Exploring the pyramids in Egypt??”
Alex and my father averted their gazes, staring at anything but me. The walls, the ludu board, their hands. I feared the worst.
“What? What is it! Something happened, didn’t it?”
“It’s not a big deal,” Alex said, attempting glibness. “It’s just that Dad and I took a fishing trip last week.”
The sofa wasn’t strong enough to hold me. I dropped to the floor, my knees throbbing in pain.
“When?” I asked weakly.
“About a month ago,” Alex confessed quietly.
I thought back, piecing together dates and events. The memories came back like a flood, their indiscretion now becoming clearer.
“A month ago? When you told me you were going out of town on business? And YOU, you Daddy! When you told me not to come by because you thought you had caught something and might be contagious?”
The two men nodded.
“Where did you go?”
“The Florida Keys.”
The Florida Keys…the Mecca of sport fishing? These two had no couth.
Sensing the depths of my despair, Alex scrambled to his feet and tried to help me off the floor and onto the sofa. I slapped his hands away, violent in my desire to get him off of me. My father was incensed.
“Now, Malaka,” he said sternly. “There’s no need to act like that. Weren’t you raised better than this?”
His sharp rebuke cut me. How could he deny me the right to act out my angst in such a critical moment? I whimpered under the strain of his verbal punishment. I was injured by his betrayal, and my father didn’t care.
“But Daddy…Marshall and I would have loved to have come fishing with you!”
My father scoffed. “Marshall doesn’t drink. Who doesn’t drink when they go fishing? Your husband is just too dull! And look. When I quote Chaucer, he looks at me with dead eyes. You should see the way Alex leaps when he hears literature.”
My father stood to his feet and wrapped his arm around Alex’s shoulder. Alex beamed at the physical contact. My father instructed to me to look at my friend. See how happy he was! His own father had never treated him this way. Why couldn’t I just be happy for Alex…for the two of them?
“Daddy! Alex has his OWN dad! They live in the same house…because Alex is unemployed!”
Shocked by the vehemence of my assertions, my father’s tone turned chilly. “We’ve dragged this out long enough, I think. Alex and I are going to find some goat meat. You are welcome to come along if you want…but I think it would be really awkward of you did.”
“Who is doing the spreading? Alex is unemployed!”
“Not that it’s any of your business, but we are using my retirement fund.”
My father raised his right hand and signaled for silence. He had a request. It was time to change the nature of our relationship.
“I think you should call me Mr. Gyekye from now on.”
Then he put his mighty feet into the calfskin slippers Alex had helped me pick out in the market 2 years ago and signaled for his ‘son’ to follow him. Alex obediently complied, reminding my father to take the N1 to the butcher’s shop rather than go through Medina. My father remarked that he was so smart and so thoughtful to remember. Then he slipped out of the door without turning around to bid me so much as a goodbye.
“I’m sorry you had to find out this way,” Alex said softly.
The Black American half of me was set alight. “Nigga!!! This ain’t over! You bet’ believe it ain’t!”
“Yes. Yes it is, Malaka. I have your father now…and there’s nothing you can do about it.”
Stunned, I watched his back advance further and further away from me, leaning and dipping with every step he took like a Denzel wannabe on PCP.
Was this really the end? I looked at the abandoned ludu board and prayed that my wayward father would find his way back to his daughter’s loving heart and arms. In the meantime, I swore to fight for him. Nothing but death could keep me from it!
Please. My father is faithful. This post was just written as a humorous musing over what it might be like if a side chick (or in this case, side dude) came along and stole your father. My dad is witty, funny, hard working and most of all, my good friend. How many women get to say that about their dads? I can joke about someone “robbing” me of our relationship, because I know it will never happen. He has already told me as much.
If some of you are planning to steal someone else’s father, don’t be a witch. God is watching!