When the sun set on that evening in 2011, she went to bed a happy lass. She had heard the voice of her father. What a delight! What a joy! A sense of satisfaction had filled her soul. That journey of a thousand miles had somehow come to an end. Today when she looks back, however sad it might be to admit, she still wishes she had been shown his tombstone instead. Years down the line, in the pain and anger of an apology that was never to be, Natalie had repeated this to herself over and over again. (Funny how she never, prior to this moment had ever wished death on her worst enemy; but truth be told, with death comes an ounce of closure. She still wishes she had gotten that instead).
How do you fall in love with someone you have never seen? We all keep asking. But she did. His charm, his pride, his fatherliness and his longing to meet this long-lost daughter had been so clear for the years they had interacted. Thank you for the invention of social media and technological advancement. Oh, how he had petted her, his long poems drafted in a crafty humorous way, Nat always found herself admire his writing prowess.
Every morning she would pass by the cyber café to check out for a mail from him. Yes, the search for her biological father had been a daunting experience. Why was she looking for him? You may be wondering. I will respond to this by saying, the story and the journey shall be for another day. The fact remains, they had reconnected and despite the distance, they had every intention to keep the bond.
Until that fateful phone call came through. He said that she was causing havoc. Her supposed step-mother was not amused by this new-found relationship and she had no intention of letting father and daughter rebuild their reunion. Always complaining about their conversations and listening in. Hacking to emails and texts. Whoever goes to those extends? Ladies, why do we do this? I mean, it is not the fault of the child to start with. This is just another fruit of your man’s loins. Let us be honest enough and face it. We too have had our fair share of rendezvous. Maybe even aborted to cover up for our sins. Let us stop hiding our faces in the sand.
Funny how she had never even told him that she and Nat had talked prior to this father-daughter re-connection. That Nat had called over and over again on their landline asking after him. Instead, she told him that Nat had not been courteous to her. She demanded an apology, for Natalie being rude in exchange for welcoming her to the fold. Haha. She laughs now, but that is what she calls a super witch. The devil reincarnat in sheep clothing. Leave alone the NYS slay queens who seem to have no idea they did cheat the public. This one was out to steal their new-found joy. And she knew right where to hit and when.
Then they came to Kenya. According to Nat, she has no idea if her anger at him had been for his cowardice or for his lying; or just for not being able to stand up as a man. But for that, she would rather they stay apart than in the pretense of a family.
“Which man asks a step-mother to call his daughter for a reunion?” she asks. To be honest, I have no idea how if at all she wants me to respond to this. “I mean, how is she the one to mend long broken bridges. She is a lie in the first place, you have no idea about the number of truths she is hiding from him. And he entrusts her with being the mediator!” (was that a rhetoric or a question for me? I still ponder, and after a moment of silence, she continued).
“My father failed,” she stated, rather confidently. “And he failed terribly at it. And while at this moment I will say, rest in peace, my old man. It had been a short lovely journey, with lots of hills and valleys; but it is easier to mourn a departed soul than to live a lie.” At this point, tears are rolled down her cheeks. I can still feel the pain, the anger, the hurt and the disappointment right from her voice. I passed her tissues. A hard knot lodged on my throat. I was angry too. Men, oh men, why do we do this to our own flesh and blood?
Men, or all those women who forget their children for whatever reason, always remember your blood no matter how much you pretend to live a perfect life will remain to be yours forever. A testament to your failures and successes. Telling a story of who you once were. And you know what is most beautiful about it all? You alone will leave with the guilt to your sunset. A guilt of what would have or never have been had you had the courage to face your mis-steps head-on. What is the worst that can ever happen anyway?
“I will never bow to please a human being. She is not my mother. After all, how would it be if they helped God manage the amounts of oxygen we breathe in?” Nat continued, amidst sobs.
I still did not have an idea if to pose another question or just let her be. Choosing the latter, I was left with more questions than I had for her at the start of this interview. “God, I pray for her, and for the many others who have not had a chance to vent their pains and hurts. Please Father, do grant her the peace and comfort that surpasses all human understanding. Be her best friend and her comforter, because only you can wipe away what she is feeling in her heart. Amen.”
Wow! Why is life like this?