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WRITTEN BY: LIZZY OYEBOLA YAKUBU
Immediately I placed Lily and Ella to sleep on Grace’s bed, after feeding them for the third round, I led Grace to the sitting section of her room and started the Blossom’s story right away.
“You are so blessed, my darling, to have to listen to the story from the horse’s mouth. Blossom recorded this story some years ago. May you be blessed as you listen. Amen.” I prayed shortly.
“Amen!” Grace affirmed, full of all seriousness. Immediately I got to her room that morning, she was so set. She was in her bed already with her Bible, jotter and pen. She had a shawl wrapped around her head in a prayer mood and looked all ready.
‘Holy Spirit, please take over!’
I had muttered this prayer over a hundred times since I stepped into her room. I said it every time my heart seemed to wander far away; anytime it seemed as if discouragement and doubts were setting in.
By the time I had retrieved the three-hours long video recorded by Blossom a few years back, I had peace like a river, placed my tablet on the coffee table and relaxed against the sofa as we listened prayerfully.
My name is Blossom.
My father’s name is Fries, so my full name is Blossom Fries.
I am beautiful- yeah, that is what people say. I am tall, slightly fair, quite hairy, chubby and I have this lush skin anyone would even fall for. But my dad taught me early that beauty is deceitful.He told me never to allow people’s compliments enter into my head.
The only family I knew all my life was my dad- no one else. I loved him because he loved me. I loved him because he loved God and he taught me about his ways. I was his treasure. I was his princess. I was the apple of his eyes.
My father would rarely let me work at home. He would do almost everything, asking me to study instead. No wonder people say I am so intelligent today. He provided me with every game that would task my brain. Scrambles, Sudoku, Chess, Trivial pursuit, just name it. No one could beat me at this game. No one! I would always beat everyone, including my dad.
I loved to play football as well. On all the occasions when I represented my school at interstate, international and intercontinental levels, my dad would always travel with me. He would look for the money and either travel with me or cancel my trip if he couldn’t get the money. He was that over-protective.
Few months into my final exams in high school, things started to happen that changed the course of my life.
My grandma had visited the house after so many years of not coming to see us. She didn’t look so pleased to see me, however. She had faults with everything I did, no matter how well I did them.
“You, why is your skirt too long like this?”
“You, who is your hairdresser? Why do you look so diseased?”
“You, why is this water too hot? Didn’t I ask for warm water?”
“You, you can’t even boil eggs well. Everything is so overcooked and soggy”
“You, is it only books and games you have to study, nothing else? No friends to hang out with?”
I wondered greatly why she didn’t like me.
But I couldn’t find a reason.
She left our house on a Tuesday after spending three days but I could notice tremendous changes in my dad’s behaviour towards me.
He wouldn’t look into my face. He wouldn’t laugh when I joked. He wouldn’t help me loosen my hair. He wouldn’t hold my hands when we prayed. He started to look very deep in thoughts. I wanted to ask what was wrong but I couldn’t bring myself to asking. I was disappointed already that he could change that much since grandma’s visit.
Two months later, after living in a very cold house with no warmth, I saw light in my father’s eyes again. I was so surprised as he dropped me off at school that day and planted a peck on my forehead like he would always do before the cold responses became the order of the day.
It was a Wednesday. I had gone to school like every other day but my performance at school that day was extraordinary. I was too glad to see that my dad was up again. I had prayed and fasted to God to help me come into the situation.
“God sure answers prayers!” I whispered to myself as I sat under the mango tree after school hours, waiting for his car to arrive.
As soon as he drove into the school compound, he ran out of his car, came towards me and hugged me.
He gisted with me all through the drive from school. I was too dumbfounded. I had been starved of all those attentions for two months!
We were almost getting to the avenue where we lived when I saw him swerving right, to the place where Shoprite was situated.
“Dad, you are taking me to Shoprite, why?”
“Dad simply wants to spoil you, princess”
That day, I wasn’t the one that did the shopping, it was him. He made sure to buy one thing from almost all the shops inside Shoprite for me.
Snacks and drinks
Just anything you can think of that a young lady needs.
By the time we got to the parking lot, we were pushing three, full trolleys out. I was dumbfounded at first but on second thought, I felt that he was simply trying to make his ways right again after treating me coldly for two months.
By the time we got home, what greeted my eyes was too thrilling!
The dining table was full of assorted foods. Fried rice, curry rice, coconut rice, jollof rice, goat meat, beef, chicken, turkey, grilled peppered fish, pounded yam and egusi soup with bottles of wine, juice and drinks.
I turned to look at my dad’s face and he was smiling shyly.
“Dad, this is obviously not your handiwork.” I said and he started laughing. He pulled out a chair for me and asked me to sit. He placed an empty serving plate with cutleries in front of me and served from all the varieties of rice and meat.
“Eat up!” He said and I frowned.
“Aren’t we eating together?”
“No darling, today is your day. So, please, princess, eat up” He said and I chuckled. I blessed the food and started digging into the food.
Immediately I was almost through with the meal, he was about serving me another round when I raised an objection.
“Dad, I am very full already. Moreso, I need to know what is happening dad”
“First, you served me cold responses for two months. The next thing, you took me shopping and bought all the world for me. Now, here is a feast. Is something the matter? Are you travelling?” I asked and he shook his head, smiling uneasily.
“Ermmm….did you enjoy the food?”
“Sure, I did. It is very homely” I replied. His face shone at that.
“Homely? Gosh, I thought it was too. Don’t worry, my princess. You will now have an opportunity of eating and feasting like this every day.”
“Really, we’ve got a maid?” I asked and he shook his head.
“You’ve got a….erm…a, you see, I know how lonely you’ve been. I am so sorry for not giving you a better life all these while. By God’s grace, you’ve got a mother. A mother and some brothers. We will all live together as one big family” He said and I dropped my fork, my lips shaking disorientatedly.
“You’ve got a wife, dad?” I asked, a cold shiver running through my head to my toes. As he nodded affirmatively, it felt as if the walls round my life had collapsed.
The thought had never crossed my mind! I never imagined sharing my dad with anyone else.
“We got married yesterday at the Ikoyi magistrat…” He was saying when I stood up and started running as my leg could carry me into my bedroom. I locked the door and fell to the ground, shaking in total disbelief, total sorrow.
My dad is married?
Our home will be shared?
My life has ended?
“Princess, I am so sorry” I could hear him say outside the door.
Sorry? For what?
“You are becoming a lady and you seriously need a mum figure in your life…”
“Dad, I wasn’t complaining! You were worth more than ten mums and forty days to me. I never said I was lonely. I never said I…”
“Dad was lonely.” He said and that shut me up. My heart collapsed.
Am I being selfish, right now?
For over 18 years, I had never known a woman with my dad and I had never even cared.
“I’m sorry. I am so sorry” I started. Just then, I felt a rush of jealousy all over me. “I am sorry for never being able to fill the spaces. I am so sorry for never being enough for you. I am so sorry for being selfish. I am sorry for…”
“Blossom, please stop that. You shouldn’t be sorry. I am the one who should be sorry. I am the one who should apologize to you for having a wedding with someone without your permission” He said and I shook my head.
“So, you both have tied the nuptial knots. Dad, you didn’t give me a clue. You didn’t even allow her to meet me first. Dad, I am hurt. I am envious. I am jealous right now.” I cried as I ran to my bed and hugged the pillows tightly.
I hugged the pillows so tight and wept sore.
It felt as if my world had fallen right in front of me.
“I am so sorry, my princess. I didn’t want to hurt you. I didn’t want to…”
“Do you love her?”
“Yeah, I guess. But not as much as I love you, princess”
“That means she is not a good woman.”
“She is. Mum testifies of her.”
“It was grandma that introduced her to you?”
“Ah, but dad, did you even pray about it?”
“And God said you should get into this?”
“Well, I think so” He said. The uncertainty in his voice made me cringe.
Has my dad married out of the Will of God?
“Dad, when did you meet this woman?”
“Jesus Christ! Daddy, and you are already married to her. You didn’t even have a period of courtship to get to know her and her sons well. Daddy, no!”
“Since she is a widow with four boys, I thought she shouldn’t be a person that one should take through the pain of another courtship that….”
“Daddy!!!!” I exclaimed, rolling on my bed in deep anguish. “Daddy, you should have told me. We would have prayed together for a woman that would honour you, love you and make you live long. Someone that would love me too” I cried.
“She will love you. Who would see my lovely princess and not love her?” He said but I couldn’t be comforted. I felt so shattered and betrayed.
That night was a very terrible one for me.
I couldn’t leave my room to go have dinner.
I picked my books to read but no way, the words were simply hitting my steel head and falling back..
I thought I could find solace in my games but they looked too mundane to me at that point. I packed everything and dumped them into the big carton where they all lived. Then, I pushed them up my wardrobe.
Dad knocked on my door severally so we could have dinner together but I couldn’t just stand up from where I was. I didn’t have the courage to even stand and face my dad. I was too disheartened.
By the time it was morning, I had to pull myself to move out of the room so I could go to school. The drive to school was very silent. I could see my dad looking in my direction severally but he couldn’t utter a word neither was I ready to hear a word from him either.
As I alighted the car, I turned to look at him.
“Thank you, dad” I said, curtly. He nodded and smiled slightly.
“Mum arrives this morning with your four brothers. Cheer up when you meet them and show them the treasure that you are to me” He said and I smiled slightly too, nodding. “God bless you, my Baby Blossom”
“Amen” I said curtly, closed the door and started walking lifelessly to my class.
That was the most boring day of my life. I was so sad. I wept throughout all the teaching periods. I flopped in all my tests. My friends reported me to our class teacher who reported me to the principal when she could get no words out of my mouth.
The principal also tried but failed. I couldn’t just stop crying.
“Should I call your dad?” The principal asked. I became bewildered and went on my knees immediately.
“No ma. I will tell you tomorrow ma. I promise ma” I pleaded.
“But are you sane?” She asked.
“Yes ma. I only just have some family issues” I said and she nodded.
“Please, be fine from tomorrow. Your exams are fast approaching and your teachers are so shocked that you failed all their tests today” She said and I nodded.
Test didn’t matter to me anymore. All that mattered was my family. My family was being divided into two and I simply couldn’t help it. I was so powerless. I was so helpless.
After waiting till 4:30pm and I couldn’t smell my dad’s presence at the school to pick me up, I knew I had to find my way.
The last school bus was leaving the school compound and thankfully, it was going in the direction of our house. I quickly bought my ticket and found a comfortable seat at the back to bury my head.
None of the ‘SP’ chant from the junior students thrilled me. The Senior Prefect was simply not in the mood. I smiled at them briefly and afterwards buried my head…
And allowed the tears to flow!
I got home a few minutes to five and from the gate, I could hear bubbling and so many noises from inside. Our house was usually very quiet so as the noise drifted to my ears, tears rushed into my eyes again. I started sniffing as Moses, the gateman opened the gate for me.
“Sister Blow blow” He hailed as always but I wasn’t interested. I genuflected and started walking slowly inside.
“New mummy don come o” He said after me but I acted deaf.
“E be like say our peace for this house don end o” He said, quietly, yet so confidently, making me understand that he knew exactly what he was saying.
My heart dropped.
I turned to look back at Moses and he nodded affirmatively.
My stomach rumbled noisily at once and I knew that constipation had once again visited my shaken body.
Intertwining my legs, I started hopping like an ostrich to the toilet adjacent to the gateman’s house. I held my buttocks as I did.
I couldn’t ask Moses what he meant by that because any sound from me and I would mess my pants.
I clicked on my tablet then and smiled at Grace whose eyes were filled with tears already.
“You don’t mean it! Why did you stop it from playing?” She asked me, looking so shocked.
“The session for today has ended” I replied.
“Yes. I need to go home now. You don’t know that you have kept me from going home since yesterday, right?” I asked and she pouted.
“Awwww….I am so sorry, Mummy Zee. But will you be coming tomorrow?” She asked and I smiled.
“Sure, I will. I am taking my babies to the hospital tomorrow for an immunization. I will come directly here afterwards by His grace.”
“Ahhhh, I can’t wait mummy Zee. I feel so sorry for Blossom.” She said and I nodded. \
“Hers is simply a pathetic case” I said and she sighed.
“I can’t even imagine what is going to happen to her next. The woman better not be a witch o. Oh my!”
I chuckled as I walked to her bed to see my babies who had been seriously sleeping for the past one hour. They didn’t even disturb the session at all.
“Can’t you send me the whole audio clip so that I can listen it all at once?” She asked and I burst out laughing.
“No, no no. That is not how my own counselling technique goes” I said and she nodded.
“Well, that avails me the opportunity of seeing you everyday” She said.
“I am thankful that you are seeing it that way” I said and chuckled.
“Your babies are so lovely. They have your lushy skin. They are just so damn admirable!”
“Thank you dear. Take care of your baby now so that she will come out even more admirable than these” I said and she rolled her eyes.
“Dr. Zee, I don’t even want us to take about this now.”
“So, you haven’t been taking your folic acid? Do you know how imp….”
“I don’t want to talk about this bastard now!” She said in a raised voice and my babies got startled. They started crying all at once. I was transfixed as I looked at her. She covered her mouth, looking so sorry for waking my babies. But it was something else that was on my own mind.
Is this story going to do anything to this girl at all?
Should I back out now?
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