Dear Dad, Published by Dora Achieng Okeyo
© 2013 Smashwords Edition
I wanted to tell you some things. I know it has been ten years since you heard from me and like the Father you are- you have been waiting for this. I am sorry to say that I am not worthy of being your Son. I went out drinking with some of my friends yesterday and thought of you. I asked myself, “What would Dad say if he saw me?” I ran out of that club so fast my friends thought I had seen a ghost. Truth is, I saw myself and I did not like what I saw. You named me Isaac- one of the founding fathers of a nation- he was indeed a nation himself, and when I read about him, I looked at myself and hated you. It was this cold anger that numbed me and almost choked me to death. How does it feel Dad? How does it feel to know your son had to live without you for twelve years? I was a boy back then, and I still am. I have achieved what most parents would think is beautiful. I graduated from the university two years ago with a degree in Journalism. I have been writing a column in the daily paper for two years now and things are looking up. I moved out of home that time and I have just moved into a new apartment. It has two bedrooms, a living room, a dining section and a kitchen Mom thought deserved a good woman. I looked outside my window today and saw this kid being carried by his Dad. He was laughing so hard I believed I saw Heaven right there, but look at us Dad…where are we? Where have we been all these years? Where has your heart been? I have wanted to come see you, but my anger never let me. It was always there, constantly reminding me of what a shame you were. Truth is I was ashamed- it hurt me to see you there. It hurt me to see someone time our conversation. It hurt to have them tell me “time’s up” just when I wanted to tell you about my life. Every time we came to see you, Mom would say that we were walking into a fortress. I wonder why they built such structures when the pain of being away from us killed you already. Now that I think about it, I was embarrassed that you were no longer my hero. They said that you stole money from their company. Embezzlement- that’s what they called it. Back then I could never know how one could steal from his boss. When they said you were guilty, yet there was no circumstantial evidence, my heart bled dry. It is a question we have to ask all our lives, but I know now that you were not guilty. You were their fall guy. They saw this young man; eager to please the bosses and they set you up. They must have paid that judge a lot of money to put you behind bars. I have since looked into your case, because I wanted to believe you. I wanted to know what happened to you and when I did, it hurt me that our justice system is flawed. Dad, I have just had twelve bottles of Tusker and I feel as though there are twelve more to go. I have to write this, because it’s been too long. I have stayed silent for so long I fear I know you not. I cannot recall what you look like- not your eyes, or mouth. I do not know if your hair curls or not. I do not know what you like or dislike. I do not know if you have started having grey hair or if youth is still with you. Do you brush your teeth so hard like you used to? Do you still say a prayer before meal time? Do you still say “man up!”? Do you still laugh so loud that the room shakes? Do you remember me? I wonder if you call my name sometimes, just so you can picture me. What of Mom? I know she’s never stopped visiting you. She loves you more than any of us ever did. Angela, do you remember her? She was eight when they took you away. She looks like mom, and is always asking me for pocket money and salon money. She loves to dance and paints the most beautiful pieces I have ever seen. She made this painting using yoghurt and sold it to Mama Kamau for her new café. It was just breathtaking, anyone who looked at it found themselves ordering Mama Kamau’s fresh yoghurt. And there’s Cecilia, she was five- and now she talks and texts at the same time. She believes “l8r” is “later” and “ttyl” is “talk to you later.” She ends every text she sends me with “.” She also dyed her hair red, and looks like some troubled girl from Hollywood. She is the one who visits you with Mom. Angela took my side and I don’t know about her, but it was the wrong side. Dad, I met a lady. She is called Sarah. She works in the marketing department where I bank. She is dark, has this beautiful smile and when she talks you could listen to her forever. She is Anglican and always attends a church service with me. I cherish her. I turn twenty five next week and I thought for my birthday, we should all come and see you. I want you to see what has become of the son who shunned you. I also want to see you because on that day, you will be coming home with us. I shared my findings about your case with a lawyer and following the evidence we gathered, they will set you free. I know I should have called or let Mom know about my research, but I wanted to be sure. I wanted the justice system to see what a mess they made of our lives. Some part of me also wanted to be sure that everything would work in our favor. Angela says that I am going through a psychological phase but she’s wrong. I want to start on a clean slate with Sarah. I want her to know what my anger and bitterness did to us. I want you to meet her, because a huge part of me sees Mom in her. Every time I see her, I wonder “would she stand by me like Mom stood by you?” I wonder because I have this feeling that I would hurt her by pretending to be fine when I am not. So Dad, I would like to come and see you. I would like you to look at me and ask me “Isaac, how are you my Son?” If that’s hard just hug me or pat me on the shoulder, as long as you look at me I will be fine. And Dad, I wanted to tell you that you are the Best Dad in the world, you took the fall for something you did not know, you watched them take you away from us, but you still hoped to set foot out of that prison. They thought they would hold you captive but your love for us set you free, you were never their prisoner Dad and for the life of me, I hope that someday I will be half the man you are.