It was one rainy afternoon. We had just buried my mother. I stood over her muddy grave, watching rain drops drip over and flow down on it with so much sorrow in my heart I did not even hear a man sneaking up behind me. It was my father. I knew him, but didn’t know him. I only got to see him once in a few years on Christmas holidays. But now that my dear mother had departed, me and my brothers were to live with him.

He came home late after work, so me and my elder brother took turns each day with cooking duties. Different women of all types and sizes came to sleep over at our home every weekend. I remember this one woman who moved into our house just a week after my father had met her. She had kids of her own, but they did not move in with us. My father had the fridge and cupboards full of food and snacks. She would wake up in the morning and make breakfast. Her plate would be full of eggs, polony and bacon, but we were only given porridge. At christmas time her kids had all the clothes, while we were walking butt-naked. I was angry at my father and I questioned his intelligence. I stopped eating the food she cooked and ate at school. She started getting mad. “Who do you think you are, Huh?” she would say, “hunger will kill you my boy, you’re not the man of the house.” I didn’t care. I did my best to avoid being home. I would leave for school at 6am and come back at 3pm, take my soccer boots, then go to practice and come back home when it was time to sleep. Money disappeared mysteriously, and when my father asked her fingers would point at me. But, thank God, my father knew that I was not a thief. I wouldn’t even touch 50 cents. He realised that that women was no good, and got rid of her.

It wasn’t easy for her to let go though. She fought any woman that came to our home, including my aunt. “If I can’t have you, no one will,” she once told my father. “You want to separate me from my family and kids,” my father told her.

It wasn’t long before she disappeared and we never heard from her again. I saw something in my father that I never thought he had: character. From then on he became our friend. It was us before any woman. In fact, me and my brothers chose the women that came to our home. He stuck with those we liked, and discarded those we didn’t. Despite his flaws, he still had his family at heart: he protects. That’s one thing I have learnt from him, that even though you make many mistakes, you should never make a mistake in giving your loved ones love. As I predict, I’m going to be a father one day, and I know I will not be a perfect father, since I’m not a perfect son, nor a perfect human, but I’ll give all the love I have.


This was one of the commended entries in the My Father essay writing competition. Click here to read other excellent essays from the competition.