Being raised by my mother as a single parent was never easy, we came across many challenges just because there was no male figure in our lives.
I remember on a hot summer day, wearing my short skirt, my mom sent me to the shop. I passed some old men sitting under a big tree, drinking their traditional beer. I felt really uncomfortable and scared, as they kept staring at my skinny thighs. Fear started to fill my body as my heart started racing, my body started shaking – I almost forgot I still had my legs to carry me.
“Hi baby girl, you look so beautiful,” said one of the men who looked younger but could be my father’s age as I thought to myself still filled with tears in my eyes.
Suddenly the man tried to come closer to me, I decided to scream, “Leave me!”
To my surprise all the men started laughing. I didn’t think twice about what to do at that moment, I quickly ran home. Even if I tripped on my way I didn’t care about anything but to be home with my pillow in my room.
“What’s wrong honey?” my mom asked, running after me as I quickly walked past her with tears in my eyes. “Honey what happened?” she asked for the second time, but I gave her no response.
After a few moments of silence, I said, ” Mom, may you please ask God to bring my father home. I really miss him.”
I saw my mom searching for the right words to say to me, as she said, “Honey remember that when God takes our loved ones. They might leave us in flesh but not in spirit, they become our guardian angels.” She took a long pause before she continued, “Trust me honey your father will always be with us.
Suddenly there was a knock on the door, my mother went to check who it was. I glanced at her letting her know I wasn’t ready to see anyone if they were looking for me. That is something my mom and I shared. The fact that she understood me so well – more than anyone could ever do.
My two friends Gugu and Sihle came in. Honey I’m sorry I couldn’t stop them, my mother gave me that look. I looked back to say it was okay.
“Call me when you need anything,” she said with a big smile as she left the room.
Suddenly Gugu took out something from her bag, “Look what my father bought for me, it a new phone!”
Then Sihle followed, “My father promised to take me to the beach if I do well on my exams this term.”
I later realized I had nothing to say about my father, that the reason why I didn’t like to hang out with other kids was because they would keep reminding me about my father, my loss.
I saw tears in my mother’s eyes each time and I knew things would be different if only we had the presence of my father in our lives. I always wonder what I would’ve called him, father, dad or daddy. My life is not the same without him.
This was one of the highly commended entries in the My Father essay writing competition. Click here to read other excellent essays from the competition.