There I stood, looking at his grave. My heart was bleeding hard, indeed an Angel had fallen. Monna gare ga banna. He is no more in the land of the living and I can only hope that he is resting in peace – sure he deserves that much. I constantly come here just to feel closer to him. He will always remain a father and a mother in one. I lost both parents when I lost him.

I put the bottle of Hennessy down and started to clean his tombstone. I hesitated to get up and go home but eventually I did.

Upon my arrival at home, I was a mess. I looked at his beloved chair and imagined him and his wife fighting, or should I say his wife yelling at him. Fighting had become a normality as it was their daily bread. What kind of a father would I become? When will my resentment for that woman stop? Why was she like that? Why was she always angry? I asked myself.

My mother was the head of the family and the man of the house. The abuse my father endured in that relationship was sickening and to think I saw it every now and then breaks me. Indeed, men out there experience abuse from their partners too.

He was a father any child would wish to have, an ideal husband, but why couldn’t his wife see that? I couldn’t even utter the word ‘mom’ to her, all because it feels surreal. I had a mother in my father and that was enough. Her presence and absence were unnoticed among us. She failed to acknowledge my father’s value. My sister followed my father’s sister all because she didn’t lead by an example. According to science, she is our mother but she’s a stranger according to us.

She always made fun of my father’s inability to find work, and was always belittling him. But he still always took her side for some unknown reasons. I still remember that day as if it was yesterday. I was going to start middle school when we had breakfast as a family, I was excited and nervous. Dad was evidently so proud but she was so sour. According to her, I wasn’t supposed to reach that far.

I was disappointed. My excitement disappeared in a speed of light.

“You will never amount to anything in life and you will end up just like your useless and stupid father,” she’d said. That was the last time I ever saw her. She packed all her bags and moved out of the house and eventually our lives. God favoured her; she became a famous actress then later a model. Always on television, billboards you name them. Dining with celebrities, fame kicked in and forgotten we were.

My father continued to raise me and my sister and remained strong for us. But clearly we were blocking her progress. Not even for once did my father ill-spoke her in our presence. He had to buckle it up and move on. He had to teach my sister all about girlhood. I would be lying if I said it was easy.

When I completed matric, I persuaded my father to stop working as old age was kicking in. I found work at some supermarket as a cashier and the owner was taken by my patience and hard-working persona. I helped her with strategies of attracting new customers, and they worked ! She offered to train me and teach me everything she knew about business, in her I saw a mother. Calm and loving. I bought a mobile and opened a tuckshop. The community supported me.

Years later, I built my own supermarket and managed to take my sister to university and I was able to financially support my father. I even extended and renovated our house. My sister studied law and I managed to register with Unisa to study psychology. I never gave up on school or my dreams but circumstances then, didn’t allow me to continue. Our mother never looked back. Words on the street says she got married, and possibly other children. Regardless, I will love them. Her career continued to bloom.

One thing she failed to do was to build a necessary foundation for us. I had to rely on my unemployed father when my mother was a billionaire. At the end a necessary foundation had to be built and she somehow managed to avoid building it at any cost. Dad told us on his deathbed that he wasn’t our biological father, but I refused to accept that. My mother left us with our step father, she forced him to take responsibility of the children that weren’t his. She didn’t care about our safety.


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