The Start of a New Journey

I’m 9 and its my first day at secondary school. As I saw the other girls running around and chattering excitedly, I was frozen with fear and rooted to the car seat. And then I wondered, “was I somehow given a separate resumption date than the others? They all already seem to know each other, and they’re so big!” And then I felt a warm hand on the hand clutching the seat tightly. It was so comforting, so familiar and I relaxed unconsciously even before I turned to you. “You know even though they’re bigger than you, you are much prettier and smarter than they are” he said. “That’s not true daddy.” But I felt warmer inside already. “Of course it is. If anyone says its not, tell them your daddy says so.” “But I can’t say so” I said, already laughing at the mock scowl you had on your face my fear forgotten.

I’m 16 now and its a Sunday afternoon. I just got a call that my name didn’t appear among the shortlisted candidates for my chosen university, and I was devastated. I stand there, gripping the phone and weeping like my life was over; and in the mind of a 16 year old, my entire life seemed truly to have come to have come to an abrupt end. I run to the sitting room and throw myself straight into your surprised arms, and in-between sobs, I’m telling you how its all over and how I didn’t get in! You hold me in your arms, and you’re soothing me and letting me cry all over you. At that point, all I wanted was for you to make it all better like you always do.

And now I’m 19 and have just arrived home from school. I hadn’t heard from you for so long. Just as I entered the house, I met the drawn puffy face of my mum, surrounded by relatives and some strangers. I went to hug her, “where’s dad” I asked, “and why are there so many people in the house?” I looked at my mum who simply shook her head, sobbing silently, and I knew you were gone. I felt my world shatter right before me. All I could think was that I would never see you again.

As I look back, I feel that though you’re gone, perhaps I could still take on the world like we planned that I would. This is definitely the start of a new journey!

-Tia Nnebo

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