I woke up really late the following day , it was a weekend so Joe wasn’t working . lt was one of the weekends he was given an off day , he prepared breakfast and came to wake me up .
“Hey aren’t you waking up today ? Happy birthday.” He smiled , smiled
“you are officially 15 years of now ,” he said teasing .
” Oh thanks , Mr big boy” I smiled too pushing him from where he sat next to me on the bed.
“You remembered huh?”
“How can I forget when you have been singing about it the whole time? I have seen you hatch you know..” He let a laugh and I hit him again.
“Hatch? ‘re you crazy, Am not chicken
“Where is amama?” I asked him . “Please, that amama name does not even sound okey, besides, she looks young . The amama name sounds like you are calling an old lady or something.
“Oh, so now I don’t even talk properly? you know what? leave me alone already you silly boy” I said covering my head with the blanket .
Joe pulled away the blanket , “remember you have a date ?”
” A date ?” I asked frowning.
” Yes little girl , have you forgotten your resurrected dad is coming to take you out today ?”
” Oh that” l said relaxing .
” Okay go i dress up then” I told Joe .
“No way” he chuckled folding his hands .
“since when are you afraid of dressing up in front of me ?”
” since I turned 15 you idiot” I said throwing a pillow at him .
He shook his head as he went out. “15 indeed!” he shouted still giggling.
Granny was not outside as I had thought before . I cleaned the house and took a quick bath . I was not in the mood of looking good any more so I went back to my usual dressing , a jean and body top . I tied my hair in a pony tail as always . I didn’t even bother to apply any lip gloss that day.
Granny came back with a small cake ,’ written happy birthday Joy. may your life be filled with love and peace .”
Granny always got me a cake for my birthday and it was so long since I had it , the past five years I barely remebered my birthday.
“Wow ! amama thank you” , l hugged her.
“Happy birthday my child” she said smilling widely .
“You are the best ” I said deeping my fingers in the cake and eating it .
” Use a knife please” pointed granny.
I didn’t like eating much but I really loved cakes. I sat with Joe and ate almost half of it . Granny grabbed it from me .
“enough of this sweet thing, you need to eat real food now. ”
We heard a car hooting outside . “He’s here” Joe announced .
I asked Joe to go with me but he refused . I needed someone I knew near me . I didn’t like feeling out of place and since I barely knew my father I thought it will surely be akward for both of us .
Granny let him in and he handed me a small wrapped gift .
” Happy birthday Joy.” Dad hugged me.
” Thank you” i gave granny a side ward look. I opened it and there glittered a very nice gold necklace with letters ‘JOY’ hanging on it .
” l love it!” , l shouted.
He must have spent a fortune on it. It looked like real gold not those l saw in town which faded barely a week after wearing them . l looked at granny again , she obviously told him about my birthday.
As though he read my thoughts, he came to hold my hand.
” l never forget the day you were born,” he smiled .
“I got that in the UK 2 years ago with the hope of seeing you again. ”
Dad asked granny to go with us but she refused too.
” I have to stay here today . So you go on without me”
That day, dad came with a different car . I liked it more , it was very poshy and small. Sitting in the front passenger seat as he started the engine.
” how does it feel to be 15 ? ” He looked at me .
“Oh um it’s good I guess. I aren’t feeling anything different anyway, l just hope people would stop calling me a little or small it’s irritating .” I told him honestly .
Dad giggled ,
“so you want to be fat ?” He teased
” A bit” I responded . He smilled and I could see I had his smile even the funny way I moved my mouth sometimes . I realised our conversation was just flowing unlike what I thought before .
He took me for shopping .
“Get whatever you want” he told me .
” I have to spoil you it’s your birthday. If there was a way to make up for the lost years together I could have done it. Am happy to have you back my daughter.” He kept saying as we went round.
I got all the nice clothes I could see . I never bought clothes from a boutique before , the designs were thrilling . My dad got almost anything I touched and he would pay with his debit card . I got something for Joe and granny too .
At lunch time he told me we were going to have lunch at his place . debut
“I asked people to prepare a special meal”
“But what about your wife ? ” I asked him ,
“am not sure I want to see her” I spoke honestly .
Dad assured me nothing would happen .
“I will protect you, I already talked to your grandmother.Am working on a plan to put her were she belongs , besides she won’t be home until evening” he added.
“If you want to know, we live under one roof but have separate lives , don’t worry about a thing , everything I have worked for is yours now Joy.” He squeezed my hand assuredly.
He was so good l even felt guilty I treated him badly , it was like he wanted to make up for all the years . Of course it wasn’t possible but I sure was glad I found him .
He drove through town to his house in New Kasama , when he turned to enter the big wall fence I couldn’t believe my eyes .
His house was big and very nice , I had only seen such in Nigerian movies . Four cars were packed in the packing garage were he drove to . I saw the other vehicle he had the previous day too . we entered the house . wow ! I was amazed , just the furniture and the tiles on the grounds was so stunning and attractive. It was nothing I ever dreamt of seeing in my life.
Dad showed me all the rooms except were his wife was sleeping , we sat to eat at the dinning table and the meal was delicious , the house worker greeted me with smiles .
” She’s Joy” he introduced me ,
“my lost but found daughter.”
“Welcome” the workers greeted , giving me so much respect .greeted
Latter in the day we went to a TV room , that’s what dad called it . lnstead of switching on the TV we just talked , my father was so jovial he told me lots of stories about some countries he visited and what kind of people lived there .
“One day you and me Will fly out together he said .
He asked about Joe and Chile , I told him Joe dropped out of school and Chile was married .
“How old is Joe?” he asked.
“He’s 19 ” l told him
“. Okay let’s see how I can help him maybe he can go back to school and help at the company . by the way, How far did you too go in your education ?”
“Grade 5″, l looked down shly.
” I was about to go to grade 6 when I travelled to Lusaka but I learnt something from a friend” I explained .
“Okay, starting next week am going to find you a place at a convent so you start in grade six. Yeah? ”
“No dad , am too old to start grade 6 plus I don’t want to go to school anymore . People will laugh at me , am supposed to be in grade 11 not primary.” I complained.
“You are my only child Joy , one day you will have to take up my businesses but you need education , you have a small body no one will even tell you are 15 yet, please come on, do this for me.” dad convinced me and I finally agreed .
” Fine then” I said .
“I will go but I ‘ve to try sit for grade seven exams earlier, l know most of the grade six and seven work already.”
He agreed and promised to send me to a nice boarding school if I passed .
We were carried away chatting and eating the fruits the workers had served us , we didn’t even realise it was getting dark outside .
” I have to go now dad” I told him .
“But why? I can prepare you the other bedroom I will take you tomorrow.” He suggested but I told him I wouldn’t I had to go to church in the morning .
” l can’t live under the same roof with your wife dad, no I just can’t . ”
He told me he was going to get the car keys after i got him to agree to my not staying and I stood up waiting for him .
“Who the hell are you and what are you doing in my house ? ” a cold voice spoke behind my back, i turned to look at the direction the voice came from , my knees felt so weak . I couldn’t feel my legs .I
There before me was mom’s muderer, I recalled how she stabbed her several times in my dreams, I could see blood dripping from her chest , her orange top turning red. I heard mom’s voice screaming and her body falling to the ground . All this clouded my mind in a moment and l didn’t even realise I was screaming on top of my voice..
…to be continued
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