I almost jumped out of my skin on recognizing the voice….. Wait, is that not? (No it couldn’t be) my Dad’s Voice?? I could hear my heartbeat as it increased its pace while I anticipated the second call.
“Sir” I answered calmly then willed my legs to go to his room, but it was as if they had a mind of their own, because they just refused to budge.
“Tolulope!!!” He called once more and as if struck by a bolt of lightning, I jumped up and ran to his room. Getting to the door, I paused to catch my breath and compose my facial expression into a very plastic, fake smile that I was sure would be wiped off my face on seeing him; I knocked twice and then called out “Daddy”.
He replied “Come in and take off your shirt”.
I cringed inwardly as I pushed the door open, the sight that greeted me was one that would remain forever etched in my memory. My Dad was standing against the built-in wardrobe at the opposite end of the room, looking directly at me as I walked in and my Mum was sitting on the bed, her head held in her hands like she had a serious headache. I looked at my Dad’s face and his facial expression gave the clause “A Man in Pains” new meaning, I was dumbfounded at the way his facial features were arranged, it was as if He was “High”, Glazed seemed more appropriate. He told me to come closer, and I shut the door behind me wondering what on earth could have brought about this kind of situation; the tension in the room was so thick, you could take a knife and cut part of it.
I looked at my Mum, seemingly unaware that I even existed or entered the room, trying to find some sort of clue in her eyes as to what was happening but to my disappointment, she didn’t even look up, not to talk of look at me. I glanced furtively around the room, noticing that it looked as if an Hurricane swept through this place, pieces of paper were strewn all over the bed, the floor; files were left opened on the shelf, the reading table on the far left had a box on it with some clothes, and more clothes on the bed.
By this time, Dad obviously had no time for my snail-paced movement, so he walked over to me and dragged me towards my Mum then planted my feet firmly in front of her. She brought her head up and looked first at my dad, right into eyes that were bloodshot from prolonged intake of alcohol coupled with tears, and said, “He is not your Son” in a voice that sounded weak and defeated.
“Louder” my Dad yelled at her.
“He is not your Son!” my Mum screamed right back at him. She grabbed me, turned my back and pointed to a darkened spot at the back of my neck, “Does this look familiar” she asked him?
I saw my my Dad lose his composure, the last ounce of strength in him visibly gone, color drained from his cheeks as he recognized the same mark that was on the neck of his brother.
“Femi”, he whispered, “Femi”, he said again, firmly this time and stormed out of the room with a look of pure hatred in his eyes.
My world crashed right in front of me, it felt like the air in the room was not enough for me to survive on, my feet swayed and I fell to the floor. The last thought on my mind before I blacked out was “How on earth is it possible that I’m not the son of the man who I feared much more than God Himself”?