To My Daughter

I wasn’t at the hospital on the day you were born. There is no real story behind it. I was at the joint drinking. That’s where my father was when I was born and where his father was too. Your mother sent her sister to inform me but I still didn’t go. I stayed and drank some more. Don’t get me wrong I was happy you were born maybe even elated but I was a drunk —– I am a drunk and for this I’m sorry.

 

Your birth was difficult. Your mother tore so badly that the doctors kept her for a week to recover. I didn’t come to see you then either. Hospitals are not a place I like; besides I was brought up as a man to be the head of the home and not waste time visiting hospitals. Hospitals are for women and bars for men. That’s where I met your mother, at the joint. Then we were both young and free. I had never seen any one as beautiful as her and till today I still haven’t. She was wearing a green dress that hung on her body. A body that looked a mismatch to the untrained eye but to me was expertly created. She had a long slim head that was shaped liked a fat banana covered with short dark hair that felt like silk when touched. The top half of her body was skinny with tiny breasts that she complained about and worried if she would be able to feed you with them. Her bottom half was thick and there seemed to be excess body wherever you looked. Maybe it was the beer but it was love at first sight.

 

‘Eh, eh, brreutifful girrll. Come sit here I want toooo tell you something. My spriti tells me you arrr my wife.’ She laughed, her laughter so deep and loud that it shook the joint. I thought like the other girls before her she would ignore me but to my delight she sat down beside me.  That was how I met your mother.  A year later we were married then I still had a job. I didn’t have to steal money from her purse to buy my drinks. I know it’s a thing of shame when a man steals from his own wife but that’s the power that drink had over me. Not that I would have admitted it back then.

 

She was the one that wanted to have you. I wasn’t sure if I did. Where will I get the money to feed you? There was only the income from her salary as a civil servant. I lost my job. No, it’s not because of the drinking. OK, that’s not true maybe the drinking was part of it. But there was traffic a very bad traffic and I couldn’t make the meeting. I had to present our latest venture to the visiting white investors. I got there two hours late and yes I reeked of booze. When I told your mother she said, Nkem (that was the pet name she called me) don’t worry God will provide another job. But he never did, maybe it was because I didn’t look.

 

Please don’t cry baby, please let me finish my story. Maybe then you will be able to forgive me and maybe one day you will be proud of me.

 

I never cheated on your mother. Believe me it was very easy if I wanted to. The women that came to the joint came for two things. The warmth and safety the cold beer gave them and the comfort found in the embrace of married men. Before I met your mother these women played a major part in my self-deceit. I made excuses that I slept with them because I wanted to, that these women were my type of women, but the truth was in the mornings I couldn’t remember how I ended up with them. Your mother was different, the morning after our first night together the image of the night before was still vivid to me.

Her mother didn’t want us to get married. She said she could see it in my eyes; that I was lost to alcohol. She said I was the type of man that would lose his job, sleep around and beat up his wife. The only thing she was right about was the beating. I did beat you mother but this only happened once. It was a mistake I can’t even remember what led to it. What I do remember clear as daylight was the look on her face after. I was drunk when it started but sober when it finished. She lay there on the floor, her face bruised and covered in blood. But what sobered me, what broke my heart like the relief of a glass wall colliding with a car, was the look in her eyes. It was one of surprise, contempt, deep sorrow but most of all disappointment. I ran to her; knelt beside her and cried. I cried like I was the one that just received a beating. I begged her to forgive me, promised it will never happen again. I tried to hug her but she flinched and my heart broke even more.  That was the first time I didn’t drink for a week. I didn’t because that was how long it took your mother to welcome me in her arms again— to forgive me.

 

Please baby you have to stop crying. I need you to understand you have to listen. You need to understand why I’m telling you this story. You need to know.

 

Our house was always a happy place but after your birth it seemed like that happiness transcended to another level. Your mother sang all day, she sang when you cried, sang when you slept, sang when I nearly dropped you staggering in my drunkard state. Then one day that singing went. They say her death was not quick, they say that she didn’t die after the truck ran over her and dragged her over a couple of meters. They say it was in the hospital that she died. They say the doctors at the teaching hospital were on strike. That they refused to treat her even though she was dying and the people that brought her to the hospital had no money to bribe them. She died on the doorsteps watched by the people that could have saved her. That day the happiness in our home died, but most of all my already dead soul was finally buried. You were just six months at the time

 

I tried to be strong, brave, tried to take care for you but I just couldn’t. On the first night after her sister had returned back to her marital home (she had spent a month teaching me how to take care of you) I forgot you were there. I heard your cries, heard you poo but the booze helped me ignored you. I sat there and watched you. Stared at the face that seemed carved out of your mother. People told me I had to retaliate that she won this round with you. That our next baby must look like me. I smiled and nodded but deep inside I was glad you looked like her and not a reflection of my shame.

 

People told me to get a house-help someone who would look after you. It’s not a man’s place to look after a baby, they all said and they were right but I couldn’t let another woman live in the home that belonged to your mother and I. So it was just you and I and how you have come to last another month without me killing you? I still can’t tell.

 

Good baby, good baby. I knew you would listen. I knew you would stop crying. I …………

 

The day I woke up to find the cot lying on top of you that was the day I decided to make my promise. I looked in your eyes and saw fear. Looked at you struggling to breath, the weight of the cot on your chest its rails across you and thought what I have done? Right then I promised to be a better father. One that your mother will be proud of, one that she believed I could be. I promised to feed you more than once a day. To hold you when you cry. Rock you to sleep at night and tell you about how beautiful your mother was and the love we had. I promised to get up and find a job maybe God will finally answer my prayer. I promised to love you and protect you like all fathers should their child. I promised to stop drinking and spiking your formula with booze to make you fall asleep, but most of all I promised to look you in the eyes and not wish that it was you that died instead of your mother. All these promises I made and I tried to keep them I really did, but I only managed all of two days and for this I’m sorry. I’m sorry I couldn’t keep them, I’m sorry because I am a drunk. I have always been a drunk, just like my father and just like his father even though I am just letting myself acknowledge it.

 

I pray that one day when you are finally old enough and you have read the letter I wrote. I hope that you will forgive what I did. I hope that you will find it in your heart to forgive that I took the coward’s way out. I hope that you will forgive what I did in the living room. Hanging off a ceiling struggling with the noose that tightened and took my last breath while you sat in your chair crying your eyes calling out for me to hold you. I hope that you will forgive that I took my life instead of trying to nurture yours. Your mother’s sister will take care of you better than I could ever have done. This I am sure of. Please don’t think of me full of shame. I had to go, go to your mother. She is the only one who makes me whole.



58 thoughts on “To My Daughter” by Mee (@dkny111)

  1. eeya. I can almost feel my tears threatnin to pour. Nyc

  2. @darlene thank you very much for reading and the comment but abeg cry now :) that’s the reason I write ooo to try and move people

    @Estee @jaywriter thank you very much for the comment I really appreciate it

  3. very well written and touching too.

    1. @nicolebassey thanks for reading and commenting

  4. God, this was depressing! Very evocative even if it made me want to slit my wrists at times. Nicely done, but next time hold back a bit. I felt like you deliberately laid it on thick.

    1. @hotchocolate thanks a lot for reading and thanks for the comment, you are always very insightful.

      The reason I wrote this, is because lately there has been a lot of incidents of people committing suicide and I just wondered what would make someone want to take their live.

      That’s why it’s so dark I tried to get in touch with the emotions they might have felt but next time I’ll try and write something not so dark :)

      1. I like it the way it is, even though it made me cry. People get that low and that deeply depressed.

        1. @Olabimpewumi Thank you for reading and the comment. Glad it moved you, means the emotions of the story came across.

          And yes people do get that low, let’s just pray we never experience it

  5. Bola (@basittjamiu)

    nice sir, this was fantastic.
    the story was cool and manly.

    1. @basittjamiu thank you very much for the comment

  6. @Mimiadebayo @elovepoetry thanks for reading and commenting

  7. @dkny111….brilliant story! Impressive telling…you just went and wow’d the heck outta us…but leaving 5he platitudes…i think it had a tangible sense of truth to it…the character is exactly fitted for its role…a goid man fighting his demons…and the plot is quite straight foward and fully understandable…good work. But if i fit forward con talk say i get complain, na dat sentence that begins with: “She had a long slim head…” give me small hibbie-jibbie…but na small fin be dat. Its a good job my oga

    Btw…someday, you must to tell me wetin that dkny111 sef mean…d nane jst tanda gidigba on e own, con be lyk computer code…jst kidding.

    1. @ayomitans thanks for the comment really appreciate it. Yeah I was trying very hard to capture the emotions he would feel trying to be a better man but knowing he isn’t strong enough too.

      Men why don’t you like the description nah, remember the guy was drunk he was just telling you what he saw :)

      My name doesn’t mean anything exciting ooo, it’s just the initial of my actual name.

      And thanks a lot for the vote, it’s my first so really grateful

  8. This is not nice! Too sad…
    This was made extra sad…
    Well done

    1. @topazo oga thanks for the comment, yeah I know it’s sad but it had to be to capture his feelings.

      Where have you been hiding oo haven’t seen your comments for a while and I’m liking the new profile outfit

  9. Sad. I didn’t know where the tale was going until the end. The father had no excuses though. He was selfish in life and in death.

    1. @febidel thanks for the comment but was he really? He was struggling with his demons, addiction is a hard thing to break add taking care of a baby makes it even harder.

      But again thanks for reading and thanks for the comment.

      1. That’s still no excuse. Sometimes, responsibility forces people to deal with addiction. I know this is fiction, but then, fiction reflects or refracts reality, and the reality is that suicide is selfish. If he had thought, even once, of the eternal trauma his baby would endure as a result of watching her father die, I’m sure he would have sought for help. Unfortunately, he, like the rest of them, assumed very wrongly that it all ends with death.

        1. @febidel agreed ooo it’s still not an excuse, nothing should lead anyone to commit suicide, not when we serve a God that is there for us and just waiting to carry us through our problems

  10. Come off it, man. I’m in a public place, don’t make me cry. It’s a good story. Well done.

    1. @ladman thanks for reading and thanks for the comment. Glad it moved you that way means the emotions must have come across well. Thanks again

  11. My! This actually moved me! This is good… I’d go with @hotchocolate tho on d part about ur laying it thick; it’s a tear-jerker, borders a bit on the edge of melodrama

    1. @wendeekay thanks for reading and the comment glad it moved you

  12. You, you ehn. You sure know how to spin a tale… please keep them coming

    1. @Olan thanks for reading and the comment. I will try o to keep them coming and hopefully they will be happier lol

  13. You and your depressing tales!

    Haba…you are a bloody good writer…your tragic themes are so strong.
    I feel bad having to read it on a day I was feeling jovial and bustling with hilarity.

    But hey…as a writer, you create worlds and scenarios which have powerful verisimilitude and you did a good job of that.
    Love the way you narrate the story…the characters came to life in your descriptions…I knew something bad was going to happen at the end…I dreaded it. Thought it would be the baby but was shocked it was the dad.
    The whole story was basically a suicide letter…that’s the depressing part.
    But you did your part as a writer…you created a world and situation that was powerfully felt through those lines. And you did it so well that I forgot about looking for typos.

    However you seem to have overlooked one aspect – this was supposed to be like a suicide letter but the italicized parts seemed to contradict the period and timing. And I may be wrong given that there may be a rationale behind the story going that way.

    Well written…well written,

    1. @Afronuts I didn’t over look it o, but first of all thank you for noticing that this was meant to be like a letter to his child.

      When I started writing I was going to call it My letter but the more I wrote the more the character took me to a different angle. The italicized parts are where he is meant to take a break from his writing to plead with his kid to stop crying, but that became him trying to console the baby while committing suicide and telling the baby what he wrote in the letter that he left.

      But thanks for reading and the comment, for someone like you that writes beautifully and at a level I hope to get to, to say I’m a good writer has made my day so thanks a lot.

      Men dude you are oppressing me with your grammar o, I had to search the meaning of the word verisimilitude :)

      Thanks again for reading

  14. Touching and funny at the same time. Pure genius.

    1. @danjuma funny? Where was it funny? You are the first to say this.

      Thanks for reading and commenting

      1. “I was at the joint drinking. That’s where my father was when I was born and where his father was too.”
        “She was the one that wanted to have you. I wasn’t sure if I did.”
        Some of the funny moments in this tragic story.(Just my thought).

        1. @danjuma OK I see. It wasn’t meant to be sha. Thanks again for reading

  15. ‘Gulp!’…was all I could do to keep from trying…. I’m awed.

    1. @ugoquix heya, thanks for reading and the comment really grateful

  16. I’ll have to come back and read this.
    I wonder why I didn’t feel anything.
    Nice though

    1. @itsabum abeg read again o, if you don’t feel anything that means I didn’t do my job well.

      Thanks for reading and the comment

  17. @dkny111 this is moving and absolutely captivating. The suicide part touched my heart in a way cos i didn’t see it coming.. Nice one!

    1. @uzomaumekwe thanks for the comment and reading. Glad it touched you.

      Yeah I tried to keep it till at late as possible so it has an impact

  18. Really sad story,I can picture the whole thing on my mind,welldone once again.

    1. @aniefiokitong thank you for reading and the comment, glad that you could picture it in your mind, because I think at times that I am not descriptive enough

  19. ‘Eh, eh, brreutifful girrll. Come sit here I want toooo tell you something. My spriti tells me you arrr my wife.’

    Very original and well crafted line.

    Mee, I have a somewhat different perspective from others, about this story. For me, the story was a tad melodramatic and unoriginal in its execution. We have heard of the hanging ceiling suicide so much that if it is to be employed, I think a unique angle should be given to its execution. The suicide letter is another cliche, a western one at that. I doubt that a Nigerian will pen down a lengthy letter as such before his death, for his baby. But even if that happens, I will personally need an angle to the story that will make it convincing.

    Now to some specifics:

    “I had never seen any one as beautiful as her and till today I still haven’t.” I think ‘any one’ should be ‘anyone’. I think this statement is weak. Yes beauty is subjective, and one can employ hyperbole, but I think localizing it can help with the authenticity. For example: “I had never seen anyone as beautiful as her in all the places I have lived and till today I still haven’t.”

    “She was wearing a green dress that hung on her body.” I am not sure what the purpose of this expression is, especially because it follows an emphatic statement that expresses a high level of beauty. It seems like a statement that doesn’t say something extra that can add to the narrative at this point. Maybe the statement needs an adverb, an adjective…or something?

    “She had a long slim head that was shaped liked a fat banana covered with short dark hair that felt like silk when touched.” For someone the narrator says is the most beautiful person he has seen, I think this description makes us doubt him. The statement makes me think of an ugly doll, seriously. Not a very beautiful woman.

    “But what sobered me, what broke my heart like the relief of a glass wall colliding with a car, was the look in her eyes.” I don’t know why I feel this was trying too hard with simile.

    “tried to take care for you but I just couldn’t.” I think FOR should be OF

    “booze helped me ignored you.” ‘ignored’ should be ‘ignore’

    Sorry o, I am just trying to be frank as regards how I feel about the story. Maybe you can learn something, shey? And I might even be wrong sef.

    Well done, man. Keep improving your art. There is no end to learning.

    1. @chemokopi my oga the fact that you read this and decided to comment alone has made my day.

      I will take all you’ve said and go back and work on getting better.

      Even though I don’t completely agreed with everything you’ve said but I’m still happy to get your opinion

      However let me clarify a few things

      Yes o the woman was ugly but to his drunk eyes he thought she was beautiful. This is what I said before describing her “A body that looked a mismatch to the untrained eye but to me was expertly created”

      Also this story is not the letter; for all we know the letter would have only said a one line I’m sorry. This story is him speaking to his daughter while in the process of killing himself.

      However though I am still very grateful you took the time to give me such a lengthy feedback and pointing out my mistakes. I’m not happy you didn’t like it though and I’ll try to do better next time

      I will learn and I go reach your level o, MY OGA. :)

      1. Hehehe…na you be oga o! Now that clarification on the letter and banana matter makes it more convincing.

        You know that I know that you are a good writer. That is the most important thing. Well done.

  20. Really sad for the child,so much trauma

    1. @MaeBee yes o i feel for the child thanks for reading and the comment

  21. Eazy (@amdaboss30)

    Wow!!! Quite a nice and touching story…..keep it up and it contain just a little typo… Nice work and it really touched me.

    1. @amdaboss30 thank you so much for reading and commenting. Glad this wow-ed you. I will take care of the typos. Thanks again

  22. This story was good, very good. I enjoyed reading it and that’s what a good story is too me.
    It, however, didn’t make me sad. It made me angry. I know I should probably be sad for the baby but I know very little about her to provoke any form of emotion (I understand that’s because the father didn’t know her either).

    There were however some grammatical flaws; typos here, tenses there that threatened to take away from the story but I’m sure even you will see those when you read again and Chemokopi has pointed a few out.

    What particularly jumped at me were the discrepancies. They may seem minute but they didn’t make the story read right:

    1. She said I was the type of man that would lose his job, sleep around and beat up his wife. The only thing she was right about was the beating. *She was also right about him losing his job*

    2.They say the doctors at the teaching hospital were on strike. That they refused to treat her even though she was dying and the people that brought her to the hospital had no money to bribe them. She died on the doorsteps watched by the people that could have saved her. *If the doctors were on strike, they wouldn’t be anywhere within the hospital, except you left out some details*

    3. People told me to get a house-help someone who would look after you. It’s not a man’s place to look after a baby, they all said and they were right but I couldn’t let another woman live in the home that belonged to your mother. * He didn’t have a job, how couldn’t have been able to afford one, and that should have made a more valid excuse *

    4. Looked at you struggling to breath, the weight of the cot on your chest its rails across you and thought what I have done?
    I promised to feed you more than once a day
    *A baby (the age wasn’t clear) being fed once a day on formula and alcohol may not survive for long under the weight of the cot…but this is subjective* *An it should either be “struggling to breathe or struggling for breath”

    This last point is more of a thought. when he said “I had to go, go to your mother. She is the only one who makes me whole”. I just wanted to ask him what alcohol does.

    I’m still angry at the coward, miserable drunk.

    1. @brizio thanks a lot for the reading and the comments. I’m glad that this story evoked an emotion from you even though it is opposite to what I tried to portray. That’s why I love fiction, because it means different things to different readers.

      Thanks for the feedback I really appreciate them and will be careful about them in the future

  23. Very silly for him to have killed himself. Suicide is never the answer.

    1. @aadetoyin again thanks for reading, suicide is never the answer but unfortunately some people think that’s the only solution. May it never be ours ooooooo

  24. evocative…………

  25. kay (@kaymillion)

    Tough reality………………../SAD/

    nice one………….. most times life is surreal

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