‘Daddy, where is my mummy?’ Titi asked her dad for the umpteenth time. ‘She is dead, I’ve told you this before’, her dad replied, exasperated and perplexed. ‘Yes, I know she died. But if death took her, there must be a place where he must have kept her?’ Titi tried to assert her point of view stoically. Her dad looked at her incredulously. She was only ten years old and she was more handful than his job as a computer security expert. He found it extremely weird to discuss the philosophy of death in the detail that she demands and his resolve was wearing thin as each new dawn rears its head. He wondered how he was going to direct this conversation and it was quite disenchanting to him that his daughter had grasped the concept of death at such a tender age.
‘Why are you smiling?’ his daughter interrupted his reverie. He pondered on her question and couldn’t immediately conclude why. ‘Haaa’, the thought invaded him all of a sudden, ‘you referred to death as a ‘he’, why not a ‘she?’. He was aware now that he must have been the one that encouraged his daughter to think the way she does. For God do love the world, she should be playing with dolls and sand, but his daughter doesn’t like cartoons or games she only loved to talk. He watched his daughter switch on her introspective personae.
She mulled over the thought, mumbling and chewing on words that were quite fascinating to observe. He expected her to mull over it for the next few days because one of her interesting attitude is to complete a thought process. He was about to stand up when she smiled at him wildly, and he knew he was in trouble. ‘Death cannot be a ‘she’ because women give birth to life’, she paused trying to gauge her father’s reaction before she let out the rest of her conclusion. ‘Death must be a ‘He’ because like men, it takes what he wants when it wants it like a man can take a woman’s heart and marry her and enforce his name upon her and decide where she lives and surrender her to death without fighting back.’ Her dad’s jaw dropped so much that a train of saliva was almost trailing its way out of the corners of his mouth.
Before he could muster a response to her lopsided logic, Titi stood up from the chair she was seated, took three strides towards her dad who had his tablet on his lap and peered deep into her father’s eyes. ‘I’ll probably end up like mum’, she suggested as a matter of fact. Her dad was lost for words. Tears welled up in his eye; he sniffled to hold it back. Titi looked at him pitifully, took away his tab and hugged him whispering in his right ear at the same time, ‘You are such a cry baby! Why did you try to evade my last question by asking me a question?’ she stroked her dad’s head and combed his beards with her tiny hands. ‘I was thinking you and I could launch a rescue mission to save her, that’s all! Considering you are too much of a coward to do what men know how to do best; to find another wife that will take care of us.’
Titi’s dad never felt embarrassed in his daughter’s presence. He understood what she was asking him to do but his wife’s death took immeasurable toll on him. He was an orphan, the only child and his wife’s families were all abroad. They tried in futility to take Titi off his hands so that he could rekindle his life, but that was the most impossible thing to require of him. He composed himself and pecked his daughter on her forehead and she smiled with a hint of shyness for her dad’s show of affection. ‘So who do you have in mind?’ Titi’s dad enquired with a twinkle in his eye. He gave his daughter a wink and she blushed magnanimously knowing she couldn’t catch her dad off guard on this topic.
If her dad had come in another life, he would have been a successful actor and this was what she enjoyed the most about him. She was visibly excited now since her dad rarely entertained this topic for conversation. ‘I’ve racked my head dad, did meta-analysis and trust me, it is the best’. Titi spewed the words out rapidly with a few stumbling across her lips. She was holding her breath and trying to preempt her father’s reaction. ‘Spit it out already’, he encouraged her harshly. ‘Aunty Riri’, she blurted out while she mesh her eyes together anticipating any form of unexpected reaction. ‘What?’ her father sat up, serious and disturbed. ‘Who in the world seeded that thought into your bedazzling mind?’ he stared at her intently intensely clueless on how to really react.
‘Well’, Titi tried to choose her words carefully knowing she had to sell her idea maturely, ‘since aunt Riri is mummy’s twin, identical for that matter, meaning one egg split into two, and she is single, and she has all mum’s specificat…i…o…n’, she trailed off as she saw her father’s brow tighten with disbelief. There was a pregnant silence between them, each peering intently at the other trying to find how to steer the conversation. Titi took the initiative and blurted out the rest of the most brilliant idea she thought she had ever had. ‘I just feel Aunty Riri must be a BOGOF package for you from God. For God so loved the world, she is a perfect spare’. She pouted petulantly exasperated at why her proposition was quite challenging to understand.