From the day I found out I was going to be a dad, everything changed for me, I grew up almost instantly, and I was determined to be the best husband and father I could be.
My wife was a wonderful woman, she brought me joy beyond measure, and I remember always teasing her, about giving me a copy of herself, so I could have two of them, and she did just that. Our daughter Claudia was born, June 12th, 1988, that was the second happiest day of my life, the first being my wedding day.
I held Claudia in my arms, she stared up at me with her big cute eyes, and I promised her I would never let anything happen to her. I swore I would rather die than see any harm come to her, and I meant it.
The years passed, and Claudia grew up, she was normal, and went through all the stages. The “I hate boys” stage, was my personal favorite; the “I am aware of my body/I want boys to notice me” stage came and went, I didn’t like that stage very much. And then, the “I am a grown woman, off to college stage”, I had dreaded this stage from the day she was born, but her mother always said “You can’t hide her under your wing forever”. She was right; I had to let her go and hope everything would be alright.
Claudia left, I wasn’t worried, I knew she was going to be fine, I knew she would be fine.
In her usual manner, she breezed through college, time went by with Claudia, as though some cosmic force was in a hurry to see her grow up. Don’t get me wrong, I was happy my baby was achieving things in leaps and bounds, but sometimes I just got worried, worried that everything was moving too fast.
After college she decided work for herself as an IT consultant, she might as well, because I never saw her as a nine to five woman anyway. She stayed with us, I mean there was no point in her living on her own, call me old fashioned, but I never saw it as a right thing for a single woman to live alone. Secretly, it was my own little way of keep both my girls as close to me as I possibly could.
She met him, while consulting for a firm here in town, and from the way she talked about him, I knew she was smitten. My little girl was finally in love, she had been in love lots of times, and she had fallen out of love as many times too, but there was something about this that was different. I could feel it, and even though I didn’t like it, I was happy for my baby.
Claudia and Ikenna got married after just a year of dating. He owned a small transport company, and was doing well for himself, he was a nice boy, nothing too extra-ordinary about him. He had only his mother, he had informed me his father passed away a few years before. I was against an early marriage, they were going too fast I thought, but my wife, and other family members, would not allow me slow things down, well I guess it was an African thing. I remember my wife saying “Be happy she has found someone who is responsible enough to marry her, you have a good daughter, so be grateful”, and after she said that, I let it all go, and gave my blessing.
A few months into the marriage, I began noticing changes in Claudia, I noticed she didn’t answer her calls like she used to, I mean I knew she was married now, and had other priorities, but eight out of ten times, her husband would answer her calls, and would tell me she would call back, and whenever she called back, her excuses always seemed rehearsed, and there was this forced cheerfulness about her now, I knew something was wrong.
I told my wife about it, and she dismissed it, she said I worried too much, and that I should give them space. I tried to give them space, but when Claudia came to visit one Sunday afternoon, I knew something was seriously wrong.
We just got back from church, and we met Claudia at the front door, she looked broken, her smile was tired. Her eyes were filled with fear and suspicion, this was not my Claudia, I tried hard to get her to tell me what was wrong, but she wouldn’t budge. At a point, she really got upset with me, told me to mind my business, and left the house, I was furious and immediately got on the phone with her husband Ikenna, and asked him to see me immediately.
He came over that evening, and I told him in very plain terms, that I didn’t like the way Claudia was looking when she came over earlier. His surprised look showed me he didn’t know she had been here, and he suddenly seemed very agitated, and while I proceeded to give him some fatherly advice, I noticed his fist clenching, he was really getting worked up, and so I stopped. I told him to take things easy, and no matter what problems there might seem to be now, they could both work it out.
He left, and I was troubled.
TO BE CONTINUED.
Arome Ameh (AKA The Priest)
Arome Ameh is a former Banker turned Screen Writer/Producer/Blogger. He has written/produced both True Life/Fictional Stories/documentaries Via his blog www.ameharome.WordPress.com and on TV/Youtube.