THE SCARS THAT REFUSE TO HEAL (Fiction)
Written by Adebesin Ibraheem
The saddest day of my life was the Thursday night my Dad passed away! It would remain an indelible experience. Before that Thursday, however, I had had another ‘saddest day of my life’; another Thursday, three years earlier, when my paternal grandmother kicked the bucket. Death snatched her away at the age of 84. Grandma and I were devotedly intimate.
She treasured me like I was some crucial part of her body! The feeling was mutual – I would fall sick if I didn’t speak with grandma for a stretch of five days. So, her demise hurt me more than a bee sting would and the shock lingered for two months – the protracted denial, the sudden outburst, the secret and silent blasphemies, the introversion, etc. Dad’s staunch support gradually helped the pains ease.
My situation provided him the opportunity to refine his sense of humour; to become incredibly funnier. His jokes would tickle tears out of me, so much that the stubborn pains haunting me started becoming jealous and easing too. Mum was my other shock absorber but Dad was simply terrific!
My Dad had always been my idol – the best thing that ever happened to me. Aside from being his incredible lookalike, I took too much from him – the weird intelligence, the sense of humour, the soft-spoken outlook, the shrewdness, etc. So, his passing was worse for me, more haunting than my previous loss. I still remember that evening, the night that my day became a night; the night that my knight in shining armor and my light exited the stage of vain struggle.
He returned from work around 10pm and met my brother and me watching T.V. Because it was unusual of us to stay up that late watching T.V, he asked, as he stepped into the room, smiling as he always did.
“My treasures done with the exams?”
Dave and I turned towards the ever-charming gentle voice and chorused “Yes, daddy”.
“You thrashed all your papers as usual?” He always wanted that assurance, even though he knew Dave and I had always had unblemished academic records. We smiled and nodded in affirmation.
He came towards us and dropped a kiss on each of our foreheads – the last of the precious gifts we were to get from him.
“I wish you the best of luck. I’ll see you tomorrow morning. Go to bed soon.”
He was so fond of us. I was his only daughter. Dave was his only son. Mum was his only wife. We were his only treasures, treasured above every other thing he treasured. He would constantly say all those, spiced with different stirring endearments. My eyes followed him as he sauntered towards his room.
It’s already midnight then, and I was just falling asleep on my bed when Mum’s scream pierced my ears. I jumped out of my bed and ran to my brother’s room. Dave was asleep already. He was such a heavy sleeper! After I jerked and beat him repeatedly and shouted his name, he woke up and we started running towards Mum’s room; but the noise was coming from our Dad’s, so we turned to his room. As we entered the room, we met him lying flat on the shining marble floor. Mum was crying on the phone, talking to somebody. Dave and I rushed towards the body on the floor and we jerked it, shouting,
“Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!” But he was gone! How? Why? How did this happen? Why would daddy leave so suddenly? Didn’t he just say he would see us the next morning?
Two weeks before his death, he had got promoted at his workplace, after having worked there for fifteen years. He just became the general manager. Then, Mum, Dave, and I, with some of Mum’s siblings were planning a surprise 58th birthday party for him. His passing triggered another episode of trauma for me. While Mum and Dave seemed to bounce back rather quickly, after some months, I was stuck in the anguish.
I felt angry with Dad for dying, and I was also angry with God for killing him. I felt angry with myself too, because I couldn’t hug him the night he last smiled at me; because I couldn’t rescue him from the cruel hands of death. Why do people have to die? Why can’t we all live forever till the end of time? It’s been ten years since that ugly experience and the scars have refused to heal totally. The suicidal thoughts, the louder blasphemies, and the many nights of weeping endlessly have all ceased but the philophobia has refused to leave.
Written by Adebesin Ibraheem
English & Literature Educator/Contents Writer
Adebesin Ibraheem studied English (B.A., M.A.) and he’s an excellent educator (P.G.D.E, I.G.C.S.E.) with over 15 years’ teaching experience. His areas of specialization include Creative Writing, Grammar, Oral English (Diction), Literature, Reading & Listening Comprehension, Vocabulary & Spelling, English as a First Language (EFL) and English as a Second Language (ESL), etc. He’s a prolific writer (of poems, short stories, critical essays, etc.) and his first published work, ‘The University of Life’ was recommended for use in all secondary schools in Lagos, by the Lagos State Government, in 2011.
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