Chapter 9

As I am sitting down in a restaurant looking at a stranger with eyes just like mine, I don’t know what to say.

Or rather, where to start. Because boy oh boy, there are so many things I want to tell this man, but again, I am failing to connect with him.

That’s when I am I realizing that most of them don’t even matter because I did not come here to fight or ask questions, I came to meet my father and, if things go well, possibly form a connection with him.

I used to fall asleep on his lap back then, he would help me do my homework and help me prepare my presentations and projects.

We would be laughing nonstop while at it. It hurts so much that today we are sitting here looking at each other like strangers.

Back then, I knew without a doubt that he loved me more than his other two children that he got before he married my mother! I am not sure anymore.

I saw them at granny’s funeral and even got jealous of them. They were sitting next to him, with him in between. They really looked close and perfect.

“I’m so proud of you Amanda, I had always knew that you would grow up and be something. You really have done well for yourself. It hurts to know that I didn’t contribute a cent to your studies.

Knowing that I planned your life since you were young but in the end you suffered. I was a fool, I am sorry my child.” He says his eyes on his glass.

“It’s okay, it’s all in the past now Dad.” I say

“No, it’s not okay! You are only trying to make me feel better.”

“Yes, you hurt a little, innocent girl but I am not that little girl anymore. I take everything that happened as a lesson, I strongly believe that I had to go through what I went through in order to be a person that I am today. They say everything happens for a reason.”

I say, I choose my words wisely so that I don’t hurt him. I do my best not to judge and argue, instead, I respect his right to be the person he wants to be and do not hold him accountable for the past.

“That’s very wise. You are your mother’s photocopy, I didn’t know that you are also wise as her. I wouldn’t have been this successful if it wasn’t for her support.

Pity she didn’t live long to enjoy the fruits of her hard work. Hence, I was devastated when she passed away.” He sighs

“I’m sorry.” That’s all I can say

“I vowed to myself that I will take care of you. I don’t know what happened that night, I swear I regretted chasing you away the next day, my mom tried to speak some sense to me but I allowed my pride to take over.”

“Please dad, I didn’t come here to talk about what happened, let’s rather focus on the future and how are we going to build our relationship from here, if that’s what you want.” I say

“You are right.” He says and taps his fingers on the table… “I want you to come back home.” He says blinking. I open my mouth but says nothing, that’s not what I meant when I said we should build our relationship.

“Please think about it…” He quickly says.

“I think…” My phone beeps in front of me and I couldn’t hold my heart from jumping when I saw the name on the screen…

‘I know I said I will never bother you again, but I just saw you with your dad… do you mind if I come and say hello before you leave?’

“Gosh…” I say, I didn’t mean to say that loud.

“What is it? Is there someone bothering you? Is it Thulani?” Dad

“No dad, it’s the twins.” I say the first lie that comes to mind.

“How are they, are they troubling you? I wanted to ask you to allow me to spend time with them during school holidays. They are so adorable.”

“But I will be working, who will take care of them?”

“I divorced your stepmother, I know that’s what you are worried about, I live alone now with the help of the housekeepers. They will be safe with me.”

“You did what?”

“Oh please Amanda, we both know the kind of a person she was, I couldn’t get myself to forgive her after what she did to you. She had to go!” I sigh not knowing what to say…

“Now, can you allow my grandchildren to come and spend time with the old man?” I look at him and just nod.

“I also told that boy never to set his foot in my house again. I trusted him and treated him like my own son, what did he do in return?”

I shyly look down when he mentions Thulani’s name. My heart wants to see him right now, and it’s going to feel like I’m betraying my dad.

After a long chat dad decided to drive me to the hotel, it’s not that I am not ready to go home as I said to him.

I just want freedom so that if I decide to be brave enough to call Thulani over, it doesn’t become a problem.

My phone beeps as I lay in the bed. I chuckle like a teenager looking at my screen, I didn’t respond but sent him my location and room number. It shouldn’t take him ten minutes to get here.

I’m overwhelmed with nerves as I hear a soft knock on the door, I feel my chest go concave, like a vacuum sucking me into another dimension.

I can handle it, usually. It passes if I close my eyes, breathe.

The real difficulty is with my hands that are shaking. I slowly open the door and my eyes met with his, he’s leaning toward the door frame with his hands folded in his chest.

I swallow looking at him. He’s smiling at me, I knew this was going to be awkward. What should I do now?

“Aren’t you going to invite me in?” He ask as if he read my mind.

“Yeah sure, come in…” I say. I hope he doesn’t notice that I’m shaking. I turned away from his face and walked back inside.

I am feeling his eyes on me. What did I get myself into! Amanda! You like things! I tightly shut my eyes when I hear him clearing throat.

“A hug?” He ask…

“A hug, yes…” I say turning to his direction again… His hug is exactly what I need!

“Amanda… are you alright?” He whispers, I am not alright, my hands are shaking.

“It’s okay, I am not going to hurt you okay? Just… please just breath.” He says squeezing me while gently rubbing my back. “I can leave and come back later if that’s what you want…” He’s panicking.

I don’t want him to leave, how do I tell him? I slowly push him back and shove my sweaty palms deeply into my pockets.

This is the first time I have confronted my fear of physical touch. He’s staring at me and it’s making me weaker and weaker.


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