This conversation never gets out of her head.“At the altar you vowed to love me in sickness and in health.” “Those words I will forever regret. I was blinded by your beauty. I am sorry Stella, this is the end of the road. It is not too late for us to find love.”“How does your unused brain prefer we call what we have?” Silence was the reply, and since that morning when her dad banged the door on his way out of their lives, she had learned to find contentment in the adversities of life.

It is Saturday evening. She is sitted in the verandah of their two-bedroom house. The atmosphere tranquil and the setting sun’s rays soft. Tracey had travelled home to visit her mother. They had had a late lunch together, reminisced and shared heartily laughter. Now she was alone in the porch while Stella, her mother, was in the garden behind the house plucking bonga for supper.

As she sprawls idle on the tiled floor, her mind wandered off to the day her dad left home. They had just moved to this house a fortnight earlier. The finishing phase had not been completed. In the months thereafter, the rough floor of concrete slab filled the house with cement dust. The windows had not been made, in their places were iron sheets from the mad-house roof they had moved from. “Make sure you sprinkle water on the walls and the floors.” Her dad would instruct her and her mom every morning before he disappeared into the world.

Her dad’s voice was in most situations loud and filled with irritation. Her reply to everything he demanded of her was meekly, “Yes dad.” Something she had learned from her mother. Sometimes she thought she saw resentments in his eyes. She almost went insane trying to figure out what she, a seventeen-year-old then, could have possibly done to inspire such loath in her dad. Without any warning, one morning things blew up.

“How does your unused brain prefer we call what we have?” This was the first time his wife had dared question his apathy towards them. Tracey who was in the kitchen preparing breakfast at the time her parents decided to verbalize the opinions they had forever bottled up, almost dropped a plate when the question was asked. Her father’s face became expressionless. His eyes became darker, the antipathies deepened. Her mom was shaken, a little bit. Maybe the indifference in their relation was deeply rooted to be questioned. Silence haunted the house. She didn’t back down. Her dad had stood from the seat, looked at Stella. He waited. Maybe for an apology? None was offered. He walked away and that was the last time they ever heard from him.

She thought of her father with profound calmness. His absence had made life worse, but in the grand scale of things, when life started to shape up, she had concluded that his presence had been insignificant anyway. She had forgiven herself for staying up late waiting for him to come home. She had forgiven herself for thinking that she was the reason her parents separated. Her dad had left, her mom had stayed and took care of her. Her mother had taught her everything she now knows. They had been through difficult situations. She felt grateful.

“What’s the beautiful thought in your head?” Her mother’s voice interrupted. 'You.' She replied in her head.“Eeeh! Someone I am grateful of.” She said loud and looked away. Stella giggled. Her mother understood.  She knew how verbal expression of emotion makes Tracey uneasy.


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