Memories of My Father

My father calls me in and i am five years old. He places me infront of him, in the living room of our old house in Sinza and stares me dead in the face. My mother is busy being a mother in the house and my younger sister might be getting fed or bathed. Our house help is busying herself in the living room, probably looking for gossip, or my tears so she can tease me later when putting me to bed.

My father, staring me dead in the face, asks me what happened. And i am too young to know the words that mean bullying, i am too young to know how to tell him how the girl next door, that i think is my friend treats me. So i say, “we were just playing”.

But he watches, sees and knows. That night he takes my small hands, balls them into little fists and says, “if anyone ever hits you, hit them back as hard as you can”. He lets go of my hands, and maybe he hugs me, maybe he tells me that he loves me and sends me to my mother, maybe he just says nothing after that and there is silence. I do not remember.

But i remember strength, i remember courage. I remember fighting. I do realise now, as i this, that somewhere along the way, i forgot how to ball my hands into fists.

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