You were never my first choice for the person to walk me down the aisle. Because sure as I was at the age of 6 that I will get married, equally was I that you wouldn’t be there. Because see I knew the way a revolving door worked before my first comprehensive mall trip. The same way you come in will be the way you leave. Some will not want to touch the door as it moves, silently leaving and the only sign that they were there will be the footprint left on the carpet and the recorded turn.
However, some will place their dirty hands on the mirror. Want to see the marks their grubby hands make on the screen as if the door needed assistance. After having collected all the souvenirs from the gift shop they will leave without paying. Plastic bags filled with memories of laughter and free therapy sessions. They would have come to the till claiming to exchange hatred they bought and wanting to exchange it for love. Confused because you don’t sell hatred, you will try help them see that. Yet now they’ve left with this bag full of love, and now you have boxes of hate that you can’t even sell.
Daddy why did you leave me with stock I can’t sell or return? Why did you agree on a name that would have me selling love for the rest of my life? No off hours, and the shop never closes. I’ve been running this store for so long with no assistance. And the owner just keeps restocking the shelves with forgiveness, peace, and love, but sometimes I don’t want to open shop.
Daddy, why did you force me to choose between my siblings and peace. Fruit of your loins, you treated me like a bastard child, how bizarre. Made me confused and pitted sisters against each other; had us carrying our mothers’ pain when you were the one that stepped out. Had me feeling like a step-child in a family with the same 50% as me. You stepped out then and made me, then you stepped out on me. “How you get them, is how you’ll lose them” I guess. But it shouldn’t be like that with your own father – I wasn’t there.
You wanted me so badly you considered theft. Tried to steal me from warm loving arms, only to have me wrapped in barbed wire, yet you swore up and down that you loved me. A few years later you called me a burden. How was I burden when the only thing you did was pay for half of my education, occasionally throw money my way, manipulated alternating weekends of forced vacations; and even then it didn’t last.
But you see even when I feared you, I loved you. I was a textbook daddy’s girl, ripping out pages from your book and sticking them in mine. Studying your syllabus so I could graduate cum laude in the school of Sokotshane. Yet you failed me before I could even get in the venue. I still wrote the exam by the way. And I passed it top 10 in my class. You never acknowledged it. You never even looked at my marks. It didn’t matter to you, because I could never pass the section you valued most: blind obedience.
Daddy, why don’t you love me? Why don’t you want me? Why won’t you see me? I thought I was your right hand. But when you amputated me off, performed your own surgery, you didn’t use anesthesia and you forgot to sterilize your equipment so now I’m infected. Carrying all this unnecessary pain, and bleeding all over well-meaning souls.
But you know what daddy? You aren’t my daddy anymore. You gave up that title when you dumped me. When you made me pay for sins I never committed as if this were the second crucifixion. However, today I forgive myself, for feeling like I had to apologize to everybody I met. For having to walk into every room shame first.
Thando, I’m sorry that you had to forgive people who weren’t sorry. That you had to put in extra hours at a job you never even applied for let alone actually remember getting, an unsolicited recommendation. I’m sorry that you had to tear down bricks to a house you never built or asked to live in. This house with moulding wallpaper and cracks in the walls. That you got used to feeding off of scraps and leftover emotions, and for the rats that sleep at the foot of your bed too. I’m sorry that you spent so many years not knowing how to fix the gapping holes that the rocks left in your windows, to the point where you had to get used to shivers caused by the icy draft. The unhinged doors of your psyche waiting to collapse into you at the slightest breeze.
I’m sorry you had to heal cuts and wounds – bleeding under your skin – that you never created, asked for or even remember getting. I’m forgiving myself for the pain that you caused me, that I allowed to fester.