High School starts and I am not nervous at all, excited yes, and one of the very few that was initiated. I get into a fight within the first 6 weeks of my high school career, because a girl who called a friend of mine a “slut.” I did not need any fuel to light that fire; I was a tomboy for as long as I can remember. No challenge fazed me when it came to fighting, body build, boy or girl, it really did not matter.
Not thinking further than the actual event, we get called to the principal’s office. I’m given an ultimatum, either my parents come to school or I get expelled.
Praying that they do not call my parents, they did exactly the opposite.
My dad lets me simmer in his obvious disappointment for 2 days, me thinking to myself, “oh God am I ever going back to school?”
Two days later, he goes to school, gets me out of trouble and decides to not speak to me for 6 months.
Have you ever given someone the silent treatment? It practically drives them insane, I was afraid, that me disappointing him again was digging a deeper hole of regret for him.
Eight months later, my grandfather and his wife invite my brothers and me to join them for a trip to Robertson. Excited I pack my bags the night before and the morning of our departure my dad says to me, “and no short skirts”……I think to myself “really? I’m fourteen”, but I just giggle his comment off.
He comes to before he leaves for work and he says to me,
“I LOVE YOU MORE THAN THE GRAINS OF SAND IN THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE AND I WILL FOREVER LOVE YOU MORE THAN ALL THE STARS IN THE ENTIRE GALAXY”.
Shocked I look at him and immediately gave him a hug. He never said goodbye, but I almost felt as if that was his goodbye.
Eventually we get to Robertson. That Saturday morning, 13th September 1997, we woke up early, walked to the shop with my cousins and experienced the most disgusting thing, a whole lot of frogs jumping around in the road. It was as if God sent a plague of frogs my way, a sign of terror. I am afraid of a moth; could you even imagine how terrified I was of the frogs?
And then that moment hit me. I go into complete mannequin mode, I stand in the middle of the road in complete silence for about 3 – 5 minutes, I snap out of it and I start sobbing like a baby. It felt as if I left earth for that time and came back. And no, I was not abducted by aliens.
My cousins and brothers console me; we try and walk at fast as we can to get home. By that time, so much time passed and it was already around 6pm or just after in the evening.
We get to my grandfather, he is on the phone, he sees my face and his facial expression was worrying, but I did not ask anything. He puts down the phone, says we need to leave immediately and I am afraid to ask why, not because I thought he might reprimand me but because I was afraid of the response I might get, as if I knew it was not good news.
We leave Robertson, arrive in Highbury, 5 Select Crescent, our family home, and I see all the cars on our lawn and I burst into tears not being able to utter a word.
We get to the door, I enter, I see the look of sorrow on everyone’s faces and I burst into tears once more.
My aunts take me to my parent’s room, where my mom sits sobbing like a baby. Just as I position myself to sit down, my mom’s eldest sisters words hit like a locked-jaw dog ripping my heart apart, “Your dad died”. Those cold, uncompassionate words struck like my dad’s silent treatment.
I thought to myself, “I knew it, he left me; that was his goodbye, he left me” and I could not control my hurt anymore.
My dad passed away when I was 14. I was the eldest so I always felt that I cannot fail him and tried to keep my family afloat by taking care of my brothers. I felt like it was my responsibility now because he was no longer there.