It was impossible to not see it coming. At the age of ten I was able to see it. The storm cloud that hung over my home before the dissolution of my parents marriage was thick, heavy and full of inconvenience. The majority of my classmates in elementary and middle school had parents who were happily married, or at least that’s what was evident. During those times I received comfort when the parents of my friends argued and pain when they were affectionate. I wanted every outside relationship to mimic exactly what I was dealing with.
A decade had passed since I’d seen my father. I was a freshman in college when we last occupied the same space. Now, ten years later, he tapped my shoulder in the house that no longer belonged to him.
He looked younger than I remembered, sort of rejuvenated in a way. “What was he doing now that was different from the past? Was it the way he dressed?” I asked myself. My dad wore a shirt that bore no wrinkles and pants that had seams as sharp as knives. On the right side of his blue shirt was a man with a mallet on a horse. Wearing brand name clothes was something my father never cared for. I was looking at a changed man. An individual, who mirrored my father, but was different in many ways. This man wasn’t the father that I knew growing up.
“Long time no see young man. I didn’t know you were planning to come back,” my father said with a bizarre smirk on his face. “Yeah…uh, this trip was unexpected,” I said, still unable to comprehend the moment. The background noise flowing through the house disappeared and I no longer had to yell. I cleared my voice and asked my father a simple, safe question. “How have you been dad.”
The two of us talked about everything in that quiet corner of the house against the wall. We both loved basketball and debated about the Miami Heat and their back-to-back championships. One thing my father and I agreed upon was our dislike for Lebron James. “Michael Jordan and Kobe Byrant would never team up with the guys their trying to beat,” my father said with a disappointed expression. “I just hope he doesn’t get a third ring,” I said while shaking my head.
My father tried to condense 10 years of inactivity within a single moment. He inquired about my past relationships and why they didn’t work out. “What ever happened to Michelle? I liked her” my father said. What frustrated me most about these moments was how they never seemed to transition. “Dad, Michelle and I broke up a long time ago,” I said to my father in a dispirited voice.
The plate of food I prepared was no longer in my hands. It now rested peacefully on the bookshelf to my right. Periodically, a few houseflies would buzz around the macaroni and cheese. Those annoying insects were probably looking for the perfect spot the lay eggs.
Old feelings that I felt when my life was filled with limited responsibility began to return. Standing next to my father in the old house was nice. “Who are all these people, dad? I don’t know them, but for some bizarre reason they know me.” I explained. My father turned around and took a quick surveillance of the room. “These are just friends of friends. You know, acquaintances. Even I don’t know who most of these people are,” he laughed.
My mind felt like it needed to be stretched. I wanted to proceed further and grasp a better understanding of what was happening around me, but a great deal of things still needed to be established.
“Have you seen your sister?” my father slowly asked. For some reason I needed my father to repeat what he said. I heard his question, but was unable to comprehend the meaning. If he was here and Jumoke, too, then there was a chance that my entire family was also. “Have you seen your sister?” he repeated. “She is around here somewhere.” “Jumoke is here?” I asked with a revitalized spirit. “Yeah, I saw her earlier.” I immediately pushed myself from against the wall and stood up straight. I carefully scanned the room and paused at each person. I inspected every detail that had the possibility of matching some semblance of my sister. “Are you sure you saw her?” I asked my father in a tone of voice that implied he didn’t know his own daughter. “Yes, I am sure.” he said.
The dinning room was full of people and if I was going to find my sister, it wasn’t going to be from this spot. I looked at my dad and told him that I would be back. He nodded his head and said,” I’ll be right here. I’m not going anywhere.”
If he had really seen my sister then I needed to of find her.