I know how much you love reading and writing long, well-written letters, so I hope you enjoy this one. I can vouch for the length but not for how well it’s written, so please bear with me.
Here are the quick updates.
Mom misses you; her mode of expression is a bit off (you know how she likes to shout). She’s lonely but won’t admit it, and we, the children, are not doing much to help that, sorry. She watches a lot of television when she’s awake and asleep. She always needs the television for background noise and leaves it on through the night.
Uncle K couldn’t make it for my Call to Bar ceremony last year, and she started crying; I know she was crying because she wished you were here. I did not tell her sorry; I just faced the television and ate my dodo. She stopped crying soon after and invited a bunch of strange people to the Call to Bar dinner.
When I get her in the mood, she tells me long stories about how you met. You told her you wanted to come to her house to see her, and she told you she was a “sisi olomo”, and you said, “se wo o ki n ma ki sisi olomo nile ni?”. She told me about how you lived together for almost ten years before you officially got married. I heard stories about grandma, your mother and how she spent all her money sending you to school only for her to die one month after you got your first job. I try to imagine how you felt; I’m sorry. She tells me all the good stories; I think she’s trying to drown out all the bad ones.
Sister T got married this year, so that was a big deal. Mummy pulled all the stops, and we might end up in debt, but it was a great party. Everyone was so happy; Mummy looked like she was floating in the hall. Sister T was so excited to leave mummy alone, so she just conceded to all her wedding demands. You would have loved the party; in fact, it was your name that was on the invitation cards, not even aunty T’s dad.
Sister I misses you too. She misses you the most, but she never talks about it. She never talks about anything because she only used to talk to you. She really lost it when you left us, but she’s better now. She’s fine, and she has a boyfriend.
All her shoes that got burnt in that fire have been replaced, so don’t feel too bad. Mummy hates that she doesn’t confide in her the way she used to do to you. She has tried all the methods, scolding, shouting and even being nice, but I think she has come to understand that it’s good enough that she’s still in the house, so she takes what she can get.
Regarding JJ, I worry about him a lot; I don’t think you realise how badly you and mummy ruined his childhood and the extent of the damage caused. I know he is hurt somewhere, and that’s on you. He never talks about you, but he keeps mementoes of you that he finds in his wardrobe.
I hate that I have to mend up the pieces of a growing teenage boy, especially when I don’t know how it is doing him exactly, but it’s okay; this is what you have left me to work with. Mummy gets frustrated with him because he doesn’t take her nonsense; I try not to interfere, but you know I am always on his side.
He’s terrific at mathematics, just like you, and wants to go to MIT. Unfortunately, we can’t afford it, but I told him that with all A’s in his WAEC and a killer SAT score, the sky is the limit. He is growing so fast, I bought him a pair of shoes recently, and I had to get him a size 44; that’s how big he is now. I hope they let you see him sometimes, but if they don’t, know that he’s so tall now, handsome, and skinny, but he has your ugly fingernails; thank God I dodged that bullet.
I miss you. I am so sorry I barely spoke to you that year. I was so mad, and deep down, I always hoped we would settle it all, but then you decided to check out early. I graduated from University and got called to the Bar last year. I wished you were there. I work with an excellent law firm now, but I am almost always tired. I struggle with being happy, so I read a lot, drink wine, and hang on to your coin set when it gets dark.
I always remember you. The best parts: the man who taught me to read; weekend shopping for Lantern books; you buying me all Francine Rivers and Karen Kingsbury books and those motivational books that I hated (I read them sometimes now). I remember the man who would drive down to Ado-Ekiti just because I missed home. Travelling out of the country on foot to Cotonou through that border at Sango-Otta, my first trip “abroad” just because we were bored. On the trips to Abeokuta, Badagry, Ghana, England, Ibadan, you just wanted us to see everything. When you used to call me your princess, you never hesitated to tell me I looked beautiful. The man who had books on everything, who knew the answer to everything. My Father, the man who would have done anything and everything for his children.
I remember the worst parts; the drinking, the other women, and how you dealt with mum. I hated that side of you (yes, I know hate is a big word). When things got terrible, and you tried not to look sad for us, what a front. I always hoped we’ll talk about it; the fire made us move in with mom; that was a bad year; I always wondered if you missed us.
The man who used to send me long letters randomly, a newspaper, three thousand Naira and a Five alive and drop it incognito at the Student Affairs office in BMJS. So, to retaliate, I am sending you this letter to let you know that I have not forgotten how great you are; I have not gotten over it (I’m trying). Also, to give you a general update on our current life. Sorry, there’s nothing much about your fourth daughter, she’s in school, and I don’t know what’s going on there, maybe next time?
We are starting to forget, so sometimes I try to write about you and put my memories about you in short capsules. Still, I never finish because I begin to cry mid-way, but I will complete this letter, and I will send you another one next year and the year after. So I never forget, and no one forgets.
I miss you so much.
Your darling daughter,
Quick Update: We moved back to your house, mummy refurbished it and everything.