It is raining outside nevertheless the sun is high up above, golden and round. I can hear the kids downstairs singing-
“It is raining, sunshine is shinning. There is a boil for the tortoise anus”.
I am in father’s study. A room loaded with books, quiet and grave with knowledge. There are many paintings about the wall, a wooden desk in a corner, a fluorescent bulb lighting the area a little. This is not where I read, this may not be where I write, this is why I cry.
But this is when father writes, this is when father had written for 25 year, this is why he had been writing since mother left. This is also where he foretells himself a whole lot. I sometimes listen on the door, my seven year-old feet raised a bit. His words are always incomprehensible. And whenever I looked throughout the keyhole, I see him smiling into space. Father has plenty of literary actively works to his credit, plenty of awards that was included with shiny prizes. Mother had once called him “a rich old writer who spoke with himself lots” in the feat of mild irritation. But I had never understood why mother left. So I remained with father, his books with his fantastic brown ceramic mug I served him coffee with each morning.
Father didn’t care much about his wealth- his lands in Isolo, Ikeja and Oshodi. His fleet of cars, his numerous accounts bulky with naira notes. Years after mother left, he previously had written more frequently, staying a long time in his study and I had worried he didn’t get enough rest nor food nor outside.
But I had lived the affluent life, the amount of money enabled life, smiling through education with no trouble, obtaining a job at the company on and on on vacations any time they want. And one evening, I had returned determined father within his study, bent over his books, lifeless. His morning coffee now cold and black and I had known I would forever hate coffee. But I hadn’t noticed the tears roll down my eyes, the slimy catarrh slip past my nostrils over my mouth. I had walked out towards the verandah and considered the streets, on the people that have for many years explored to this mansion father had built-in admiration. I had cried for the verandah and permit the world see my tears.
It is four years since father died but I still return from work and look his study. I still listen in the door to listen to his soliloquy if everything is silent, I walk in, shut the entrance, sit with a corner and cry.
So with this sunny-rainy afternoon, while your children sing downstairs, I sit within a corner of the area, around the bare floor contemplating father, about how precisely strangers would imagine gaming; it can be natural for anyone to feel jealous from the rich, to visualize the life with the rich, their choices- the things they like and what they have to dislike. To feel uncertain whenever they use the toilet or otherwise not. But people never picture the rich have emotions, that their emotions might be expressed through tears. That they could cry. That they do cry.