He was tall, as tall as I can remember. He was handsome, as handsome as I can remember. He always laughed at how fat I am and he would always expect me to laugh but I would always wear a smile, not a big one that showed teeth, just a small lift at the corners of my mouth. I was always armed with millions of smiles around him. Apologetic smiles, pity-me smiles, I-look-unto-God smiles- name all the fake smiles needed to get through a day with him making fun of my weight.
The only surprise I get to have on myself is that I love him nonetheless. I love the way his lips curves when he smiles, I love the way he calls my name, I love his face when he shouts at me, I also love the way he makes fun of my weight but I always feigned annoyance because one should not laugh when being bodyshamed.
“Stay with me,” I begged him the day he left. The day he decided to leave and never to come back. “Obinna, I love you,” his face said. His face, a sagging version of the one I remember. The words his face spoke crept and clung undetected to my body just like a soldier ant’s sting would. His words took up so much space in the room and it was hard for me to breathe. I couldn’t speak, though my throat was clogged with words, clogged with emotions that paralysed my vocal cord. I had small eyes that swam in a pool of stagnant tears that refused to fall. It was until I realised that he’d already left before I begged him to stay with me, that I let out a scream that punched holes into the silent night. Loneliness wrapped itself around me like a shroud and shattered me into a million tiny pieces.
Today, I hug his words close to me. They fill my arms and comfort me. I swallow my memories like an oversized bitter pill. I close my eyes but tears forces its way past my eyelid. ‘I still love him,’ I say to myself. I didn’t say it to believe it. I know it as a fact, I still love him. The sun rose in the east, four plus four equalled eight, I still love him.
He is my father and he is dead.
I am Ochiabutor Munachimso, a second year law student. My works have been published in few magazines including the observers newspaper, Nwokike journal, the barristers magazine, etc.