Monday, 21 September 2015


David’s heart missed several beats as his gaze fell upon Erica and her ‘stranger’ laying in Erica’s bed. Out of shock, he dropped the bag containing the food he had just picked up from Erica’s favourite restaurant onto the tiled floor. The noise startled Erica and her lover and they began to wake up from their love-making induced sleep. In the moment where he gazed upon his wife-to-be with another man, he did not know whether to take of his suit and clinch his fists to give the stranger a sound beating. “What if this man uncovers himself and I realise that he is a body-builder?”, David thought to himself. “I would receive the beating of my life”. He decided to take the laid back approach. “Where is my daughter?”, David barked at Erica as he tried to take a good look at the man he had just caught in bed with his future bride. At this moment, the stranger had jumped out of the bed trying to make for the door, it was during that tense moment that David realised that his supposed rival had a smaller body than himself and if they were to engage in a duel of fists, he was likely to land a few punches of his own; but he would not risk it because he heard it being said that ‘A man’s stature often spoke little about his strength and capabilities’. David marched towards the stranger’s direction but just before he got to the spot where the man was standing, he bent down and picked up baby Ellen from the floor, she was gracefully asleep on a bed made out of laid-out cloths and pillows made by her mother. He went into the hall with Ellen still sleeping in his arms to excuse the two adults to dress up and if possible explain their actions. From the period between picking baby Ellen from the room and walking into the hall, David had already decided on what to do. He patiently waited in the hall with baby Ellen till Erica and her stranger had dressed up and left the house. Upon Erica’s return, David’s raging anger which had plummeted considerably after seeing the unpardonable act involving Erica and her stranger tried to keep calm and looked at Erica in the most disgusted way imaginable. Erica, who was by then filled with inerasable guilt and shame tried to explain herself, “Dave…”. “Don’t!” David shot back at her to prevent her from saying anything to make the already unbearable situation any worse. “How could you, Erica?”. “How could you do such a thing in the presence of this baby?” “What morals are you trying to teach her?”, David said, almost in tears. “I don’t even want to hear the motive behind this very disgraceful act because it would not undo what has happened and it would not erase what I feel for you today and in the days that will follow”, David added. “David, please hear me out”, Erica pleaded. “What is there to say, Erica?” “How do you possibly intend explaining what I have just seen with my own eyes?”  “Are you trying to tease me?” “Do you think this is a game or something?”, David asked. “Let me ask you this, is this how you intend to behave if we should get married?” “If yes, then, young lady, I am disappointed in you”, David added. The shouts of David’s queries woke baby Ellen up and Erica stretched out her hands to take her from David so as to breastfeed her. David refused to give baby Ellen to Erica, “Get your hands off my daughter!”, David screamed. “David, I want her to sleep, moreover it is late and I can’t have her disturbing the whole house”. “Would you spend the night with us?”, Erica asked, looking at David as if she was about to fall off a cliff. “I hear you, but I would sleep on the couch, both of you can sleep in the room”, David said and handed baby Ellen who was already crying loudly over to her mother and they went into the room. Around 3:15 a.m, Erica opened her eyes to check up on her daughter to see if she was okay. Baby Ellen was not on the bed. An alarmed Erica looked to see if she had accidentally fallen off the bed but Ellen was not there. She quickly rushed to the hall to see if David had come for her. When she got there; both David and baby Ellen where nowhere to be found. She stepped outside to check if David had taken their daughter for a walk. She waited and waited but there was no sign of David. She went back into the room to see if David’s belongings were still there but to her amazement, none of David’s stuff was there. She went back into the room and looked into baby Ellen’s closet and she realized that a few of Ellen’s clothes and her record book for her post-natal attendance were missing. It was then that it dawned on Erica that David had ‘kidnapped’ their daughter. She picked her phone and dialled David’s number but there was no answer. Erica waited impatiently till the skies were clear enough to go out in search of David and Ellen. There were heavy bangs on David’s gate that morning. David, who was already dressed up for work met Erica at the gate, “What do you want now, Erica?”, David asked. “Don’t patronize me, Dave, give me back my daughter”, Erica said in tears. “You are a bad influence to her, Erica and I can’t let you have her till I am convinced that you are worthy of being a good mother and a role model, till then, I am sorry, you can’t have her”. Erica begged David but he refused to give baby Ellen back to her or tell her the baby’s whereabouts. David left Erica sobbing at his gate and went to work. When he got to work, he enquired if the paternity leave was still open. His boss reluctantly agreed to give him some time off due to the way he was treasured by the company. The night David took baby Ellen; he gave her to Fred’s mother to take care of her. He was sure that she was over-qualified to do a good job looking at the way she had raised her own four children. During the time that David spent at home, he made sure that Erica never found out that Ellen was with Fred’s mother. He allowed Erica to have occasional visits to see baby Ellen but never left the two of them together at any point in time for fear of Erica paying him in his own coin. David began a personal journey of being both mother and father to baby Ellen. He had to learn how to change her diapers when Fred’s mother was busy, he had to master how to put her to sleep and clean her when the weather was hot. The first time he managed to pull the diaper-changing exercise off, he felt on top of the world. At some points in time, he had to attend post-natal visits to the hospital with baby Ellen when she was some months old. Before he got to the hospital, he was already sweating because of Ellen’s weight. He had no idea of what to do even though he had received coaching from Fred’s mother. Many fresh mothers who were at the clinic could not help but laugh at the ‘amateur’ father as he tried to get baby Ellen into the weighing sack to be weighed. When it got to his turn to see the nurse, the nurse curiously enquired, “Where is Ellen’s mother”, looking at Ellen’s post-natal record book. “She has travelled”, David responded. That day, David was the toast and envy of the ‘fresh’ mothers at the clinic even though he had a hard time getting things done. One of the ‘fresh mother’s’ passed a remark, “Do you men see how we suffer now?” and everyone laughed. They considered it adorable for a father to bond so closely with his daughter in such a manner. David met Anita at the post-natal session. She assisted him to undress baby Ellen when she saw David struggling. She had brought her elder sister’s son to the clinic. David quickly struck an acquaintance with Anita and they became friends instantly. Soon, baby Ellen had grown into a beautiful little girl and was shy whenever her father called her ‘baby Ellen’. “Daddy, just call me ‘Ellen’”, she would often say. “I am not a baby anymore”, she occasionally added. David allowed Ellen to visit her mother over the weekends when she closed from school and returned on Sunday evening to prepare for school the next day. She seldom enjoyed the weekends with her mother because there were not enough books to read and there was also not enough space to play ‘hide and seek’ as there was in David’s house. Ellen had grown into a staunch reader of books and she took a particular liking to poetry. She always wanted to find ways of expressing her feelings in poetry. Ellen also took a special liking to Aunty Anita and at a point; she wished she was her mummy because she always brought her a present every time she visited her father at home. Anita was sweet and gracious just like Ellen’s mother. She was slender but slightly voluptuous. With the passing of the years, Fred had also completed his studies abroad and was working in the U.K. Occasionally; he sent David some money for Erica and the baby and took keen interest in the welfare of David and his family. On one of the occasions that Fred sent David money, David complained saying, “Freddie, you don’t need to do this all the time, I am working and these kind gestures of yours make me feel kind of irresponsible if you asked me”. “Come on, Dave, this is the least I can do from up here and don’t forget that we are brothers too”. “Your pain is my pain”, Fred added, in his slightly-acquired British accent. On one of the Fridays that Ellen had to visit her mother for the weekend, she had to stay on in school to finish her notes so she left the school a bit later than usual. On her way to her mother’s house, she met a middle-aged man who asked her to assist him with the bags he was carrying. Ellen willingly accepted to help the man since the bags were more than the man could carry. She innocently followed the man to his house and left the things at his door step as the man entered the room and turned to leave. The man then came out and called out after her to come back for some sweets. She refused the gift with the reason that she was not to take gifts from strangers. The man convinced her and told her that he was no stranger but had been seeing her every Friday walking down the road. She felt comfortable and returned to pick the sweets from the stranger. Immediately she got to the door, the man received a phone call and went into the room beckoning Ellen to follow him. She knocked and entered the room, and like a flash, another man rushed into the room and locked the door behind him. Ellen had fallen into the hands of the neighbourhood’s most wanted paedophile gang. Before she could scream for help, the man who had just entered the room gaged her… ELLEN IS IN TROUBLE….WHAT WILL BE HER FATE?  THE ANSWER WILL BE IN THE NEXT EPISODE. MY NAME IS EDWIN OKO LAMPTEY AND THIS IS ANOTHER RANDOM AFRICAN THOUGHT © PIECE (R.A.T PRODUCTIONS) MORE AT

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