Dial Episode 29 is running…
What was the essence of life? What was solid form and constants, and what was just a vexation of soul and fractious nonentity? More importantly, what was sanity, and what was insanity? Wasn’t there a state of sanity that was, in a crude sort of way, insanity in itself? Why did some fall in love so fiercely with just a single person, when others just couldn’t stand being with one person?
Perspectives and angles, a forever-changing séance of the perfect imperfection.
I entered my mansion late in the evening, and as I crossed to the kitchen, I realized that the terror was gone. The breathless anxiety was gone, the faintness, the hollowed-out madness…it was all gone.
This was the inevitable. Death had found me sooner than I had expected. The transition from one state of living to the next had been as swift as it had been unexpected. One moment my whole existence had been based on making millions, and sleeping with tens of girls. Nothing else had mattered. My life was crystal clear and defined, filled with hours of fun.
I had been ushered into a form of existence where forces of the natural had played sensuous embraces with the supernatural, where a man’s normal rate of growth could be superimposed with the invisible evil forces that induced his genes to age more rapidly than programmed.
Suddenly, I was staring death in the face, and all the wealth I had accumulated could not help me. What could I do? I couldn’t go to the police and complain about Nana Bosomba making me grow old prematurely, no. I would either be rushed into an asylum, or ridiculed publicly as just another rich man reaping the results of ill-gotten wealth.
Without a doubt, I was helpless in a web finely woven by the grieving father of a girl I had slept with, and who had sadly committed suicide.
Death was coming.
It scared the living bejesus out of me, yes, but I was calm now.
The inevitable was always inevitable.
I went to my huge study, sat down behind my huge desk, and began making calls. I called Kwasi, my associate, and began making arrangements with him. And then I let him summon some key players on the various boards of my companies, and we had a long meeting. I told them I was taking a short holiday, and assigned them to various overseer positions and several delegated authorities.
After the meeting, I was very tired, but I knew I had to call my lawyer.
The crux of the matter was that, even if I wanted to make a Will, who would it go to? I had no one. I didn’t love anyone, and I had no kids! My mother? I detested my mother to the high seas. I had no friends.
It got to me, that point when I wanted to call my lawyer to make a Will, and realized that the best I could do was distribute my wealth to charities and child institutions.
I was alone in the world.
I left my study finally close to midnight, and then I entered the kitchen. Suddenly, I was ravenously hungry. I had not eaten the whole day and the hunger was fierce now.
I broke about ten eggs, mixed them with corned-beef, sardines, slices of sweet pepper and onions. Slices of bread went into the toaster as I fried the egg mixture. Taking a box of non-alcoholic paper drink, I mowed down the scrambled egg concoction with the toast bread and drink.
My stomach was filled to bursting by the time I finished eating.
I went to the bathroom and took a long shower, and then I came back to my room, naked. I took down a small cross-shoulder duffel bag and packed a couple of clothes into it. Next, I went to my elaborate safe, opened it up with the combination, and then packed some crisp bundles of fifty cedi notes into the inner pockets of the duffel bag.
I took deep breaths as I dressed slowly in black jeans, black polo T-shirt, white-soled black sneakers and then I stayed still for a long time in the centre of my gigantic bedroom.
What I had to do next was depressing and brought severe pain, but I knew I had to do it. No way around it. I walked out with the duffel bag, and then paused just outside the door. Slowly, I dropped the duffel on the floor and walked to my father’s door.
I held the handle, took a deep breath, and slowly opened it.
I entered the dark room, and stopped suddenly. The musky scent of the room wafted through my nostrils, and although I had not been in this room for more than a year, I still smelled his strong fragrance.
For a moment I couldn’t breathe, and I felt goose bumps all over my arms as I remained motionless in the oppressive darkness. For a moment – a very brief moment – I could have sworn I felt him, strong and bold as ever, but then the feeling left as suddenly as it had come.
I didn’t switch on the lights, though. It seemed to me that switching on the lights would break that deep darkness around me, and ruin that feeling of having him with me.
Here, right in this room, we had had some of our strongest and passionate moments. He had been my father, but he had been more of a senior brother to me. We had eaten, laughed, fought, planned, farted and lived in utter bliss right in this room.
My father, my brother, my all. Mentor, beloved friend, cherished critic…all.
“Pappy, I miss you to my very soul!” I whispered in the darkness, and then the tears fell down my eyes slowly.
I reached out my hands, just like I always did when I needed support through a difficult time. From my infancy to my adulthood he would always be at the other side, just opposite me, and he would reach out, and take my hands. His strong calloused hands, a real man’s hands, and he would hold mine gently, and then he would say:
“Hey, Sonny, I got you covered.”
But this night, in this darkness, no hands touched mine, no deep voice spoke.
He was gone. My Pappy was gone.
“Oh, Pappy!” I whispered tremulously. “Sonny needs you. I need your love. I need your strength…but, most importantly, I just need my father back, oh Lord!”
My heart broke at that moment, I guess.
My legs shook, and I sank slowly to my knees, just like I always did, and his hands would still be holding mine – his strong, calloused man’s hands – and I would lean my face against him, and then he would place his hands around my shoulders, and right there and then his love would give me strength.
But, tonight, in the darkness, he wasn’t there. I held nothing, and I saw nothing…and yet I knew, somehow, that he was around in here somewhere.
“Life has not been really good without you, Pappy!” I whispered, still on my knees, my tears hot on my cheeks. “I mean, we never really had anybody. It was you and me, yeah, the baddest musketeers against the czar. I listened to you, you know. I’ve never trusted anybody! I was scared those girls were going to hurt me, and I did what you always said, Pappy.
I followed the Heart Code, Pappy. Better to be loved, than to love! I didn’t allow any girl around my heart, no. But I met a girl, Pappy, who just wouldn’t let me use the Code. Dede, yeah. I guess you saw her around, but I messed up. I messed up big time, Pappy! You see, I never could love her properly, or any of them…because I don’t know what love really is! I screwed them before they screwed me, like you always said, and I slammed them down on a damn list, to let them know who the boss is!”
My fists sank slowly into the floor of his bedroom as the pain ripped through my heart.
“I know you know what went down, Pappy,” I continued softly. “I guess, in teaching me to be a man, I lost my heart somewhere along the line. Even that girl I thought I loved, Dede…I haven’t thought about her the whole day. Seems to me that in making me a man, you turned my heart to stone, Pappy.
This man from Wowo, he wanted me to feel remorse for screwing up those girls, yeah. But how could I feel remorse when I don’t have a heart, Pappy? Women are the enemy, remember? You told me that, drummed it into me! They would lie with those soft lips and those voluptuous bodies, take the best part of me and then spit me out like a used sanitary pad, yeah!
I saw what you went through! I’ve tried to feel sorry for my actions, Pappy, but I couldn’t! I don’t give one hoot about what I did to those girls because love is always conditional, just as you taught me! It was them, or me! But that’s something the Wowo bastard doesn’t understand, I guess.”
I sat down on the floor of my father’s room, and then I felt the cold wind on my face, as if something cold had drafted across my face. Just for a moment – a very brief moment – I thought I heard a faint passing of wind, like a whisper, but it was gone as quickly as I felt it.
“He cursed me, Pappy!” I continued slowly. “Said I’m going to grow old with more experience and die of old age. Bollocks! He doesn’t know sh*t! Who needs a bloody heart when a heart could be broken, Pappy? Unconditional love is a piece of fart, yeah, just like you said! Those girls, given half a chance, would’ve rather taken my money and flushed me down the toilet, asshole biyaaatches! But yes, that man didn’t understand, because his daughter died. And now I’m going to die, Pappy.”
I fell silent for a long time as the pain lodged in my throat, and the tears reduced to a trickle. I took a shuddering breath.
“I’ve never known happiness since you left, Pappy,” I whispered. “Make money, drink booze, skank girls…but no happiness. So, it’s okay if I’m going to die. I mean, it’ll bring me where you are, and we’ll be together again, and so I’m not scared now. Yeah, I will be with my Pappy, and I wouldn’t have to fear no sh*t from any Wowo shit*y bastard ’cause my Pappy always got me covered!
I miss you so, so, so much, my father! My life is messed up, I have no father, I have no friend. I am all alone in this empty space. I miss you so much that it is killing me. Pappy, I messed up, it seems, yes…but I did what you always said I should do…I lived free, and I lived on my own terms. I stuck out my chest, and I didn’t let no man push me over, and I sure as hell didn’t let no girl wretch up this heart.
And for that, I stand proud, and owe no one any apologies. Been times I thought about killing myself, sake I missed you to the core zone of my soul, but hey…I always got my hustle on, and I faced life like a soldier, through all the sh*t. Never gave up, like you always said. I believe, in a way, I made you proud, Pappy. I lived strong, I stood firm, and I breathed free! Like you said, I made mistakes…mostly with those girls, yeah, but let the man who is without sin cast the first stone at me. I breathe, and I walk tall!”
I stood up then, and turned slowly, then began to walk out of my Pappy’s room.
When I reached the door I stopped and spoke without turning.
“I’m going away for a while, Pappy,” I said sadly. “Leaving you for a while. I don’t know where I’m going, and I don’t know what I’m gonna do. I don’t know if I’ll come back here to be with you for a final time, or if I’ll die before I get back here. Whatever the case might be, I’m assured that soon I’ll be with you again, either here on this earth, or over there on the other side…and this pain, this terrible pain, this loneliness, this confusion, this hatred…it will all be over. I love you, I miss you. Goodbye for now, Pappy.”
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I stepped out of my father’s room, and at the last moment before my body completely left the room I felt that faint air at the nape of my neck, and I paused suddenly, once again feeling the goose bumps on my body.
That was a favourite of his, standing behind me and touching the back of my neck gently, tenderly, lovingly.
I gasped and closed my eyes tightly, trying to prolong that moment a bit longer, feeling the nostalgic blast of love powerfully around me…but of course it was just a fleeting moment.
He was gone.
My Pappy was gone.
When I entered my living-room I programmed the house for a complete lockdown for a year. During that time, metal sheets would remain locked around the house. Lights would come on automatically at six o’clock each evening and go off at six o’clock each morning.
I descended to the garage, tossed my duffel bag into the backseat of my sleek, black custom-made Regera, modelled by Christian von Koenigsegg himself for half a million dollars.
It was a couple of hours past midnight now.
The world was deserted, the streets left empty.
I flipped touch screen buttons on the elegant dashboard of the car, and then the booming, wailing sounds of Bob Marley’s Talkin’ Blues filled the car.
I drove away into the night…and I kept driving into an uncertain future.
Come, death, dance with me…if you can, if you dare…because tonight, fu*k life!
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