Blind Date

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He sleeps with his Fitbit on. That’s how he knows it’s 3:52am when he stirs awake. He’s monitoring his weight, his sleep, his food, his moods, his ambitions, his shortfalls, how fast his hair grows… everything that a Fitbit tracks. At 109kgs, he’s a bit on the overweight side. It feels weird, this weight, because it takes longer and more effort to do things he usually wouldn’t struggle with. Like walking up a flight of stairs, hauling shopping from the boot, foreplay. He breathes hard now, his shirt often sticks to his back. His blood sugar can bake a chocolate cake. He likes to excuse his weight by saying, “But I’m a tall man, it spreads out!” Only it doesn’t. It’s right there on the belly. And arms. And neck. He has to lose 29 kgs or he will soon be put on hypertensive drugs, his doctor said. Or he will die. One of both. Because of that he’s reluctantly taken to walking, which he finds quite boring. He wishes he could swim but he never learnt to swim and besides, at 47 he figures it’s a tad too late. He can’t see himself being tutored in a pool by another man holding him as he tries to float, thrashing about like a walrus. He’s one of those bloated men with terrible shorts who spend their holidays at the coast seated in the baby pool displacing all the water and being laughed at by children.   

He lies on his back in bed and stares at the ceiling. A sharp sliver of grey light presses through the side of the curtain. The room is the colour of pre-dawn. He lays motionless, like a stone at the bottom of a lake. He can hear his wife’s breathing, it’s a rhythm he can recognise anywhere, one he’s known for the past 11 years. It’s comforting, in a way, to know that she’s there, next to him, breathing. Sometimes that’s all you need, the breathing. He lies there thinking how many ways the day can go wrong. He plays scenarios in his head because he’s a bit of an obsessive pessimist. 

At 6 am he slips into the bathroom for a shower then later, towel around torso, he fills the sink with water and then proceeds to lather his chin and cheeks. He shaves carefully staring at his reflection in the mirror; long uninterrupted, careful strokes. Shaving, he finds, is art, but it’s also therapy. It’s the only time he’s truly invested in a task.  As he’s rinsing his face off, his wife – still half asleep – wearing nothing but sleeping shorts, staggers into the bathroom and sits on the toilet whereupon she starts peeing. No ‘good morning.’ She just sits there, head in hands, sighing deeply as she pees. She’s one of those who say they think best on the toilet. 

Finally she looks up and asks, “Are you nervous about today?” 

“No, why?” 

“Because you shaved two days ago and you are shaving again today,” she says, “You never do that.” 

Truth is, he’s a little anxious. She flushes the loo and stands at the sink next to him, her breasts shaking wildly as she brushes her teeth vigorously. And because she’s a woman and she was born with the inherent talent of multitasking, she speaks at the same time, foamy mouth and all. She says, “uggggg gagyguh uaggugau grugggiug?”

“What?”

“The gugu gugg ggugg ghuhuggru?” 

“I can’t understand what you are saying,” he tells her grinning. 

Toothbrush half in mouth full of watery foam, she turns to look at him with a frustrated look as if he’s the crazy one. She spits in the sink and says, “Do you think he might not show up?” He says he doesn’t know. 

As he opens his wardrobe he hears the help drawing the living room curtains and beating  the cushions; the sounds of domesticity. His clothes occupy a small section of the wardrobe. Her clothes occupy the rest of the wardrobe, most of which she never wears and keeps meaning to donate but never gets around to it. He riffles through his clothes. He knows what he won’t wear; a blazer. Especially not the green-ish one; it reminds him of his good friend’s funeral ; said friend went into surgery for what doctors called a “small procedure” and never came back. 

His wife wears a t-shirt and throws on a bathrobe and leaves the bedroom. As he buttons his shirt he hears her talking animatedly to the help. Unlike him, she’s a morning person and never stops talking, she even talks in her sleep sometimes. Doors open and close. A child’s voice, obviously moaning about something because children are always moaning about something. The TV goes on. Cartoons. Another child’s voice. Something falling to the floor. When you have children your life is an endless soundtrack of something falling on the floor. 

Dressed, in the living room he says hello to his two offspring. They say good morning back – but at the TV. They look like their mother – which is a good thing if we are being entirely honest. He tries making small talk with them but they ignore him. After eating an apple (oh what sacrilege) he leaves the house as the children’s breakfast is being set on the table. His wife’s final words of advice to him is, Just be patient with him.”

To understand how we got here we go back to 2001 when he was about 28 years old, a roving salesman, covering the Central part of Kenya. There was a girl he used to see whenever he was in a small town for a day, a girl who had just completed university and was working in her mom’s humble retail shop. Actually he was lowkey interested in her mom initially, he says, but then he saw her one day, arranging shampoo on the shelves and the tide changed immediately. Not long after he lost his job, one day he got a call from the girl informing him that she had missed her period.  “I wasn’t in a state where I was even thinking about being a father, I was focused on getting employment again. Besides, this wasn’t ati a girl I was serious about, she was a distraction when I was in that town.” So, because he’s the god of periods, he assured her not to worry about it, her period would come. He had it on good authority.  

Only they didn’t and she called a month later and said she had done a test and she was indeed pregnant.  “I sent her money to take care of it and promptly forgot about that story.” Only, she didn’t “take care of it.” A year later, she sent a picture of a baby which he guessed, rather correctly, I might add, was his.  

“I was shocked!” he says unconvincingly, “mostly because I thought she had taken care of it. I called her up and we talked about it. My position was that I wasn’t ready to be a father or to settle down, at least not with her. We had had a physical relationship, there was nothing more to it. Nothing more for us. ” She sounded cool about it. She said she merely wanted him to know that she had kept the baby and she would fend for the baby. You have a good life, she said. [She didn’t, but I’ve added this for my own pleasure]. But she changed her number and he never heard from her again from 2002 until 2015. 

In 2015, he was married with two children and running a business you could describe as fairly successful. He narrates how he got the call out of the blue from a number he didn’t recognise. 

A young voice on the phone, uncertain, nervous.  “Hi,”

“Hello?”

“This is Ricky.”

“Okay. Hi. Which Ricky is this?”

[Pause]

“Brenda’s son?”

“Brenda?”

“Yeah. Brenda from Embu.”

“I don’t know a Brenda from Embu. Anyway, how can I help you?”

Pause.

Nervous. “I wanted to say hello. You, you are my dad.”

Then a long pause from his end. Then it all came to him, slowly at first then very quickly, like a herd of charging buffalos. The boy was 13, a teenager. Thirteen years had simply flown by in a jiffy. 

“What did you do?” I asked him. 

“I told him I’d call him back,” he says. “I was so confused. You wish some of these things away, it’s burying your head in the sand.” 

“You told him you’d call him back!” I laughed. “I’m sorry, were you in the middle of your life?”

“I was confused, man. I needed to process all this. I felt ambushed.”

“So did you call him back?”

“Next day, yes, but his phone was off.” 

So they never spoke again until the following year, when Ricky reached out on Whatsapp and kept reaching out intermittently over the next few years but he admits that he was not very receptive. “I was selfishly caught up with thinking about myself and the implications of what having a son like him meant at that point. It’s no excuse. But yeah, I didn’t respond very warmly. I was also struggling with how to tell my wife that I had a son; that I had a teenager and had somehow forgotten to mention it a few years into the marriage. He only told his wife in 2018. She was apoplectic. “What kind of a man are you who turns his back on his own child? Your own child! Who are you, even? This is your blood, your blood! How can you claim to love our children when you have a child you refuse to love? Why are our children more deserving of your love than this boy?” These are all good questions he didn’t have answers to. He sat in the naughty corner and contemplated his choices. “Do good by this boy and by yourself!” His wife told him. Unfortunately by this time of course, the boy had given up on him; he had stopped trying to reach out. He was pissed off, it’s safe to say, perhaps wrote him off as a good for nothing father. Brenda of course might have warned him that his father was a punk. But he kept trying to reconcile with him for the next couple of years and eventually, begrudgingly, agreed to a meeting and thus all the shaving he had done, as if he had a date with the court. 

  ***

This story is not about a son reconnecting with his father. This story, for me, is about the moment the son, a young adult son who hasn’t known a father, finally meets the man who is also his father. A stranger, really. I wish I had spoken to the boy instead of the man. It would have made for a better story. To see this meeting in his own eyes; cynical eyes, cautious eyes, jaded eyes, hurt eyes, cautious eyes. I wondered how it would be talking to a father you never knew. But I will never know, unless he reads this and says, “that’s me! I will talk to you!” then emails me on [email protected] with the subject; It’s Me. And a smiley.

They had agreed to meet at Java Mama Ngina Street. There was no space upstairs so he found a table downstairs that always feels like sitting in a submarine. You always feel like it might get flooded. Or that you will come out after your coffee, blinking into the bright light, and find that an apocalypse happened while you were underground and you’d roam the haunted, empty streets, shouting, “hellooooo?”, your discombobulated voice echoing all the way to the Railways station on Haile Selassie Avenue, the streets strewn with trash and abandoned cars in the middle of the road. It would be like living alone in a pot. There would be no humans, no mobile network, no sound, no birds in the sky, just you and the handful of you who were happily taking coffee downstairs at Java Mama Ngina Street as the world crashed and burned. You’d be forced to start over again. Maybe marry each other and have babies and start from scratch. That’s the point at which you would hope and pray there was a doctor amongst you, not someone in IT or accounts or a marketer or a fashion designer, or God forbid, a lawyer. Those are useless professions after an apocalypse. You’d need a doctor to survive. And maybe someone who can start a fire with two sticks. If there is a comedian (non-slapstick variety ) it wouldn’t hurt, because you’d need to find laughter in this new doom. 

Anyway. 

He texts him and says he is downstairs: “Dark guy in a blue shirt with red buttons.” His palms are wet, as they get when he’s very nervous. He watches the staircase. When twenty minutes later Ricky hasn’t shown up he texts his wife, “I don’t think he’s coming.” 

“Be patient.” His wife texts back curtly. When you have been married to someone for a while, you can read their facial expression from their text. He’s sure she typed that message while rolling her eyes. 

He finishes his masala tea and orders a dawa. He waits. A very thin man comes halfway down the staircase, looks around in the submarine, sees no empty table and goes back up. An ageing couple scrape their chairs loudly as they stand to leave. The man has a cane and an old hat – the type cats would love to nap in. Soft music trickles over the light chatter and clanking cutlery. Finally – almost an hour later, he sees his shoes before he sees him and he knows instinctively that it’s him. Red sneakers. Jeans. Long slender legs belonging to a tall slender boy. He looks around and he sees him; there is not any other man in a blue shirt with red buttons. He doesn’t know why but he finds himself standing as if to compare heights. He walks over to him, avoiding eye contact, looking uncomfortable, shy even, ready to bolt. Maybe he doesn’t want to confirm what he thinks of him. 

He discreetly wipes his hands on his pants and they shake hands. Father, son, strangers, men. There is something wrong with a father having to introduce himself to his teenage son. He says, “Hi, I’m Mark,” as if he’s selling a piece of land in Syokimau. He later wishes he could have said, “Hi, I’m  your dad,” but he was nervous and he felt that he didn’t deserve that title. 

“Ricky,” he says, then pulls a chair. 

They sit. Their knees touch under the table because they are both tall men. The air is so thick with tension you could place your purse on it, instead a menu is placed on it. He studies his face carefully as he peruses through the menu. It’s his son, no doubt. The nose. His lower lip. His ears. How thick his hair once was. How he sits in the flickering energy of his teenage. It feels like he’s looking at himself, his younger self, slimmer self. He envies his weight and his good knees. He wonders what courage it has taken for him to come here. 

Ricky finally orders orange juice and says, “thank you,” to the waitress. Even though he can’t take credit for his good manners it fills him with both pride and guilt. 

“Why don’t you eat something?” He suggests. “Have you had breakfast?”

“Nah, I’m fine.” He says looking around for a familiar face or an exit.  

To avoid the table sinking into the deep pond of uncomfortable silence, he fills it fast with words. Wrong words, it turns out. He asks “so, how have you been?”, a loaded question. Does he want him to start from when he was born or just last week? 

“I’m good,” Ricky says. 

“Good…good,” he says, “how’s your mom?” 

“She’s good. She’s waiting upstairs.”  

“Upstairs?” He’s surprised.

“Yeah, she brought me here.”

“Oh.” He looks up, as if he can see her through the ceiling. 

“You guys live around?” He asks, and he realises with great embarrassment that he doesn’t know anything, anything at all, about his son; where he lives, what he likes, what he wants in life, who his friends are, his birthday, his allergies, nothing. “It felt terrible to be honest, I felt like a shit father.” He told me. “Like those fathers you never thought you’d be.” Curiously, he’s close to his father who is now old and in the village still farming. His mom died when he was in his twenties. 

They sit in silence. He didn’t know what to say, where to start. So he asks him if he wants to ask him anything. “I’m sure you have questions.” 

“No,” Ricky says indifferently. That jolts him. A slap on the face. 

“Oh,” he says. 

Ricky’s phone lights up on the table and he can tell it’s an Instagram notification. He checks it and continues scrolling on his phone. He can’t tell him to put down his phone because it’s rude because he doesn’t know him. He feels he has no moral ground, besides he doesn’t want to antagonise him. So waits for him to finish. A waitress comes with the order and says with a big smile, “Would you guys like something else?” He wants to tell her, “Yeah, a rope and strong beam to hang myself.” 

“I’m sorry that it’s taken us so long to meet up,” he says. 

Ricky looks up and places his phone away. He looks irritated. He just stares at him. “And I would like us to have a relationship,” he continues, “ we can start slowly, from the very bottom, you know, get to know each other. We have lost so much time. I have lost so much time and I would like to fill it up, you know, make up for it. Is this something you would like to do?”

Ricky shrugs. Like he couldn’t care either way. 

The next hour is painful. He asks him questions – what do you want to study now after high school? How is Embu? How are your other siblings? What do you love doing during your free time? – and he offers very little to no insight into who he is.  It’s like a blind date where one partner has already decided that this is not going anywhere but the other party is still clutching at the straws of false hope. 

 “He never once asked me about myself,” he moaned. “He was completely disinterested in my life. Never asked what I do now, why I was never in his life, nothing. Even though I expected it, it sort of stung.” 

When it was obvious that the meeting was not going anywhere and that he needn’t push his luck anymore, he called for the bill. After paying, he asked him if it was okay if he gave him some pocket money to, you know, buy data and shit, and he stonily said, “Naah, I’m good.”  

They walked upstairs. He hadn’t seen Brenda in as long as his son was old. At first he didn’t even recognise her, sitting in a corner with her laptop. “She was stunning!” he says. “Remember I last saw her when she had just finished university, what, when she was 22? Complete transformation. Complete.” 

She was cordial but distant. She looked at Ricky and asked with concern, “You guys are done already?” Ricky sat down and said, “Yeah.” Small talk. Then he made his excuses as his palms sweated even more, then he stepped out of the cafe and was relieved that the apocalypse hadn’t happened. 

Their relationship hasn’t transformed much even after a couple more meetings. 

“One time he texted that he hasn’t lacked much in terms of a male figure, that he has his uncles. I feel horrible about this. I regret having turned my back on him when he was born but what could I do? I wasn’t in the headspace to be a father, you know.” He said. “Maybe one day he will come around, maybe he won’t. My wife thinks it’s the bed I made so whatever happens, I have to lie on it. She also thinks that I should not stop trying. She says I should try for the next 18 years, the number of years I was absent from his life.”

“Will you?” I asked. 

“Yeah. I have no other son.” 

***

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177 Comments
    1. His wife is the super star here..giving such empathetic, wise advise. And yes, keep trying… it’s my experience that by mid-20s every child hits that realization that their parents are fallible people &, forgive them.

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    1. I don’t know what to feel about this sad story. I just wish men reading here would choose to make a difference. If you want to be only physical with a woman you could as well
      1. Go for a prostitute and pay for your recklessness.
      2. Tell the woman it is for the physical because some are ok with that at no charges,
      3. Use a condom.
      Ricky is hurt and I know her mom was as well. Can’t we be better people, intentionally?

  1. Mixed feelings; feel sad for him and at the same time can relate with Ricky..
    It will take time for the ice to thaw.

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  2. Probably the mums idea for him to rech out. Hope Ricky tells his side of the story. Good read as always…

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  3. Somehow this was satisfying to read.Vindicative even.I always wondered how you can love some of your children and not others. Is it because of the mother?Does the mother play a role. Looking forward to reading the story from Ricky’s perspective.

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  4. It’s like a blind date where one partner has already decided that this is not going anywhere but the other party is still clutching at the straws of false hope.
    Sums it all.. A good read. Cheers

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  5. I would advise him to keep trying to connect with his son. It’s not easy for both of them but eventually it will be worth it

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  6. Henceforth everytime I go into java Mama Ngina I will be looking at strangers asking myself if they are meeting for such ‘blind dates’
    It’s always Java Mama Ngina

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  7. Ooh my. This is personal.

    Never known my bio father….Guess I wouldn’t want to meet him.

    and if I did,

    It would have the attitude, like, “See, I made it without you”. Grandpa held my hand to nursery school…yada yada yada.

    Maybe that’s what Ricky is doing too. He is here with his stunning mum to prove a point. He doesn’t need you, which will sting because most men are wired to see siring sons as the epitome of manhood.

    Pole sana.

    NEXT

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    1. He made his bed, and he seems resigned to lie on it. He has a good attitude. I hope it turns out well for them.

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    2. I’m in a similar situation.
      Never known my bio father.
      I thit mine would be more of “Good to know you”, nothing more.
      I get some moments where curiousity makes me want to ask about him. Then I wonder if it’s worth the effort. I think it’s not.
      I hope it works out for these two now that he has shown the will.

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  8. I love his wife…solid head on her shoulders, blood is blood. Happy story; Hagar and Ishmael…I hope he finds a way to respect the man his son has become and build the bridge, one day at a time and not just because he has one son!

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  9. Haha nice one,im happy the biy was sort of non chalant the way he was….. I feel this guy deserved it. Happy for Brenda

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  10. Fool regrets not only the child he left behind but the woman too. In Julius Caesar, Shakespeare writes; “There is a tide in the affairs of when, which taken at the flood, leads to good fortune. Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries”.

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      1. Last statement means he is still selfish even after 18 years. Of he had other son(s) would he have had the grace to keep pushing for the relationship? Or he would have shrugged his shoulders and say atleastni tried and moved on?!

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        1. He is only committed to mending the relationship as he has no other son…secondly i feel the push is from the wife and he lacks the drive. Forgive me but isn’t this a deadbeat? a very bad one for this particular matter? am being nice but he should feel really bad

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    1. You read my mind..I dnt think it should make a difference if he had another son.. or does it mean if it was a daughter it would not matter???

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    2. Yeah something is wrong with that man and his attitude…Kind of feel the boy is way better off without him. This life is too short to drag around someone who doesn’t want you for who you are.

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  11. Deep shit. The saga vindicates one of my life principles…”never date a woman you cannot marry”. In any engagements there will always be consequences and as a man you better be kind to yourself and half the pain.
    Having gone through life being a ‘Ricky’….I know better as to how I handle every instance including “a two night stand”. We will always lie in the beds that we make….life is about choices.

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    1. I thought I was wrong in having this as a dating principle. Before I got married, I always treated anyone I made a move on as a potential wife. It may have lessened my opportunities to get laid but it surely saved me from getting into situations such as this one.

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  12. Has he apologized to Brenda and to Ricky for abandoning them? Not sugarcoating it in terms of, “sorry, we’ve not spent much time together….”He needs to acknowledge the pain he must have caused to the two of them.

    For sure the boy wants to connect, otherwise he wouldn’t have gone for the meeting and Brenda wouldn’t have allowed the meeting. The dad just needs to give a sincere apology and give without expecting to receive anything in return. It is hard but it is the bed he made.

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  13. Human beings are mysterious creatures sometimes. Let me put it this way, human beings are irrational most of the time. They are irrational in the manner with which they approach their relationships and in the manner in which they end these relationships. Their decisions in matters that matter are often imbued by short term goals, the folly of youth and the misplaced invincibility that accompanies our 20s and early 30s. Human beings are always looking for the elusive high in everything; the zenith of their bodily experiences especially when they are still young. Whether in Tahiti, Easter Islands or Kanairo, their choices (at this time in their life) always beat logic.

    When I read this story, it reminded me of the calls people receive from exes, decades later; apologies are made and good wishes are uttered our way. It reminded me of the many emails people receive decades down the line when someone regrets why she could keep a pregnancy to term because she was not ready for motherhood or simply because the man did not have enough thousands or millions to his name. It reminded me of those fathers who show up at funerals seeking to be recognised as the biological father of a recently deceased rich or famous son they never cared about. A son such a person probably thought was a bother and an impediment to his youthfulness. It reminded me of those fathers who show up at their daughters’ weddings seeking to walk them down the aisle (by force) and causing huge embarrassment and even leading to weddings being called off. This is about men and women who rejected motherhood or fatherhood because they thought it was going to be a bump on their road to freedom of engaging in the folly of youth and are now wondering that they do not have much to write home about even after spending most of their 20s and 30s in Vasha with their motis.

    Methinks, and I hope to be forgiven for thinking so, that the man thought Brenda had retired into a hopeless and helpless mother and thought Ricky was seeking him for financial support or something like that. He thought Brenda could not amount to anything and was surprised at how the ‘stone that had rejected’ is certainly the cornerstone that he so needs to make his house complete. He says he was surprised at how ‘stunning Brenda looked’. Only a man who thought lowly of an ex he abandoned would say so.

    This story reminded me of Bob Marley. The ‘Marleys’ rejected him. In the 2012 documentary ‘Bob Marley’, the Marleys are requested to listen to Wailers’ song ‘The Cornerstone’ and when the song is over, they accept that Bob was right. He was the stone that the Marleys had rejected but had happened to be the cornerstone of the Marley’s family and had put the Marley name out there.

    It all boils down to this, the choices we make when young do shape our future. If you choose to reject someone in their worst moments thinking you are in a better position, chances are that you may escape the hand of fate. However, coincidences are real and when they occur, they tend to shatter even our hard-held skepticism. When they occur, people remember an aborted pregnancy when they try in vain to get a child, people remember the sons they rejected when they can’t get a son and time is running out. When coincidences strike, people remember that they should have shown some little love, some little understanding to those that they rejected and abandoned just because they thought it was the most opportune thing to do in their youth.

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    1. John,

      Your insights are spot on. Unfortunately many are the regrets that we have at the end of the day.

      4
    2. Indeed.
      This life can show us things. Just do the right thing because of the law of cause and effect (aka karma), or seedtime and harvest.
      Anything good or bad one does through his thoughts, words or senses creates an equivalent response which comes back to him, sooner or later, in one form or the other.

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  14. Some women are single mothers by choice while some are not. Ricky’s mother is independent of all that narrative. He wasn’t ready to settle with her and she was okay with it. Not every frog you kiss wants life with you. I feel like she had no problem with him meeting his son but she had to take time to pull herself from the mess he made.
    I’m not judging him. Sometimes you meet someone who you deem fit for your coital satisfaction and nothing more. I hope peace finds him. Or them.

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  15. Easier to send cash and say ,,take care of it,but if its kept to term and it turns into a beautiful someone you want to bond ,,anyway wish him well in connecting with his son,,looking forward to here Ricky’s side of story.

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  16. I am here, grown up version of Ricky. Only with few unavailable uncles to act as father figure. You only realize how much you lacking when you are a father n don’t have a clue of how to be one, or how to be the head of the family,

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    1. Grandpa maybe? Coz some uncles may think you want to share their ancestral land, especially if you are a boy.

      2
  17. Biko, this reminds me of the day my dad took me to meet my mum, it was my 21st birthday. I was full of emotions and hope. I met her and she couldn’t even remember my birthday. It hurt . We don’t talk, we’re strangers though I hoped it would be different.

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    1. I also reconnected with my mum in my 20’s but years later we still distant. We are cordial but I wouldn’t say that we have a relationship.

  18. Choices have consequences.
    Why should Ricky be friendly now and you didn’t make any effort to be a father when he first reached out to you.
    Then you had also given Brenda cash to ‘take care of it.’ If your son heard that you wanted him dead and flushed away, then he will act dead to you.
    The only thing to do is indeed to continue reaching out for the years you’d been away from him. As well just provide for him, reach out to the mum and contribute to their expenses, if he still doesn’t want cash from you.
    The heroine in this story is his wife. I wish wives married to deadbeats would pressure their men to take care of kids they sired.

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    1. That’s a loaded statement..

      See,i’d love to be the wife(in terms of her reaction)but my fear would be them picking up from where they’d left.

      Halafu adding to the fact that he acknowledges that he’s the only son,tables might turn.

      All in all,thumbs up to the wife for being level headed.

      5
  19. From the comments, clearly men and women view issues differently. And women should stop playing victim.

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  20. This story is a reflection of a lot of men today though, a sad reality. Too many single mothers and the men show up when the tough bit is done. I wish him well though.

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  21. Men, Men we need to find another line-the line of I wasn’t ready to be a father is such a lame one that just shows irresponsibility. If you played house with her then be ready to be daddy, it is Like the lady was ready to be a mother!

    It hurts the children so much especially boys. You see boys always have a desire to find out who their father is, from an age they seek to belong.

    Remember while growing up the way those with present dads would brag about their fathers, the activities they did on weekends. It’s something that you secretly wished you had.

    1. Fatherhood journey starts naturally but must proceed intentionally

    2. Fathering is the most important investment a man makes (models Masculinity,provides safety,show authority. A true hero is crowned at home and celebrated outsidè

    3. You father out of who you are…( Mirror)

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  22. One time i took my buddy to meet his alleged son of about 13 years.The boy took a folk with a left hand,my buddy was lefty.No further submissions your Honour.

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  23. This hit home for me. I don’t know my dad, never was interested. I wonder what I’d do if he showed up one day. I guess I’d be the one asking the questions

    The wife, a gem.

    18
  24. He should count himself lucky. Many in Ricky and Brenda’s shoes wouldn’t want anything to do with a man that ran away from his responsibility.
    Also, he is lucky that his wife has his back and is encouraging him to fix his mess.
    Ricky needs time, it’s probably his mother’s idea to connect with the dad (she must be a forgiving person), or his, but the healing and bonding needs time. Mark needs to be patient.

    7
  25. In the words of Percy Shelley; “All of us who are worth anything, spend our manhood in unlearning the follies, or expiating the mistakes of our youth.”
    No doubt this gentleman will live the rest of his life do exactly that.
    I am glad that at least the connection journey has began. That the parties are willing to have a relationship. No matter how long it takes, be patient with Ricky.
    Brenda, just many other ladys who find themselves in tje web of motherhood in their early 20’s has done an amazing job. Kudos Brenda.

    I must admit that this nigga has an amazing woman for a wife. She did not only forgive you for the secret you kept from her, but she supports you to correct your own mess.
    Truly, always “Have a heart that never hardens, and a temper that never tires and a touch that never hurts.”

    12
  26. Men and the excuse that they weren’t in the headspace for being a father, who told you women are? But they face it anyway and alone be it abortion or raising the kid, there’s no excuse for cowardice

    26
  27. Oh but There was enough headspace to sleep with someone and describe her as a distraction? And the audacity to send money to take care of it as if the oven had dissapointedly given a baby instead of chocolate cookies! And now you are trying because the abortion is suddenly valuable as your only son! Geett out!

    27
  28. That digression into the apocalypse was very funny. IT and Accounts would truly be of no use after an apocalypse.

    3
  29. I have been on that other end(son’s end) when I was 17years old! First meeting with my dad when fully grown and aware of myself. I can’t remember his first words but I remember asking- “where have you been all this time?” – and tears just flowed and flowed. I’m 34 now and we are great friends.

    24
  30. I really love the wife’s approach to the whole situation.

    A few lines that had me giggling;

    That’s the point at which you would hope and pray there was a doctor amongst you, not someone in IT or accounts or a marketer or a fashion designer, or God forbid, a lawyer. Those are useless professions after an apocalypse-lawyers must have done Biko dirty .

    “You told him you’d call him back!” I laughed. “I’m sorry, were you in the middle of your life?

    “Would you guys like something else?” He wants to tell her, “Yeah, a rope and strong beam to hang myself.”

    7
  31. That was really a blind date…
    Since it’s not possible to reverse what has already transpired, Mark should be patient with Ricky, continue reaching out and apologize; hope he will forgive him some day…
    The wife is a gem…

    3
  32. Beautiful story, the wife is such an amazing woman, all it takes to live well in this earth is kindness.

    The man tried too, there are sons of Adam out where who want nothing to do with their kids and they are only separated for a month… an year maybe

    The end though… “Yeah. I have no other son.”

    What if it was a daughter?

    I am hoping he would say something along the lines of …“Yeah. To a father growing old nothing is dearer than a daughter.”

    3
  33. I had been angry at my Dad for so long, for what I believed was his loud absence in my early years of growing up. That was until 2018 when I became a Dad myself, and encountered the demons that my Dad, and many others out here have been facing. Men are raised up in broken homes, yet expected to become proper Fathers and Husbands themselves. These men end up raising broken progenies of themselves, and the cycle never ends. Until one is somehow lucky to be aware of this unfortunate reality, and find the courage and help to stand out of the line so that the cycle of brokenness stops. Three years ago, I would have been harsh to this 109kilogram-man. But I can’t.

    Because I am a Father.

    40
    1. Well said sir. Until we become courageous enough to want to end a cycle in our lives, we will never really be any different.
      Proud of you and the many others who seek to do better, be better and make the next generation stand on higher shoulders despite not having had the opportunity themselves. Kudos!

      5
  34. That last sentence didn’t sit right with me. He should try not because he has no other son, but because it’s the right thing to do. Nkt!

    16
  35. I appreciate him for coming to terms with his truth. We all can learn something from that and try it often.

    They are all on a journey, I will wish them well.

    That man’s wife should be appreciated.

    2
  36. I love this woman. A wise one.

    All the best dude, but it won’t be easy but possible. Pray pray.

    1
  37. I wonder how Ricky would describe him….
    The wife is right though, he has to try and try and keep trying for the rest of his life,.. He might come around, he might not, but he should try always nonetheless

    1
  38. As you begin to grow your relationship, probably inviting him over to a space where it’s not just the two of you would be a little less akward? Something like family lunches etc Your wife sounds like she would make a perfect chaperone!

    1
  39. What a woman, an angel of a wife this man has! She withheld such piece of important information from her and when she finally learns, she is cool? The man has to pay. So he must try for the next 18 years, a very light punishment she doles out. He will have to endure those sweaty palms until his sweat glands empty out!
    And it seems the lad is cool too. He will be just fine after all! He probably just wanted to stop being curious about who his dad was/is, which is okay. Brenda has done a remarkable job of it, kudos to her. She is a great woman, do doubt about it!
    Great story Mr. Biko, but boy, is this guy lucky or what?

    PS:
    Would sure be nice to read Ricky’s story, were he to read this and oblige your entreaty, brother Jackson and grant you an audience although from the look of it, he seems to be a lad of few words and the story might be a tad too short!

    7
    1. This makes me feel like some chickens may come home to roost. But I have wadded them off.
      Soo I chose that if my son is to meet his father it will be after he turns 18. The disturbance that is created by an unwilling parent means that co-parenting would be a nightmare. I would know I am living the nightmare.

      3
  40. Story of my life, you know from Ricky’s point of view. My parents separated when I was pretty young and I had no memory of my father. Tried reaching out to him when I was pre-teen; no response. Tried again when I was a teenager; no response. Then I moved on, finished campus and got a job. By some funny coincidence we met when I was already working; felt nothing. My only curiosity was- how does he look like? since I had never seen him, even photos; nothing. So after I met him my curiosity was sorted and never felt the need to contact him. He also never showed interest in my life and family, never reached out even when he got my contacts. Never does to date. So I know he exists somewhere with his other family who I have never met- that’s about it.
    If he was to reach out now, I would be surprised. But I have moved on, swiftly.
    Cheers to Ricky, I feel you. Would love to hear your side of the story

    11
  41. “I regret having turned my back on him when he was born but what could I do? I wasn’t in the headspace to be a father, you know.”

    His Mom, I’m sure, wasn’t in the head space to be a mother either. But she brought him up to be a man who invoked pride in the total stranger you were.

    She dug in her heels and did the work. You had the choice to do so too, headspace or no. Same script, so many different players.

    11
  42. The best revenge for someone who once looked down on you and thought of you as ‘just a distraction’ is to thrive! Just thrive. Cheers to Ricky’s mother. Also this cannot go unsaid. This guy’s wife knows what it’s about. Very sober way of handling that situation. Kudos to her.

    7
  43. This sub-plot made me smile…
    Or that you will come out after your coffee, blinking into the bright light, and find that an apocalypse happened while you were underground and you’d roam the haunted, empty streets, shouting, “hellooooo?”, your discombobulated voice echoing all the way to the Railways station on Haile Selassie Avenue…

    1
  44. I can identify with Ricky…he must wonder what he did to be rejected by his own father..I hope he finds strength and grace to forgive the dad for being absent. It’s never too late to connect..all the best

  45. The circumstances, the attitude of both might have been different but this was me many years ago when I met my dad for the first time. I was 16 years. I had stumbled upon his identity by accident because this identity was a state secret at our house. When I confronted my mom with this newfound information, she tried as much she could to dissuade me from meeting him. She said it would only lead to heartache. But by then the curiosity in me was like a raging inferno. I needed to see him, see if my best friend at the time Jack was right about the resemblance. Most of all, I wanted to see the face of the man who for my sixteen years on earth had decided that I didn’t exist. The man who would wake up in the morning go through his day and later retire to his bed without a thought about his son out there. I just had to see him. I understood that maybe there were reasons that were beyond my pay grade that resulted in the two of them splitting. Maybe mom had stormed into his workplace screaming bladdy murder accusing him of an affair ( I can swear upon a stack of Bibles that my mom wouldn’t do such a thing, but hey, I didn’t know her then like I do now) or maybe she had objected to him joining a secret society that ate bats and when he was adamant she left, I don’t know. The point is, for sixteen years, I did not exist to him. I even borrowed some ill-fitting clothes from friends for our first meeting because I dint want him to get the impression that I was after his money. I wanted him to think I was doing well without him. The reality on the ground was much much different. Turns out mom was right( as she always is), the guy was a dueche. After giving me the impression that he wanted us to get to know each other, form a relationship, the guy once again bailed out on me. He stopped picking my calls and was suddenly inaccessible at his workplace. To make sure that this inaccessibility was permanent, six months or so after our meeting, the dude decided to die.

    My advice to this guy is, don’t give up on trying to form a relationship with your son. it might work or not. It might take a long time but you owe it to him and yourself to at least try. Secondly, try and form some sort of relationship with his mom for his sake. It might help to see the two of you getting along. Thirdly, now that you have other kids, do your darndest to get it right with them ( here am sure you don’t need a lot of motivation) Lastly, that wise lady that breaths softly next to you in bed and speaks gibberish as she brushes her teeth, that one, hug her every day, tell her that you love her. You are lucky, you got one of the good ones.

    35
    1. I love the humour in an otherwise sad story. Maybe he knew his inadequacies, and he didn’t want to expose them to you, however bad that may sound. But we will never know

      3
  46. Met mine from time to time but didn’t know he was my dad until when i was 18. I think they had agreed with mom to keep it a secret coz I had my other dad; moms husband ! But reality is every child wants to meet their biological dad however successful and loved they or mom is !!There is a satisfaction of just knowing; but building a relationship thereof is comsi comsa!!They try ooing us with cash lakini the heart is heavy

    2
  47. I identify with Ricky. When I was 9 my mom died and my father wanted nothing to do with me . He sent me away to be raised by my maternal relatives and that is how my small bro and I were seperated. 15 years later he sought me out after learning that my small bro and I were in touch. At that point I really wanted nothing to do with him ( and his found wealth) because I felt he never loved me as a child so why would he in my adulthod. I finally tried after a few years but then he died before we could patch things up properly. I wish we had more time. I hope Ricky reads the post by Biko and finds it in his heart to forgive his father for his own sake.

    Ps. Someday I might share my story with you Biko

    11
  48. Speaking from the son’s perspective, as this as hit too close to home, it takes time to develop the empathy to see the “lost dad” as a younger man who had decisions to make, and appreciate he wasn’t perfect and he deserves forgiveness too. It’s the only way to heal, letting go and forgiving. (dedicated to all who grew up in these situations)

    2
  49. This story loudly echo’s father’s & son’s relationships.
    Father’s here have a duty to become better Dad’s than how they were raised.

    2
  50. As much as I’d like to empathise with this man, his words sound very selfish. What if he already had a son? What if the wife wasn’t pushing him to keep trying?

    For a child who has reached out twice to a parent and was still ignored, dismissed and made to feel like he really doesn’t matter, it’s almost a miracle that he showed up (probably courtesy of the mum). I get where he is coming from and I’m glad he didn’t miss out on life just because his biological father was not present.

    I hope that this man gets transformed and not only does the honourable but tries to be ‘less selfish’. May he find peace in what life lays ahead for him.

    6
  51. I am 31 and have a ‘brenda’ I need to meet!! So I will be summoning my demons and praying to my gods. This life is a long journey and I don’t want to end up lying in a bed made of spikes or cactus. Guys, say a prayer for me. A man is inspired .

    14
  52. This parenthood series has amplified a deep longing for attachment that i thought I didn’t have. I want someone to hear me breathing and feel comfort From the way Biko writes it, it feels wholesome and satisfying… Maybe its Corona isolation finally catching up.. who knows?!

    Praying Ricky and Mark make some headway in their relationship.

    2
  53. Brenda sounds like a familiar character..
    This line though..’because he is the god of periods..’
    I understand Ricky’s reaction. He seems hurt though and this shows that he still cares. There is a little flicker of hope. Mr distraction should keep trying.

    3
  54. At some I started humming Eminem’s Lose Yourself

    “His palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy
    There’s vomit on his sweater already, mom’s spaghetti
    He’s nervous, but on the surface he looks calm and ready
    To drop bombs, but he keeps on forgettin'”

    1
  55. I think everyone here likes the wife, I mean, she literally beat sense into him. Ricky is bitter and a lot of things and rightly so. Keep trying man, but mostly, I hope you learn to forgive yourself.

    2
  56. Dear Biko zulu,

    I appreciate your blogs. Kindly check into why I can not see yesterday’s post and the other older stories.

    Thank you

  57. Dear Biko zulu,

    I appreciate your blogs. Kindly check into why I can not see yesterday’s post and the other older stories.

    Thank you so much

    1
  58. My heart is saddened, this is disheartening. My son is 9yrs and has never met his father. I have tried hook ups … seems it will just never work

    3
  59. Wow! I saw myself and my son in this story I swear.
    And what is this thing of guys always being like ” they ain’t ready to be fathers”?
    Sometimes they need to man up and understand that we made a choice to be mothers even if we were not ready at all.
    My child and I ain’t lacking but I just felt like I should throw in my two cents on this one.
    Kudos to the young men who take up their responsibilities quickly.

    5
  60. “or God forbid, a lawyer.” The violence!!!!!

    I believe it is not too late to mend things. The women in his life seem to be well-grounded.

    I hope there will be a story from Ricky and Brenda’s side.

    4
  61. I sort of feel like the son only that the dad can’t been known yet. I hope I’ll get to know him soon …maybe find out if we looked alike

  62. Brenda, you raised a good boy. You did so well in general but even better given the circumstances.

    1
  63. The stunning looking Brenda couldn’t help but push for the meet up…I also read motive in the wife insisting on him catching up with the prodigal son….anyway, what do I know?

    2
  64. The father gave the money for abortion.Ricky is human,who would forgive such a beast?!..sorry I am overreacting,good touching read…

  65. This happens to more people than you can imagine. I feel sad for the dad. He waited too long. Children are very forgiving when they are still young. That said, he should continue trying to have a relationship with Ricky. Maybe years down the line, Ricky will be more receptive.

  66. I have felt this one deep. I didn’t know and still don’t know my dad. He wasn’t around much& the few times I tried it also didn’t end well. Then I lost touch and I regret not trying harder as a daughter. I have searched high and low for his contacts lakini wapi!? I always wonder though…God bless his wife for pushing him. Many a times, the spouse usually objects to any form of effort towards the child.He has had a lot of years of rejection and pain,it will take abit more time for trust to be built. Don’t give up.

    1
  67. I usually read the story minutes after it gets here,depending with what it is,i throw a comment or not,share it with the ones who might resonate with it,then get here days later to follow up on the comments.

    For me,the diverse perspectives are icing to the beautiful read.

    Biko,i thought i had a story but i realize there are a lot of stories out here,i’m just grateful mine isn’t dramatic.

    Listen people;when a woman is empowered with knowledge,it is never the same.Life has it’s twists,there’s no guarantee for a happy ever after life but you can at least make a decision to have something of your own before stepping into a union or even engaging in premarital sex.

    That’s a risk.

    Halafu,men just need mentors.The few level headed men should pull their brothers up.It takes a man to call out another just like the way women are loud on breaking the glass ceiling.

    Otherwise the cycle will continue.

    2
  68. That’s the point at which you would hope and pray there was a doctor amongst you, not someone in IT or accounts or a marketer or a fashion designer, or God forbid, a lawyer. Those are useless professions after an apocalypse

    Biko chose to deviate with humor at this point…You are great

    2
  69. This story has 1001 dimensions!!! Wueh!!
    A father
    A son
    A mother
    A wife
    and ya kuonjeshwa, “I have no other son!!!” Thunderbolt!!!!

    3
  70. i hope the mum never mentioned to his son about the dad waning to get rid of him, but his own father has just said it,ooops,that hits differently.that maybe explains the cold meeting.

    ION,
    Anyone kind enough with an extra shilling to pay for a student the masterclass?

    1
  71. This story has brought back memories from the time I sat across my estranged dad at 10 years old and asked why he didn’t want me, why he left…

    Immediately after that meeting he blocked me for several years and I assure you that no heartbreak has ever felt as excruciatingly painful as that.

    I resonate with Ricky. I wish I was as indifferent as he was, then maybe I wouldn’t bank all my hopes on finally having a dad.

    Ricky please reach out…let us hear your story.

    Amazing read!

    2
  72. if i hear a man say he is not ready to be a father one more time or that he was trapped i will loose it!!
    men are lucky they have the luxury to wait till they are ready!!women are left with the burden of raising kids then years later the man shows up to make ammends when all the hard work has been done knwoing very well that child has a deep longing for a father. I used to take for granted my father though busy sticking around and 40yrs later still with my mum,!!

    2
  73. His wife is an absolutely amazing person, he should be glad he has her. As for his feelings he better know that no one cares about his feelings and learn to deal with them on his own because as his wife said it’s the bed he made…I hope his son is able to decide what he wants, if it’s a relationship with him or not and this time he better be there for him

  74. Mark is so selfish. he sent her money to take care of it and didn’t bother to find out if she was okay. And 18 years later, he is still making this about him. I feel bad for Ricky and I hope he finds peace.

    1
  75. What a read!The deadbeat dad’s should know that ghosts of the past will always haunt them.I applaud that guy’s wife, she’s one in a million.If women accepted their husbands children,then this world would be a better place to live in.

    1
  76. Wow, Just wow… No judgements here but when a man says he is not ready to be a father and the baby is already here … okay so aha who is ready ?.. she sure wasn’t, she was 22 he was 28. we were not ready for corona and we will never be. Pay for his school fees or something, just do something

    1
  77. What kind of a man are you who turns his back on his own child? Your own child! Who are you, even? This is your blood, your blood! How can you claim to love our children when you have a child you refuse to love? Why are our children more deserving of your love than this boy?” These are all good questions he didn’t have answers to I love this woman(wife) and hats off to Brenda for raising a gentleman.

    1
  78. What about stunning Brenda?
    Can you at least meet her and describe stunning?
    Stunning Brenda, pls email Biko with the subject “stunning”

    1
  79. I don’t like the sound of his last statement, yeah I have no other son like WTH!!! That’s his child irregardless of the sex and that’s why he should strive to have a relationship with him!!!
    Ricky sounds like a very adorable young man, his mother Brenda must be a great mother and I’m proud of them both.
    I love his wife, the guy’s wife that is. She’s a wonderful woman, to will her man to seek a relationship with his child who is not their child is a Godly attribute, may God in heaven bless her!!! Chances are if he wasn’t married to her, he wouldn’t have bothered reaching out to Ricky after he had previously acted cold towards him. I hope he really and truly deserves his wife.

    I wish him and Ricky well but in case the son ever wants to opt out of the ‘relationship’ he should allow him to. Some times we just want to meet our biological relations and see if we might be truly related and not necessarily have a relationship with them. Most fathers who abandoned their kids whether knowingly or otherwise assume when the kids reach out in life it’s because they want to demand their rightful positions in the man’s (father’s life) no we don’t! We are doing and have done just fine without you.
    Thank you

    1
  80. I see several guys here are in Ricky’s shoes.

    Well, I’m in his dad’s shoes. This I’ve tried it all to raise my lil’ man & be there, the other parent has determined otherwise.

    And because kids don’t know these intricacies (& you don’t want to be the parent who saddles them w/ parental intrigues), he’ll one day sit across a table from me w/ such hurt & anger.

    Was a tough read. My heart goes out to all three involved here.

  81. I see several guys here are in Ricky’s shoes.

    Well, I’m in his dad’s shoes. This I’ve tried it all to raise my lil’ man & be there, the other parent has determined otherwise.

    And because kids don’t know these intricacies (& you don’t want to be the parent who saddles them w/ parental intrigues), he’ll one day sit across a table from me w/ such hurt & anger.

    Was a tough read. My heart goes out to all three involved here.

  82. The lady from Embu is an angel never poisoned the kid nor her own heart and soul wow she is as Angelic as she is stunning

  83. It is how you write for me. Its almost hypnotic. You ever rubbed your eyes so hard you started seeing stars?, that is the feeling.

    1
  84. I say men take your responsibility when shit happens!. When you engage without protection be ready to take care of the outcome! It’s totally unfair to bolt!
    The wife on the other hand is very sound!… Now that he messed, he should try to make all the wrongs right!

    In other news!
    This had me LOOL’ING!
    They had agreed to meet at Java Mama Ngina Street. There was no space upstairs so he found a table downstairs that always feels like sitting in a submarine. You always feel like it might get flooded. Or that you will come out after your coffee, blinking into the bright light, and find that an apocalypse happened while you were underground and you’d roam the haunted, empty streets, shouting, “hellooooo?”, your discombobulated voice echoing all the way to the Railways station on Haile Selassie Avenue, the streets strewn with trash and abandoned cars in the middle of the road. It would be like living alone in a pot. hhahahahahahahaha!
    I will never look at that Java the same way again!!

  85. Honestly, some men are shitty fathers. Like this one. I know, because mine was a shitty father too. And no, we lived under the same roof with mine. All props to Ricky. He tried reaching out, tried to give this man a second, third and fourth chance. What is being offerred right now is a little too late. Selfish prick,

  86. Don’t know why I felt all emotional. Congratulations Brenda, you did a great job at raising ricky. Very few teenagers would turn down an offer of money to buy data or stuff

  87. The story is so thrilling reminds a lot of how men evolve in life and how they handle life in 20s,30s and beyond life will always remain a mystery in certain aspects ..