© The Klever Magg
Maya felt content.
Content that her hard work had paid off.
She looked at Prince Jnr, from afar and was glad to be a part of his life.
She had never regretted having him. He had filled her life in so many ways.
He made her laugh when she was sad. He gave her the strength to forge on when things were hard. He had given her hope to carry on no matter what happened. He was the light that came after the end of the tunnel. He was her shelter from the storm that ripped her life at such a young age.
Prince Jnr. turned out to be the sweetest thing that ever happened to her. He was very helpful and resourceful. He looked more like his father each passing day. He was handsome, fun and incredibly intelligent. Maya could not imagine her life without him. He had a strong sense of humour and was very sensitive to her needs. He had been nicknamed “Lawyer” by his school mates and management staff. He always stood for the truth and Maya was proud to have raised a child like him. He was always fighting for one cause or the other.
Jnr. had turned sixteen and for the first-time Maya had organized a big bash for him.
Friends from church, school and the neighbourhood graced the occasion. It was fun to see him so happy. Jnr. entertained his guests with jokes and stories. Yes, he was also a good story teller and composer. He had a way with words just like his father. When he was telling a story, his audience felt like they were watching a movie. He had a unique way of bringing stories to life.
Jnr. had written and read a pleasant ‘tribute’ to his mother that day.
Before he read it, he explained that he knew tributes were read at funerals but he wanted his Mom to know what he thought of her while she was still alive. He said he didn’t believe in reading tributes when the person it was intended for could not hear them.
He said it was silly to do that, and this made everyone laugh.
Jnr. had that special gift which brought peace and happiness wherever he found himself. That was exactly how Maya remembered his Dad.
The message in his tribute was powerful.
It had touched the very core of her soul. She wept as she listened to her son recount their life story in his own way. The words he chose that day made her feel like she was a super human.
“My mother had me when she was only seventeen years old.
She lost her home because of me but she never gave up on me.
She loved me like no other.
She went hungry, so I would eat.
She stayed awake so I could sleep when we were on the streets.
She loved me no matter what.
She made sacrifices only an Angel could make for her guardian.
I would forever be grateful for giving me a chance to be here.
For all the periods you stood by me,
For making me see the truth;
For all the happiness you brought to my life;
For all the wrongs you righted;
For making every dream of mine a reality.
For all the love you showed me;
I’ll forever be grateful Mama.
You propped me up so I could touch the sky,
You stood by me and never left me.
You gave me power when I was weak,
you spoke for me when I couldn’t speak,
you were my eyes when I couldn’t see,
You gave me faith because you believed,
You raised me to be more than I could be,
I have come this far because you loved me.
You gave me wings to that made me fly;
You told me no star was out of reach.
You were always there for me
You were the wind that carried me
You were the light of my life
You are my inspiration.
I stand tall when you stand by me because I had your love.
I’m grateful for each day you’ve given me.
I was blessed because I had someone like you to love me,
My world is a better place because you are in it.
Thank you, Mama, for loving me
Thank you for being there.
Thank you for everything.
Junior had framed it and handed it over to her after he had read it to the gathering of friends and family. He added a picture of her and him when he was just a little boy.
That day, Maya’s son had commissioned the first ‘POP Inn’ for people living in the streets.
It was not anything extravagant. It was a five- storey that had only single bedrooms. Each floor had a washroom, a kitchen, a common room for watching TV and a laundry. Maya was happy she could put that together in her lifetime for the homeless.
Living in the street thought her humility. She took a lot of things for granted. She promised to look for her Uncle someday, when all the bitterness she felt towards him disappeared, and thank him for sheltering her for those years.
Maya was glad the homeless could have a roof over their heads at low cost. The hurdle of looking for rent advance was a thing of the past for most people living on the streets in the city. It was priced per night and payment was daily. She was glad she had taken that step. In a way, she would be earning some money from that too and hopefully she would be able to replicate it in other parts of the city and eventually the whole country.
Maya was sure Prince Osei Poku Snr. would have loved the idea too.
That night when everything was over and the last guest left, Maya retired to her room a little downhearted.
Prince Snr. had filled her thoughts all day.
She wished he could see his son.
She wished he knew they had a child together. She had missed him more than she had imagined. Maya was aware Prince would be married with a family by now but she was not looking for a relationship. All she wanted was her son to get to know his Dad.
She had been able to achieve everything she had hoped for in life except getting married to the man of her dreams. She had also not been able to get her son meet his Dad. That was something that bothered her often.
Prince Jnr. was not demanding. He was very understanding and had not shown any remorse whatsoever for the fact that he never met his Dad. She felt she owed him that at least.
In her desperation to locate Prince, Maya had gone to the Aburi gardens on two occasions hoping there could be something that would help her find him.
The first time she went there was nothing.
It was obvious Prince had came around the second time she went. The thought that he returned to their tree gave her some hope but he only wrote down the date and his initials underneath the memoir they left at the gardens and that was all. There was nothing else to use to locate him.
Maya was extremely disappointed. Prince could have left a number or something more practical. Maya was still struggling to make ends meet that time. She did not have any contact details to leave behind so she left with a heavy heart and decided never to go back to the gardens and their tree again. It was time she forgot him.
She unlocked the drawer by her bedside and brought out a file she had kept all these years.
It contained her journal, some letters, pictures and other souvenirs.
She opened her journal and started to read.
She had not made many entries since she moved to Accra. Life was so fast paced in the city she had not had that luxury to write much. She needed to fill in the blanks.
Her Dad had given her the journal on her tenth birthday. She had written in it every day until her unexpected move to Accra.
She scanned through the pages with smiles and tears as memories flitted through her mind.
She took time to read the entry she made when her father passed.
“I feel like my life has ended. I lost my Dad today. He was very okay in the morning when he left for work. He delayed a bit in coming back home which was very unusual so Mom started calling his friends. His colleagues told her he left for the house around the usual time. Mom was worried but did not want me to worry so she tried to stay calm. Then around ten in the night a call came in. Dad was found unconscious in his car when he stopped at a traffic light and didn’t move when the light turned green. He was rushed to a hospital. Mom rushed to the hospital leaving me with a neighbour. She came back two hours later wailing. Daddy was gone. He never regained consciousness. They found the pizza he promised me that day in his car. I feel so lost. I don’t know what to do.”
Maya had tears in her eyes by the time she reached the end of the entry.
She still missed him so much. He had been her hero. She had looked up to him for everything. She read the tribute she wrote and read for him at the funeral with tears coursing down her face. It still hurt as if she lost him just yesterday.
My Dad, My Hero!
I stand here in wonder!
Is it true or it is a dream?
Are you really gone?
Was hoping it was a lie.
You lie so still
Without a word or a smile
Yet I’m right here.
That is strange
Cos I was always your pride
When I felt sad
You raised my spirits
When I felt weak
You made me feel robust
You were my all
You will forever be my all
It’s hard to say goodbye
Especially to someone you love
But death has given me no choice
Sleep on, Daddy dearest
Until we meet again
In the resurrection
Maya wiped her eyes and closed the journal. She couldn’t take anymore of the pain from that memory.
She tossed it on the bed as her tears blinded her. She was distressed. She still could not understand why her Daddy died. The medical report cited heart failure as cause of death.
“Why, oh why. Why did you leave me, Daddy?”