Baaba once told me the story of a man who had worked so hard for many years.He traveled around the world building big business empires.He amassed so much and became extremely wealthy.But because of the nature of his work that he always had to travel he never got to marry and build a family.Despite his successes in business he felt so lonely.One day he decided to get himself something for companionship.And so he got himself an aquarium because of his love for exotic fish.He kept a large one hundred litter aquarium in his house and enjoyed watching the myriad rainbow of fins flashing within his miniature ocean.He properly equipped the aquarium with state-of-the-art mechanisms which would automatically clean the tank,release food and keep the temperature constant.
One day however,in his harry to catch a flight to a business trip he forgot to adjust the thermostat on the aquarium.When he returned,he found that the water had over heated and his beloved fish had died due to suffocation.He grieved over his loss and wondered what the fish may have thought as the temperature went up and oxygen low.He wondered;did the fish scream in silence? Did they beg for someone,anyone,to turn down the heat?amid their suffering and struggle to survive,did they wonder where their owner had gone to?did they wish he would storm into the room and adjust the thermostat and rescue them before it was too late…..?
Baaba ended his story by saying he considered us (his five children) his exotic fish and he promised he would always be there to adjust the thermostat if ever there should be such need.As he told me this I saw it in his eyes just how serious he was with his promise.At this point I couldn’t help but remember my journey to find my father figure in the man he was….
I met him a few years back but it was not until when I hit twenty that he and I started bonding in the way a man and his son should.Baaba was amazing.He was my best friend.At twenty he still held my hand as we walked to church.It was at twenty that he taught me how to ride a bike for the first time.I remember him holding the bike down as I climbed on it and he held on as I peddled for the first time.He ironed my shirt and took me to lunch on a few occasions.It was great that fate had given us the second chance to relive the life that we never had the opportunity to live when I was five or younger.It was WONDERFUL….
For a man the twenties are the times you are tested.It is the time you are getting to the university or you are about to go to college and you need to decide which course to take,for some it is the time you have landed your first job and you are under pressure to perform and impress to keep the job,to others it is the time you are entering your first serious relationship and you are quite inexperienced on these matters.The twenties are a difficult stage for a man and I am no exception…..
But I was happy that Baaba had come into my life and I at this time when I needed a father figure he was there. He and I were working and discovering our relationship and getting to know each other.There is so much I needed to ask him,so much I needed to know from him.But as fate would have it,he and I were never really meant to be together.Baaba started getting sick and our Dad and Son moments became lesser and lesser as his health failed him by day.When he got admitted to the hospital I chose to stay by his side to tend to him as best I could.I cleaned up after him,I shaved him,I fed him,I took him for his X-rays and even learned how to change his drips.Just doing everything I could to stay close to him…..
But everything I was doing was not enough because two weeks later I was standing in front of his grave just looking at the heavy boulders we had placed on it so that rain water would not wash away the soil and leave his grave bare.The cross that bore his name stared back at me as if to tell me to move on….
There was so much I NEEDED TO ASK HIM,Who was he really?Who was I to him?What did he see when he looked at me?Had I turned out to be the man he thought I would become at my age then?and what would he have done if he was the one in my position?I wondered how he settled on doing the same odd job for all the years I had known him?and how did he find school?what kind of dreams did he have while he was there?is that where he met Maama?how did he approach her and did she play-hard-to-get?How was it when he found out that he loved her and wanted to spend the rest of his life with her?I wondered,just like the fish in that aquarium,could he hear me ask these questions.I felt like I was having a phone conversation with him and just when I was about to ask him the most important questions his battery went low on charge and his phone went off and I could not reach him any longer.And,again, just like the fish in the aquarium I wondered where was Baaba…..?
Two years have passed since Baaba went to be with his Lord and am wondering what kind of man have I become?I have have failed him terribly.I failed to treat Joy very with the love,understanding,respect and patience she deserves.I failed to treat my friends well,Instead I have wanted to be in control and have everything done my way.I could not survive when Dottie left instead I wallowed in self-pity.I have not entirely been a good big brother to my siblings yet they have all looked up to me with such admiration, love and respect.I have have not fulfilled the responsibilities fully that Baaba left to me.
And as I struggle to find my footing again,to raise up and become the Man Baaba would have been proud to call his first born,I am wondering can he see me? Like the fish in the aquarium I am screaming out in silent to Baaba.Can he hear me?Can he charge in and rescue me? Can he be my hero? Can he come and adjust the thermostat before the water that surrounds me reaches he boiling point and I run out of air and suffocate to death.Can he come and turn on the light in my room that I may be able to see my feet and start walking in his frame again?Can he come and stop these walls from caving in on on me? CAN HE HEAR ME SCREAM?
I wanna feel his son again.Like a boy who has gone to school for the first time and done well in his first test,I need him to be home when I bring my results.I need him to hold the bike again as I peddle through the storms of Masculinity and navigate through destiny into becoming the man of my dreams.I want to see is smile as he gives me a pat on my back when I have done well.I wanna bend my head in shame when he reprimands me for making a mistake.
I know Maama saw the King in me a long time ago and she has tried to nurture my giftedness though with difficulty because there are things that Maama can never be able to teach a Man.I need my Baaba,the aura of his presence and his Fatherly Essence.Can he hear me SCREAM