the short story project


Fatimah Aderinto


The way your legs moved
Soundlessly, up and set onto the floor
Again and again,
While wearing fleecy winter socks
Preparing to put on your boots,
Facing downwards at the clear faced floor
Of our house that very afternoon.
I didn’t feel light, my gestures dimmed
As you didn’t turn to look at me
To bid a goodbye to school.

Days before, father kicked the bucket,
The funeral gave away a bad aroma
On this family, brother won’t step out onto our porch,
To wave at the house to go to school, anymore,
Mother sat in the corner where her husband relaxed every evening,
While reading ‘the daily newspaper’.
She, tirelessly weeping for several days
Hadn’t given up her sorrow, her eyes reddened in fear of ever letting her children go too.

But, I checked up on everyone to ensure safety,
No one had entered our living room to gather for evening folktales, no one wanted stories, the dawn of father’s death was as good as reality.
But I wrote letters to mother and both of my siblings. I was the oldest of us three, watching the mourning in our house for the past month has soaked my heart in razor, tearing the memories of my father’s departure apart.

The letters weren’t enough, they sobbed even harder
As they envisioned father when they touched every single word I wrote,
Memories for them didn’t help, it worsened everything they had left to remember.

I was always taught by my father,
That anything that God has taken
Is for a unique purpose.
I pondered as the days went by,
Inculcating the words my dad had spoken,
Writing them out on different pieces of paper,
from all the years I had lived to be with him.
They all had a connection,
The message was a powerful reminder
A strong voice that silently unraveled everything for me.

Though my dad had told my siblings and I, many quotes of his,
It was the only luggage I had brought to travel on the journey of my life
It was the only memory that fate had me tangling around with.

Once he said, life was a shadow that never cast when the sun was out,
I thought critically, but how does life work that way.
Until now, I believe life is a hidden place that opens up to a box of treasure. But what was the key to open it?
Father must have been really knowledgeable,
His words and perceptions were full of amazement, I smiled carefully.

After a while of compiling all the words he revealed till the day he died,
I figured that father left this place suddenly, to another abode,
Even before his death, he couldn’t say words of his heartful goodbye.
But I found that the words he told us had grown to have meaning.
Father gave us the luggage of his words
While he left in a plane from this world,
Now we’re going back home,
To rest, for this family, he made an airport,
Where anyone could leave anytime,
And the goodbye will linger in our heart forever.


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