When I let Dad go to the light, was the first time I put pen to paper.
It wasn’t so much a sad song, as much as a sure celebration of the Angels who were welcoming him. My first true poem from the heart was inspired by losing the man I feel I have never lost.
He lives in me, as that confident voice when I made my first soup that was a disaster. I was 8 and threw in all the vegetables with two maggi cubes. He sat there, ate it somehow and told me that it was the most delicious thing, he had ever had. After that I made it for him often, even on the night when he didn’t get to taste it.
I find his diary from 95, the year in which we parted, to find in it a business meeting with the Queen of England. I smile to myself and while I am proud of him for reaching the skies quite literally, this is far from what makes me love and adore that man.
When we were young, every Sunday we would go the marketplace to buy crabs, prawns and lobsters, and he would cook for us and mom. I went there a year ago on my birthday to put together a seafood dinner for friends. The fisherwomen who hear I am his daughter, grab my face with their fishy fingers and kiss it.
The rich may forget but the poor never do, those whom touch their heart. For they have no other reason but love, to remember. It is they, who make me feel my father’s heart.
In my memories he isn’t the dreamer busyman that people tell me he was. He is the man who told me stories and sang me songs to sleep, the man who danced and laughed with me, and drove us home like a proffesional race car driver after dinners, with my mom and me screaming terrified and my brother delighting in the same skill of drifting that has flowed into him.
If it’s supposed to be sad, I have never seen it this way. For in losing him, I have learned early the fragility of fame and wealth, and the strength of love that towers far beyond it! I will meet him again, of this I am certain!
Perhaps I was too young to realize or feel the gravity of it all, or if I did, there was that woman, who has for ever shielded me from everything with her mountainous love.
Mom is the epitome of love and patience who has borne everything : from my complete refusal to study those pages of boredom in school, to my changing dreams. Mom I want to be “a cricketer, a dancer, a model, a pilot, a businesswoman, an interior designer, no wait a fashion designer.”
From being called in to the principal’s office for accidentally jumping on top of a teacher, to the teenage years of rebelling and breaking everything from rules to plates, she has been there patiently and despite who or how I was, lovingly.
Even when I have chosen wrongly and made a mistake.
Even though no one had asked me to, somewhere in my heart I wanted to reach the skies like my father and in my own version of it, I envisioned fashion lines all over the world, not realizing how foolish that was. While in London studying fashion, I found myself alone without all that I had always known myself to be, and in that time I remembered how I have always loved words. How I could never get past single digits in Math class, but how my hand was perpetually raised in class if someone had to read or tell a story.
I wrote here often and visited the ‘British library’ more than I did any fashion store. I was so scared to admit it to myself then. Not another mistake, that I had come so far to make, in another country.
After it all, tears streaming down my face, I turned to my mother, “Mom I don’t want to do this. I just want to write, to travel and dance.” I was expecting a storm of utter disapproval but instead all I got, from the woman who has let the world be my playground was, “It’s okay, leave the past behind. It’s done, so now do what you want to do.”
Mom, Dad thank you for falling in love, being love and weaving our lives with the love that you are.
by Shenaz Wahid