“What exactly are you saying, Mrs. Ibekwe?” my wife, MaryAnn, asks the principal in that soft, calm, barely audible voice that had attracted me to her in the first place. She seems to be well in control of the situation, and thus I have resigned myself to watching and silently gauging the situation. I haven’t yet felt the need to speak. Maybe if things got a bit more escalated….
I shoot a side glance at my daughter, standing between her mother and myself, fingers clasped in front of her, head bent low, staring at her feet. She’s obviously trying really hard to look remorseful, but I know she’s cooking up something in that mind of hers. I can almost see the wheels turning in her skull. The amount of intelligence my daughter possesses is far too advanced for her age, in my opinion. And, in as much as the outstanding academic performance that this intelligence yields makes me proud, it sometimes gives me cause to worry. This is one of those times.
Whatever she’s scheming, a part of me knows I am the focal point. My darling MaryAnn is hardly the disciplinarian. She seldom ever yells, and never raises a hand to any of the children no matter how upset they make her. Well, at least not with Tobi. Admittedly, I am largely to blame.
Tobi is our youngest of seven girls. Yes, seven girls. As much as I’m ashamed to admit it, my actions and some words may have pushed MaryAnn to keep trying for a boy. When she conceived the seventh time, I was certain the child was male. Call me stupid, but I went ahead and got prepared without even so much as a confirmation ultrasound.
The delivery day was a punch bowl of emotions for me. I dare say I was even more anxious than my wife, who was simultaneously screaming and breathing. I stood next to her and held her hand while she pushed. I don’t remember how she ended up in my arms. I simply remember the doctor announcing “It’s a girl.”, and then feeling something I couldn’t quite describe as I held her against me.
I held her in my arms, and resolved that she would be my treasure. The one to end my waiting and fill the hole I’d left open, for what seemed like a millennium, in expectation of a male offspring. Nothing I bought was returned or put in storage. I’d spent good money in preparation for a son, and God forbid I let it waste.
Access to Tobi was restricted. I had a business to run, so I had to set up an office at home just to ensure she was constantly under my supervision. No creche or kindergarten, I was Tobi’s tutor. Why waste perfectly good money on those ridiculously exorbitant babysitters when I could teach her all she would need to know myself? I selfishly kept Tobi to myself, away from her sisters, and time with her mum was the bare minimum.
Work started taking a toll on me, and I had to enroll her in a primary school. But I made sure she was thoroughly engaged with sporting activities, and I continued to spend all my free time with her. Showering her with trips and gifts, and spoiling her against my better judgment.
I taught her as well. To be strong, physically and otherwise, assertive, and hard working. I taught her what it means to be a man. To know what she wants and go for it. To never back down, never show fear. I built her. I thought I could mold her into the son I’d always wanted.
Most of this molding occurred on camping trips I started taking her on when she was eight. Sadly, it was also on one of these camping trips that things started to go awry.
Being with me all the time, Tobi had seen and heard a lot of things. Most of which she shouldn’t have. I’d noticed she’d started behaving inappropriately, but brushed it off. At most, I scolded her on few occasions. That particular night during our camping trip is easily my worst memory. Thinking about it now sends chills down my spine.
At bedtime she complained of being cold, so I’d invited her to come share my sleeping bag. Waking up in the middle of the night to my baby grinding her naked body against me was beyond shocking. I’d stared in disbelief for a couple of seconds before addressing her. When did she take her clothes off? And why are my shorts pulled down? “Tobi, what are you doing?”
“I’m so cold, daddy. I’m just trying to get warmer.”
“Where are your clothes?”. Silence. “Tobi! I asked you a question.”
“In the corner.”
“Tobi, stop this right now and go put your clothes on.”
“No?” Needless to say, I was beyond shocked. Tobi had never disobeyed me.
“No. I want you to teach me” And then I felt her tiny hands close around me. “Like the girls in those videos you watch.”
My baby was jerking me off. I should have pulled away. I shouldn’t even have been hard. But I was. And I was enjoying the feel of those soft, little palms slowly sliding up and down my shaft. And then, I made the single biggest mistake of my entire life. I whispered in her ear as my hand slid round her and cupped her mound. “You can’t tell your mum, or anyone at all, about this.”.
“I know, daddy. And you’re mine now.”
She’d gone on to torture me with guilt and threats from that day on. I was potty in her hands, and she bent me to her every whim and desire.
Getting her to go off to boarding school was the absolute worst. I’d pretended to be against it, but was glad my wife was insistent. Convincing Tobi was the difficult part. Eventually, she gave in when I told her people would suspect there was some inappropriate relationship going on between us if she stayed home.
Now, here we are.
My mind is drawn back to the present, and I watch Tobi intently. She’s avoiding eye contact. Tapping her feet. “Tobi.” She looks up at me. “What do you have to say for yourself?”
“Daddy, I’m sorry. But I really like Anari. I didn’t mean to upset anyone.” The look in her eyes are defiant. Like she’s secretly daring me to punish her. I’d taught her too well.
My wife starts to mumble something about her speaking nonsense and the principal is going on about one punishment or the other. I think she’s suggesting suspension. But all that didn’t matter. My eyes are locked on Tobi’s. Without her uttering a word, I know. This is her revenge for being sent away. Now, she was daring me to keep her away. Knowing there would be hell to pay for the decision I’m about to make, I paste a smile on my face and look up at the principal. “That won’t be necessary,” I said. And then I turned to her. “Tobi, go pack your things. We’re leaving.”
Hi. So, I’m here again with my monthly post. This was kinda inspired by my contribution to decades II. Some of the comments made me decide to attempt to write it from the father’s perspective. He’s supposed to be the victim. I’m not sure how well I’ve portrayed this, which is why I’m putting this after the story. I wanted you to read it, and have your own individual, unpolluted thoughts about it.
So, please leave your unbiased comments below. I’d really appreciate it as I’m trying to broaden my scope (that’s the correct phrase, ba?). Thanks.