I barely got to know my mom. I was adopted within weeks of my birth. He went against his family to bring me home – the dimpled guy with eyes that closed when he smiled.
They used to call him ‘dada’.
He was an active man; made me run around morning, noon, and night. We ate together, drank together (water, milk, beer a few times, when no one was home *hick*), slept, played, walked, sat on the bench outside and daydreamed together. We, basically, lived together.
Though his family was a little reluctant to accept me in the beginning, they started getting fond of me as days passed by. I was now pampered by ‘mummy’, ‘pappa’ and ‘taayi’ as well. I was getting to love this family who loved me back unconditionally (because they always fed me what I wanted.)
A lot of dada’s friends came home to see me when I was younger. I played with them all. I remember only a few faces now, though, and see none. I don’t know why.
I was jealous of one of them, though – a round-faced girl who came home with dada a few times every month, then every week, then almost every day. I pounced on her a lot many times and tried to scratch her too, to express my dislike. But she loved me back, like the family did, each time. So, I started loving her too. I waited for her to come home every evening. She came to ‘teach’ dada something with books and pens. Well, I am not sure if she was a good teacher because I never needed any of those to learn.
Dada looked at her in a very different way. He played with her as well. I was ignored when she was around, especially when no one was home but them and me. I wanted to play with them too. But as soon as I went close by, they would stop playing, as if I was unwanted in the game. I never understood this thing.
She cooked amazing food. The aromas use to make me salivate. She fed me with her hands too. I, sometimes, got crunchy, funny-shaped packaged food to eat too. But I loved the eggs and chicken she cooked for me. I miss that.
But then, one day, she paid the steel prick using man to use other big steel tools on me when I was bleeding profusely and was in immense pain. I thought she wanted to kill me so that she alone could play with dada throughout her life. But I have heard that she was actually helping me to get out of pain. I don’t know how that makes sense but my pain did vanish. Wonder where she disappeared. Did she not know my love for her after what she had done for me?
But then, I doubt if dada did either.
Suddenly the entire household was always arguing, with dada on one side and the whole family on the other. Taayi stopped talking to him too. But that happened since she started getting another dada home. He too visited often. I did not like him as much as I liked the round-faced girl. But since he started visiting often this girl visited much less. I did not know what was happening and who loved me more.
The new, tall dada would not visit when dada was home. The whole family seemed to love the new dada more.
Then one fine day, dada left. He argued, then packed his bags and never came back.
I waited all day, every day. The round faced girl was never seen again either. Then after many, many days a lot of new and seen faces visited our house all at the same time. I was scared. I wanted to be alone on the bench outside, with dada. That’s what we used to do when too many people came home. A few days later taayi dressed up in pretty clothes and came home with the new dada. She packed her bags too. She was going to never come back. I was sad. Where was everyone going, one by one? Why did they not take me along? Was I not that loved?
But one day, taayi came back. She really did. The new dada came with her. She kept coming back, not forever though. If she packed her bags and came back then why did my dada not? I wondered. I still wonder. Did he go to a faraway place? Did someone else adopt him and take him to a new home like he adopted me and got me here? But he was older. His parents were with him. Then who adopted him?
Mummy and pappa take me for walks now. They feed me everything. I don’t get eggs or chicken anymore though. I can’t trouble them for what I want like I used to trouble dada. I can’t be myself anymore. It’s been very many days I haven’t seen dada. I can smell him sometime though, as if he were around. But by the time I turn to see, mummy calls me and drags me home. I don’t know what’s going on. Is he around? Am I just imagining things? I don’t know. I am still looking for answers. My instincts say he’s around, because as far as I know my instincts have never lied. I miss him. I don’t know what happened to the round-faced girl. Did she pack her bags and leave like taayi did? Why does taayi keep getting the other dada home? Is he my new forever dada? But dada was not forever.
All I know is a few days ago, mummy raged with anger when she got a call. I could hear the round-faced girl talking. But then mummy said everyone’s dead and hung up. What does that even mean?
Why didn’t mummy and pappa adopt the round-faced girl like the new dada adopted taayi? That way I could have had all my favourite people living under one roof. Why didn’t dada take me with him? Does he not want me anymore? Or does he miss me but can’t do anything because he is dead? What does being dead even mean? Does it mean people never come back? If that is what it is then I want to be dead too. I hope I go where dada went so we can live our happy days again. I love him. I still do. But does he? If he does then, dear God, please send him back. Please.
P.S: Dedicated to Alisha, our one true love. We don’t know if you remember us, we don’t know what you are thinking, we can only guess. All we know is that we miss you and hope you miss us too. Wish to see you soon and spend the rest of our short lives together. It was love that brought us together and love that separated us. Pray love brings us back together again.