My father’s secret now my trouble

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My father had four children before I came into his life. He had four girls. He wanted a boy. He wanted three kids but because he didn’t have a boy in his first three children, he decided to keep going until finally I arrived. I brought a party into his life—joy unmatched. He changed as a man. He was a different husband—the one my mom married was long gone. He made it clear in the house that I was the one he was waiting for and once I arrived, he relegated everyone to the background and brought his focus on me.

Nobody told me I was my daddy’s favourite child. I saw it as early as four or five years. He didn’t allow anybody to touch me, even my mom. I was the reason he came home early from work. I was the reason he started attending PTA meetings. I was his reason. I was his sunshine. He spoilt me. I became his talking mate as soon as I started talking. He would come home late and would apologize to me for not coming home early. When my sisters needed something, they passed it through me to tell my father. They knew if I said it like it was coming from me, Dad would provide it. Slowly, I became the mouthpiece of the family though I was the youngest. I don’t know, maybe that’s why Dad saw a confidant in me and started confiding in me.

He had other women. Maybe mom was aware but decided not to fight about it or they talked about it in their closet. When he met a woman he liked, he came to tell me about it. When I came of age, he started telling me about these women and told me not to be like him when I grew up. “I’m not telling you this because it’s a good thing. I’m telling you because I’ve never had anybody I talk to and I don’t want to die with my secrets.”

So he told me about the kids he had on the side; two of them. They were both girls.When he couldn’t have a boy child, he thought the problem was from my mom so he decided to look elsewhere for a solution. The first woman had a girl. He intentionally denied the child just to avoid responsibility. He went for another woman who also gave him a girl, Diana. He came to the conclusion that the problem was him and not any of the women. He went back to the first woman with an apology and accepted to be the father of the child. Right after that, my mom got pregnant again and I resulted. He told me this story and asked me not to tell anyone about it. I was in Senior High School at the time. So, just I kept mute.

One day he visited me in school with one of my sisters from the other side, Diana. I took her address and we started writing to each other. I loved her. She told me about her mom and how she was raised. The important role dad played in their lives and all. I was glad they were well taken care of and I was happy I had a sister in her. When I was getting married, Diana attended my wedding but nobody knew about her. She was with my dad. Every photo they took of my Dad, Diana was by his side. After the wedding, I sat my dad down and told him, “Don’t you think it’s about time you told Mom about the other kids? They need to come home or come out from the hole they are hiding in. They deserve this at least.”

He rubbished my opinion. He didn’t only rubbish my opinion but he told me: “Your mom is too old to have her heart broken. She loves me and sees me as the ideal husband. I want that to remain until she dies. When she’s gone, she wouldn’t need to know the truth to get hurt.”

Mom was older so he thought mom would die first. He was too sure about that but just last month, Dad died, leaving behind a strong sixty eight years-old widow. The house was in turmoil. The patriarch who held the family together was gone. He left behind cars, houses, businesses and secrets. As they cried for the loss of a father, I cry for two reasons. The loss of a father and the fact that I should be the one to tell the truth about Dad’s other children. I’m their witness. I can’t run from that.

I mourn this fact more than I mourn my dad. I speak to Diana all the time. The other girl, I don’t know her that much but she knows about me and she knows I know about her too. They would come home very soon. Their mothers are also alive. They know I know about them and they would point at me and say: “His son knows about us.”

I can imagine Mom turning to me with tearful eyes and asking me when I got to know about them. I can imagine her asking why I didn’t tell her. “You love your father, I know but did you hate me that much?” I dreamt she was asking me this question and I didn’t have an answer to give her. It was same with my sisters too. They might even think I’m conniving with some people to strip them of their share of the properties my father left behind. They will hate me I know. They’ve always been looking for a reason to hate me for being Dad’s favorite and this is the time.

I’m lost. I’ve discussed this with Diana. She tells me I should tell our family head to deliver the news if I’m too scared to be the one to tell it. But I don’t think the family head can deliver the news without pointing at me. Even if he can deliver, what about Diana? How do I explain the fact that she was at my wedding? There are photos to prove my relationship with her. I’m now the black sheep of the family. I am the one who helped his father to hide the greatest sin. “The sins of the fathers shall be visited upon their children,” the Bible says. The sins are already here and I’m the one who is hosting them. How do I make this painless for everyone involved?

— Agyeman

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