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“Fathers are disappointing”. These are the most vivid words I could use to describe the year 2020. And I’m sure, seated wherever you are, you’d be bewildered wondering why someone with such a wonderful writing talent would dare rubbish the name of a parent. A parent, the next thing after God! Ha, the nerve! But then you’re oblivious to the root cause of such a morbid elaboration of an influential figure.

The year would’ve done much better. Then God, being the genius He is decided to take us back to default settings. Remind us that beyond looking for money, we need each other more. Guess what, that plan worked. Maybe way too good. And I being as human as I am, with no link to angel Gabriel or even Micah suffered the same fate. I went back to my roots and tried to find ground in this jungle called a father-son relationship.

We’ve had a relationship with the closeness of a collaboration between Maroon Five and Maroon Commandos, nonexistent. Not because I didn’t know him before this, but because I don’t know him anymore. A man I was proud of calling my father. I could be beaten by a teacher for wearing too many boxers to school just so I can protect my small, 10-year-old bum. But I’d wear the pain with a smile knowing too well dad was a kanjo, he’d come to arrest this teacher who committed this federal crime. Beating up the son of a kanjo. And when they’d ask me if my dad has a gun, I’d nod vigorously and say yes then whisper to them “but he usually hides it from us”.

Right up there was a kid proud of his father until well, apart from the pandemic, he let me down. From the high pedestal I put him, he dropped faster than a nuclear bomb and became irresponsible. He started drinking like his lungs needed more alcohol than oxygen. Vodka tasted better than the satisfaction of seeing your child happy. This man I thought I knew all along, became a fiction of my imaginations. A frame of a father I once knew.

While other families were getting closer and trying to make sense of the sudden imposed family time, another family man was somewhere sampling the thighs of a bottle of Kenya Cane. Caressing them and whispering sweet nothings to it. Telling it how lovely it looks in a glass with a combo of cold Fanta. That it should marry Sprite because they make such a wonderful couple. I was jealous that this concoction was getting better treatment than I, his son. And it bit me, deep. I started thinking of ideas that could probably book me a room in Kamiti. Like killing Kenya Cane in cold blood, or maybe poisoning it. But then how do you poison? All these ideas were just me burning time. And they really succeeded.

In that fleeting moment of a year( I sound like a century-old vampire), I learned that fathers can be disappointing. It doesn’t matter their genes run in our bodies. They’re human and as human as one can be, irresponsibility is part of it. I hated him for it, rather wanted to hate him. But logic says hate is fuel thrown on the ground, waste. So I sucked it up and decided we’d cohabit in this relationship like two brothers with a hate-love relationship.

From irresponsibility to utter nonchalance when it came to matters school, I then realized that I had lost this man. Now I stare at him with the look of a hurt son. My pride was wounded, left on a cold surgery table to die, gradually like the heart of a man with a bottomed out a lung. This man I so trusted, just showed me disappointing fatherhood in 2020. And as I embrace the tidings of this new year, I hope I won’t be a disappointing father.

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