In the woods

I saw this painting in my Family House and Cried like a child..To you it’s a silly painting but to me it represented my innocence 

I was six years old when my dad was called to keep the peace in Liberia,he was a colonel in the Nigerian Army,my parents had my younger sister(rose)she was 3 and I, my mom was a principal in a local elementary school,command primary school owned by the Federal government. We were not indigenes of the area because my dad was posted there but he was respected as I recall.

On the 9th of August 1989,my dad was assigned to to Monrovia on active duty with some Nigerian dignitaries to go for peace talks,it was just a week and some days to my birthday, I was furious as hell..Dad never misses my birthday,he’d always try to make sure we celebrated it as a family.Before I woke up on the morning of the 9th,he’d left..Mom was the strict one, she always made sure we were tough while my dad was the one we ran to for saving when mom brought out a cane to straighten us when we broke a vase or came back home dirty.They were both disciplinarians but my dad was so lenient with us that one sad face sent him running to the store to get us candies..mom on the other hand,was used to pupils,students and mischief of children.She knew how to discipline us appropriately.

She was not from my dad’s tribe,she was the only daughter of her parents..She was the first child with a difference of 10years before her mom had her younger brother Uncle Caleb,they were just two.Uncle Caleb was such an amazing person as I recall always got us sweets and toys to play with whenever he came visiting.Though Uncle was then a full grown man,he held so much respect and fear for my mom..she’d often shout him down if he overstepped and then patted him on the back,she was the diplomatic one while my dad was shoot first ask questions later.So That morning I went to my parent’s room as I always did to lay in between them and cuddle close,usually on a school day,my mom would wake us up and got us ready while my dad’s orderly got the car ready,..his name was Joshua and he was a pleasant fellow,always polite to us(maybe because my dad was his boss I guess).Mr Joshua always took us to and fro from school after lessons,with my mom in the car too.

So on the said Saturday morning,he’d driven my dad to the Army barracks and came home to read a newspaper as he always did every morning,he’d wait until my dad but in this case mom told him to go.He didn’t come on sundays,so dad drove us to church himself.Dad wasn’t strict with him I actually thought he was my brother while growing up until I understood what an orderly meant,he’d spent 3years assigned to my dad and was a corporal I think. Mom always tried to prepare a sandwich for him too while we had breakfast.He would drop us off first then come back to pick my dad,who always got to work by 9.am prompt.

when I woke up,my mom was already cleaning the house and the laundry lady was there already,I asked for dad and she told my to go brush my teeth,wake rose up and come down for breakfast.After doing that,Rose and I came downstairs and went to the dining table,when I saw mom sitting down where dad would normally sit,I knew he wasn’t home.We said grace and mom explained to us after breakfast that dad had gone on an official assignment and would be back in a couple of weeks.I asked when and she said “probably September “,I was so mad at him but didn’t say anything..

Days went by,I missed dad terribly I just wanted him home so I could tell him how mad at him I was and he’d carry me me and kiss me on the cheeks and say he’s sorry..

On the 13th of of November 1989,it’d been more than two months since dad said he would come home and he hadn’t,I knew it was work but I missed him..Rose was mommy’s girl so She didn’t really feel dad’s absence like I did.A letter came from Liberia it was my dad and he was requesting mom got us ready and packed to come to Monrovia to be with him for a few days..I just came back from my painting lesson and painted how I felt alone without dad,me in the woods alone,Little red riding hood when she told us we were going to Monrovia and that dad’s job had been successful..

I ran to Mr Joshua and asked if it was really true and he smiled and said yes( not that I didn’t believe mom,I guess it was just me reaffirming it from dad’s right arm man).

i was so excited as dad had never taken us on any peace mission before (not that I knew what that meant at the time) ,I was so glad and couldn’t wait to meet him..

My experiences in Liberia and how it changed my life forever during the next couple of weeks will be posted on my next write up..thanks for your Audience

paul.

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