I Blame It On My Father

A story about Petal, a young blue headed woman working through her family drama and most importantly dealing with her "daddy issues" which have affected her life and relationships so much. On her journey, she struggles with forgiveness, her mother's mental illness and vulnerability in relationships. She did not know that a broken relationship with a father could have such dire consequences. Things become worse, much worse before they become better. A story about hope, love, patience and forgiveness.

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2. Chapter 2

Nomu did not want to be here anymore. They fed her rubbish and they only allowed them one hour of sunshine each day which did not make sense since this place was called Sunshine City. She watched the other women as they gathered their toiletries and took showers. Who came up with this stupid name anyway? The walls were brown, the floors were grey and the bars and gates were grey, the gate watchers were brown. So why the hell Sunshine City? She missed walking around her yard after sunset. It calmed her down and the noise in her head was more subtle then. Since she had been in prison the noise in her head was loud. The only way to not hear it was if she spoke louder than it all the time. She knew that the people in here thought she was crazy. Idiots did not hear this noise like she did because they were not enlightened like she was. There was noise everywhere and in everything but most ordinary people were too dumb to perceive this.

Petal was outside Sunshine City Correctional Facility packing all the sugar and coffee that mommy had asked for into transparent plastic bags. Mommy did not ask for anything else, she just wanted lots and lots of coffee. She was so flustered last night that she forgot to do all this. This morning was quite chilly and she did not feel like waking up too early. Now she was on the metal bench outside the prison parcel counter emptying 4kgs of coffee into transparent plastics.

Why was she so put off balance by the fact that Lilo and Vector were together. She introduced Lilo to Vec and he seemed to like her from the beginning. Maybe she was feeling left out because Lilo was her friend and she did not mention this ever, at all, or maybe it was because she knew that she would lose all that time and attention from Vector, or maybe it was simply because she was in a bad space right now with mommy and Blunt and the evil judge who thought mommy was a fake nutcase.

Huh, how did it get to this place?

She had a chat with Hunn in the morning. Hunn was an older friend and former boss at the Extravaganza Travelling Circus where Petal did a little bit of this and that during her gap year. Hunn was 32 years old and had been in the circus since she was five with her dad. Always a daredevil she married a lion tamer then opened up a pole dancing studio and danced even when she was seven months pregnant! Hunn seemed to know what to tell people to make them feel happier. She promised to accompany Petal to Nomu's next trail.

The bus from the first waiting area to the main waiting area for Sunshine City visitors was very full. There were mothers and children with dried mucous on their faces, men with husky voices talking ghetto and a group of middle aged women talking like they were fighting. Petal dreaded this process. Every Thursday she got to the prison, packed coffee, sugar and sometimes toiletries into transparent plastic bags. Mommy would ask for newspapers sometimes. Once she got off the metal bench she had to get a small piece of paper from the guy in orange at the parcel counter and write mommy's name and surname. She then had to fall in line and have a very bored woman in brown uniform write mommy's name on a list. After this was the first waiting area, then search, then the bus. The bus ride was a short one, about a minute to the men's section and another minute to the females'. Once she arrived she was searched yet again and sat in the main waiting area where everyone waited for their prisoner to be called.

Getting off the bus was always unnecessarily unpleasant; how hard could it be to get out of a bus in single file? The problem was that everyone was pushing and shoving and wanting to be first which really made no difference because they were all still going to wait inside (sometimes Petal waited for hours because mommy was not responding).

It was typical behaviour of section Ds. Not to be uppity or anything, but Petal was grateful that she was not from section D.

People from that section were usually less educated, poverty stricken and the type of people you would find visiting prisons on a Thursday. Thursday was visit day for sections D and C. Petal was from C. Section A had the tycoons, mega celebrities and exorbitantly expensive mansions with a mountain view. It was mainly a residential area for the affluent. Section B was an industrial and business area located centrally with some pricey semi-detached housing complexes on the outskirts. Section C was small businesses, small but comfortable housing and apartments and nosy neighbours. The public transport was efficient and the standard of living okay, but most people wanted to get out and "move up". There was some crime and service delivery was not always on point but it was pleasant unlike section D. Now section D was just another story; the home of the derelicts.

Petal was happy about being born and bred in section C. The As were usually snobby and/or detached from reality because of money and the Ds were uncivilized but were very passionate and emotional - so she felt that the Cs had a right balance of money and heart.

"Nomu Nyoni!" Petal got up and left the waiting area to go and see mommy.

She looked gaunt, her skin had turned from caramel to chocolate brown since she had been in here. Her curly locks had grown past shoulder length over the past months making her look thinner.

They went on opposite sides of the glass window and after the "can you hear me - can you hear me" sound test they began to talk.

"I got you your coffee."

"Hmmm..." mommy looked to the side.

"So do have enough clothes here, did you take a shower, your t-shirt looks thin are you warm enough?"

The awaiting trial detainees wore civilian clothing. Petal would bring fresh clothes sometimes but mommy would not wear them. Whether she lost them or gave them away.... Sometimes Petal would bring in some washing powder, however, with nobody to personally supervise mommy it was common for her to go as long as two weeks without cleaning herself or her clothes.

"I love you mommy. We will get out of this and you will get help."

Suddenly Nomu's face came alive as if she just realised something fascinating but then it returned to its lost expression just as suddenly. She looked to the side again not making eye contact with her daughter. She was not wearing a bra, Petal noticed. What had mommy done with all the clothes that she had brought her?

"Bastard always wanted to destroy my life. Bastard ALWAYS! Blunt is an evil... oh hahahah. He sold his soul and wanted to sacrifice me but nobody will win! Nobody will win! Nobody will wi..."

The wardens had to take her away. Petal was left sitting alone staring at the glass window her forehead creased and her eyes distant. This was not getting any better. She hardly heard anything that her mother said through the thick glass. The whole episode looked even more dramatic soundless. She just saw hands all over the place, her mouth moving in an animated way and her hair shaking from side to side and she knew that today was not a good day.

It was 2PM when Petal left Sunshine City exactly five hours since a very small breakfast and she was quite hungry now. It would be nice to meet up with Vec for a spaghetti Bolognese at Home Style. What was she thinking? No this was a man with a girlfriend who probably had plans to have lunch with his girlfriend. This was an awkward position to be in, things were so much simpler when they were both just single friends hanging. Now his single friend was dating her other single friend and she did not know if she should meet him or her or both and would she become the candlestick or third wheel or something like that? Maybe Hunn was available for lunch and she was pregnant again, pregnant women are always hungry right. By the time Petal got to the bus stop she had decided to buy some two minute noodles and frozen stir fry vegetables from the little shop around the corner from her apartment building. Yes, some noodles and veggie stir fry followed by an episode of "Dancing with the Stars" and then some sleep sounded nice before her night shift. She had arranged with Chia Mia from HR a few weeks ago to work the 9PM to 3AM shift on Thursdays.

While waiting for the vegetables to brown Petal made a cup of tea, switched on the radio and had a look at her emails.

LETTER OF DISMISSAL

This was the title of one of the emails and it was from Chia Mia from HR.

Dear Petal Nyoni

Please be advised that your term of employment at Direct Me has come to an immediate end.

We are deeply saddened and we wish you the best in your future endeavours.

Petal could not read any more. The smell of burnt carrots and cabbage filled the apartment as she read those two lines over and over again. She did not even realise that one of her favourite songs

"Smooth Operator" was playing on the radio. Was this a joke? How could she be fired with no explanation? Should she email Chia Mia from HR right now? No, Petal was irrational when she was in shock, she knew she would say things that she would wish to take back later. She wanted to scream and swear. A wild vision of her burning down the Direct Me building (what she imagined it looked like) and roaring "Burn Bitches!" popped into her mind.

First mommy, then Vec and Lilo, now dismissed without an explanation. All this and she could not even cry. She just stared at the laptop screen with her forehead creased. This must be some kind of curse; how can everything go so wrong at the same time?

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