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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5. Chapter 5

"Nomu Nyoni!" Hmm, they called her quickly today, it must be a good day.

It was a good day, (well as good as it gets for a detained psycho), she was dressed a little bit warmer today and she seemed more aware of the situation. Petal had decided to bring her some roasted chicken; she knew how mommy loved roasted chicken from Home Style. The owner's wife and co-owner Annette had offered to make it extra special for mommy since they had been good friends back in the day, before mommy got married and became so preoccupied with marriage and children.

Being married to Blunt had been a nightmare. He was good at first, (aren't they always), and then he got involved in some "investments". He made so much money and it corrupted him or it just exposed the man who was hiding underneath all along. He built them a lovely house which he hardly slept in and they had two children that he hardly spent time with. After the years of cheating, verbal and physical abuse mommy decided that she wanted a divorce. It was not worth staying in it for the kids. The kids were still small but what good was it staying with a man who was no good for the family. There had been nights when mommy would come crying into the room of an eleven year old Petal. She would quietly slip next to her daughter and suppress the tears. It always made Petal so afraid and unsafe. Why was mommy so afraid of her father? Sometimes Blunt would come stomping upstairs (Petal's heart rate would increase with every stomp and she could feel her mom shivering next to her) and then he would drag mommy by her hair and clothes back to their bedroom. Other times he would climb on top of her, pull down her panties and rape her while she begged him "Please, not in front of the child!" not giving a damn that she was crying or trying to get him off of her. Other times he would just get out of the house and come back a few days later and there would be fear and tears all over again.

When they divorced thirteen years ago Blunt took everything; mommy did not have the energy to fight him – she was severely depressed. She just asked that he let her and her children keep the house. He paid the bond for two more years and suddenly stopped while there was still a huge amount outstanding. Blunt had spent his money like the prodigal son: on parties, prostitutes, and illegal activities. Eventually he was bankrupt and he approached mommy eighteen months ago telling her to sell the house and give him his portion.

It had taken mommy many years to get herself emotionally stable through church and a new job and close friends from the women's fellowship. Petal had always been there for her mother. When Blunt cornered her at the supermarket eighteen months ago, after all those years – it struck a very dangerous and deeply buried nerve in mommy. He followed her around and demanded that she sold the house and give him his portion. Petal was living in her current apartment and Fana was god knows where. Mommy started to lose her mind slowly, she started depending on sleeping pills and started drinking too. When Blunt pointed a gun at her one night and told her to sell or die, they had a struggle and the night ended with Blunt in intensive care and mommy at the back of a police car.

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Petal watched her mommy eat the lemongrass and chilli chicken through the thick glass while she thought to herself: "Why didn't she call me when Blunt was harassing her? Why didn't she tell the women's fellowship? Why did she have to go through all of this alone? I should have probed harder. I always sensed that something was not right whenever I came to visit. I wish I could have been there more." Time was up and a warden came to take mommy away. She took the goodies that Petal had brought for her and before she vanished from behind the glass Petal mouthed I – love – you. Mommy stopped and smiled acknowledging her daughter and then she walked away. Petal stood there tearful, it was moments like that which gave her hope that everything was going to be fine and they were going to come out of this the whole experience fortified.

Petal decided to go to the house and hopefully have a chat with Blunt, maybe convince him to drop the charges against mommy. The house was way out of the central business district. It was at the end of Section C closer to the beginning of Section B however it was closer to the Section C business district. Section B was also more upmarket therefore it made economic sense to have the house in Section C. The tram stop was 500 metres away from the house. Petal planned her words as she walked up.

It was a big house with a cream yellow façade. There was a face brick pathway and stairs leading to the front entrance. The living and dining room had high ceilings with patterns on them. There were three bedrooms and one master bedroom with its own bathroom. From the outside looking in, it looked like a lovely middle class home for a lovely middle class family. Petal knocked on the back door, she noticed the weed pot plants near the unattended garden which used to look so beautiful when mommy still tended it. She knocked again, louder this time and she heard someone mumble. A minute later the door opened and Fana stood there with one hand on the frame. Goodness her brother looked like a mess.

As Petal followed her brother who was dragging his feet and scratching his butt to the living room, she noticed how filthy the house was. There was not a single window opened; the air was thick and stale. The kitchen sink was full of dirty dishes, the floors were filthy. Anybody would be able to tell that whoever was living here did not care at all about their surroundings or hygiene. Vases were chipped, take away boxes and dirty clothes were table cloths, and the furniture was dull from accumulation of dirt.... The place was just a mess.

Blunt walked into the living room with a cigarette in his mouth and the smoke permeated the room.

"Well, well well..." he spoke with the damn thing in his mouth while half squinting his eyes to avoid the smoke. The moment Petal saw him she just felt rage coming up into her face. She always had a face that spoke.

"Do you mind? I don't smoke."

"What do you want here princess? And don't tell me what to do in my house. Sit down." Blunt removed a dry chicken bone from the sofa and dumped himself on it.

"I would if I could actually find a clean spot to sit. Listen I am not planning to stay long, this is not a family reunion. I want to talk about mommy and the case."

Blunt pulled hard on his cigarette and exhaled slowly up into the air. He did not say anything.

"Drop the charges, please. Drop the charges and I will make sure that mommy gets psychiatric help and we will sell the house, you get your share, we get ours and we never have to see each other again." Fana stood leaning with his arms crossed against the back of a chair. He looked across at Blunt and then at Petal, waiting for an explosion. Blunt got up and marched to Petal, his beer belly marching before the rest of him. He got uncomfortably close and stared down at her.

"Because of the shit your old lady did to me, I am pissed. Bitch got me really pissed. I had an open heart surgery. She wanted to get rid of me but I lived." His breath was fetid.

"You came after her with a gun she was just defending herself!"

"Hah! She pulled the trigger princess and because of that I am really pissed and she is not getting a cent from this house. I am keeping it babe and if I sell it all the money is coming to me." He stepped away and grabbed a box of cigarettes and a lighter from the coffee table. He popped the cigarette in his mouth and squinted while he lit it. "I am so fucken pissed right now!" He kicked a sofa. "You and your nutcase of a mother think I will just wave a white flag after you bitches tried to kill me? Can you believe this bitch? (He gestured at Fana)"

Fana looked tired and fearful. Like he knew he had chosen to side with Lucifer.

"Don't you think you have put her, put us through enough? We just want peace. You cannot take the house which you did not even finish paying it off..." "Sure I did! What the hell is this bitch going on about, who do you think bought this big fucken house?"

Petal was burning with rage and pain, but mostly rage. Every time he said the 'b' word it rang in her ears. She let the rage take over.

"Listen here (She pulled the cigarette out of his mouth and threw it on the floor). paid the rest of this house off. All the money that I made in foreign currencies when I was in the circus or on the cruise ships and all the money that mommy had been working so hard for at the department store. It was me and it was mommy who made sure that this house was paid up and we had a decent home. You come out of the dungeons and brothels and think you can have everything...." Before Petal could say any more she felt a hard blow against her face. She stumbled to the ground. She looked up and saw Blunt standing over her, chest heaving. Fana had his arms around his father's waist.

Petal got up slowly. "How can you even side with such trash? This is not a father." Fana averted his eyes. Petal stormed out and banged the door behind her. She ran down the street with tears streaming down her face. "I hate him so much. I hate him. I hate him, I hate him I hate him!" she was screaming in her mind. She did not know where she was going she just kept on running.

She walked around until it was too late to get the tram back to the bus stop. The trams did not operate 24hours, especially in this area. She had to meet with Malik in about an hour. "I will just have to cancel." She thought. She could not possibly meet up with him for the Mediterranean feast when she was perturbed like this. She could not meet with anyone right now.

Since the hot dogs three weeks ago, Malik and Petal had met for lunch at Home Style, a pizza dinner at a very dodge pizzeria and giant milkshakes from the new place down Fifth Street. They discovered that they were both foodies and enjoyed cooking so Petal suggested that they have a Mediterranean themed night. It was going to be at Malik's place and he was going to invite a few other people and Petal invited Hunn – her default best friend. They were both going to cook for their guests.

She dialed Hunn's number and just told her that she was really sorry but she could not make it and if Hunn could please notify Malik.

"....and why don't you just call him and let him know yourself?" she inquired.

"I cannot talk about it Hunn, I do not know the guy that well. It's personal stuff. Please just tell him that I am really sorry."

There were certain things in Petal's life that nobody knew about. She confided in her friends but some things were just too heavy. Like this one. She did not want to burden anyone else with her heavy problems. If there was nothing that they could do about it then why should she stress them with it and make them feel sorry for her or something.

Now it was getting darker and she needed to get home. She just wanted to take a bath and go to bed. She switched on her data and searched taxi companies in the area. She knew that they would charge her a ridiculous price but at least the taxi driver would not ask her too many questions.

Petal climbed up the two flights of stairs to her apartment. Her face was stinging now. She turned the key, opened the door and went inside and finally exhaled deeply. "What a day." She thought. As she was about to close the door, a familiar hand held it open. "Petal! What happened to you?" Malik stood looking at her puffy eyes and bruised face.

Oh no! He was not supposed to see her like this.

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