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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6. Chapter 6

Petal had not had a chance to look at her face in the mirror, but the look on Malik's face told her that she did not look too well. He looked really concerned. Petal did not know what to say; she could not possible tell him the truth.

"Malik, I am so sorry I had to cancel on you it's just that...err something came up."

"Petal what on earth happened, look at your face? Were you bleeding?"

Petal ran to the mirror in the bathroom leaving Malik standing near the door.

She closed the bathroom door and rushed to the mirror. There was a bruise covering her cheek and chin, it was still pinkish, it would be purple or dark blue tomorrow – she could feel it. There was also dry blood on her chin where she had felt the stinging. She suddenly remembered that Blunt had on a huge black ring on the index finger of his right hand, that's probably what cut through her skin. Her eyes were slightly puffy, they too would be puffier tomorrow. They stung when she closed them. She leaned with her hands against the basin while staring at her reflection. She looked shaken up and tired. This face reminded her of someone, the similar tired and scared expression – it was Fana.

There was a knock on the bathroom door. Malik was genuinely concerned but Petal wished he had disappeared while she was in the bathroom. She opened the cold water tap and let the water run for a few seconds, drowning the sound of the knock at the door. She splashed some water on her face and felt the cut sting even more. How was she going to explain any of this to Malik without sounding like a broken person with a dramatic life? How was she going to let him know that her own father did this to her? She opened the bathroom door slowly.

"Petal what happened tonight?" Malik was almost whispering.

"Something happened and I could not make it to the Mediterranean feast anymore, I am so sorry."

"Petal, I am not concerned about the Mediterranean feast. Hunn told me that you could not come and I found it strange that you could not tell me yourself and also because you were so excited about cooking and everything. Hunn said you did not sound O.K so I came to see what was wrong and evidently something is wrong."

Petal shook her head slowly and exhaled deeply. She opened her mouth to talk but the words couldn't leave her mouth. Malik put his hands gently on her shoulders. He noticed how shaken up she was and realised that something major had happened. He did not want to force her to confide in him and he did not want her to feel cornered.

"Hey, let me make you a cup of tea and you just have a seat."

"Alright"

Malik managed to find his way around the small kitchen. The apartment was an open plan bachelor therefore Petal could see everything that he was doing. He made two mugs of Jasmine tea which he found in the cupboard. The floral aroma filled the air. He heated some milk and put it on the tray in a milk jug along with honey and a couple of lemon slices.

Petal went over to the kitchen counter and sat on a bar stool. Malik sat across her and handed her a mug.

"You know I don't drink Jasmine tea with milk, lemon or honey."

"Really! And you let me prepare all these things."

"Well you seemed so enthusiastic about making tea so I did not want to spoil your fun." Petal laughed a little and blew on her tea then took a sip. The heat relaxed hr tension. She noticed Malik looking at her.

"Petal. I know that we have not known each other long at all but I want you to know that you can trust me. I do not mean you any harm. I just want you to know that you've got a friend in me."

He looked and sounded so sincere. "I know you mean well Malik but I do not make friends so easily."

"Honestly, neither do I. I mean I make acquaintances easily but I am a little bit more particular with friendships and other close relationships. I have to tell you though that I was drawn to you from the moment that I saw you on the train that night, perhaps the blue hair had something to do with it? I don't know what it is... but it made me drive all the way to you to give you your phone, it made me look forward to seeing you for our eat out meet ups and it made me come here tonight. I really like you Petal."

Petal swallowed hard, suddenly it was hard to breathe. What was Malik saying? This was getting uncomfortable.

"Malik. I don't think you want that."

"Want what?"

"To date me."

"How do you know that?"

"Because. You cannot see someone on a train and.... (She put her tea down and stood up). Malik, I am not good at these things. You seem like a really nice person and we can be really good friends but that's all."

Malik stood up as well, "I did not just see you on a train, yes at first I saw you on a train but then I met you for hot dogs and other stuff and we had conversations. I really really like you. I want to meet you for milkshakes and I want to be there for you when you have bruises on your face."

Petal looked away and turned her back towards him. She did not want to tell him that she really really liked him too but she did not want to act on that because she was afraid that it would all be a mess and she was not good at this lovey-dovey stuff and what about all her family problems? Relationships were too emotional, they were too personal and they exposed weaknesses.

Malik stood there thinking. Petal was beautiful and friendly but she was so guarded. She had a brokenness that made him want to get closer. He wanted to get to know her better, to understand her – all of her, the good and the ugly.

"Malik, I think that you should go now."

Without any protest Malik went straight past Petal to the door and left Petal's apartment. Would she ever see him again?

The day's events had made it really hard for Petal to fall asleep and at 11:37PM she was still up. Even after a long bath and a cup of chamomile tea which was supposed to soothe the body and calm the nerves, she was still very light headed and nowhere near sleepy. She decided to spend some time on the internet. She Googled: "How do you know when a guy is being genuine?"

She found 60 200 000 results in 0.53 seconds. Seems that many women wanted to know if a potential partner was being genuine. "He does not mind having conversations about the progression of the relationship and he even initiates them." This was something she read on a site by a male "relationship expert". Malik had kind of done that, hadn't he? He did say that he wanted to be a trusted friend and that... he said something about being there, but he did not really say the words did he? He did not say "Petal I want you to be my girlfriend." Or "Petal I want to be your boyfriend." this was so frustrating. Petal was overthinking again. Maybe she should just ask him, oh but then she would seem too forward, but how else would she know!

"Examine you own feelings", this was by a "psychiatrist" and he was also male. Petal did not know how to feel, she would not know real love even if it held her at gun point and told her to love or die. She had never allowed herself to get too emotionally involved with any man. It was always "This far and no further!" because she did not trust how genuine they were. She had witnessed many good relationships end as if the two people involved had never ever loved each other. She had seen many women – even the ones who seemed to be quite intelligent, give themselves to men who did not care and left them to suffer from unrequited love. However, the one she knew had affected her the most was her parent's relationship. She had seen how brutal and manipulative someone who claimed to love her mother could be. They were all better off without him. She was scared, her own feelings were of fear and this drowned every other feelings that she could possibly have when it came to love. This made her sad because she knew that she had read that, "The one who fears is not made perfect in love." She had also read that there are only two emotions in this world and they were fear and love. All negative emotions stemmed from fear and the positive stemmed from love. This made sense to her. Fear made people angry, jealous, insecure, pitiful, miserable, unhappy, and prideful. Love however brings joy and compassion and most importantly courage to conquer fear.

The only way to deal with fear was to have courage. Her feelings were that Malik was a very nice guy, (and handsome too) he was a gentleman, and he behaved like a good person whenever they had met. They had stimulating conversations and had similar interests such as cooking. Sure maybe this was all an act and he would turn Blunt as time went on and maybe he was just like so many other guys who just wanted to "tap that", but maybe, just maybe he was genuine.

Petal picked up her phone and looked at the screen for a while. After what seemed like minutes she finally pressed the face icon with Malik's name next to it but she got the voicemail so she left a message after the tone.

"Hallo Malik. I just want to apologise about earlier. I am really sorry and you were very nice and making me tea and everything. I hope this does not tarnish our friendship. Soo.... Goodnight."

She sighed and then got ready to get into bed. She switched off her laptop as well as the light and got under the duvet when her phone beeped – "U r 4given. Bt plz no more getting upset with me for being honest. Our friendship is not tarnished bt I hope u will not keep me stuck in the friend zone forever...?"

Petal's heart beat faster and she felt her cheeks heat up. How was she going to respond? She smiled and typed: "Well since you asked so nicely :-)"

"Yep, it is going to be a goodnight indeed :-)"

Wow, Petal had a boyfriend! None of her friends were going to believe this. Stacey will go crazy and want to meet him to find out where he works and how much money he makes and rate his handsomeness. This was going to be a challenge; she would finally have to be completely honest with someone about her family, her mother's mental illness and the court case. This was going to expose so much. She was scared of the vulnerability which came with commitment however, she was going to let courage conquer fear. This could be love.

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