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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7. Chapter 7

Today was court day. Today was the day when Petal had to spend hours in a stuffy room while listening to other people's trials and waiting to see her mother. Today was the day she would see that evil judge and his ass kissing prosecutor. Petal would sit there and listen to them (the judge, lawyer and prosecutor) communicate back and forth about her mother as if she was not there. They would come to conclusions without her input. She was helpless there, she had no say and no opinion. She could not forget what the judge said the last time they were in court, huh, he said that mommy was pretending to be mentally ill and that she was giving a very good performance. Petal rally disliked that judge. How could he be so biased? Who made him the decider anyway? It annoyed her how everyone always had to call him "honourable" and "your worship" and how they had to "all rise" every time he entered or exited the court. Petal had had fantasies about bombing his car or breaking into his house and giving him a scare. Gosh she was so agitated and she had not even arrived in court yet. A short fast run should help her let out some steam. Three kilometres would do.

The judge was smug as usual. Goodness it was as if he and Blunt were twin flames or something. Petal had implored the legal aid lawyer to make sure that whatever happened, mommy needed to be sent away for psychiatric attention. She was feeling hopeful today because despite the judge's smug attitude he had considered taking mommy for assessment after Petal had struggled for four months to get a letter from the psychiatrist she had seen before the incident and the arrest. The court was nothing like on television. Nobody came dressed up in pencil skirts or pin striped suites. Witnesses did not burst out in anger or tears (well not since Petal had been attending court) and lawyers did not give moving speeches that made it obvious that the verdict was going to be in their favour. Court was long and annoying. Petal did not like going there, but she had to. Blunt and Fana were not there today because it was not trial day. They were just going to sort out the paperwork to transfer mommy from Sunshine to the psychiatrists for a thirty day assessment.

Finally at 1PM mommy was brought in with handcuffs and shackles on. Goodness were the shackles really necessary? She was not a serial killer! Mommy was wearing the same hooded jacket that she was wearing the last time Petal saw her. Petal wondered if she had had a shower since. The prosecutor called her name twice before she stood up lethargically. The legal aid lawyer in an over-sized gown mumbled, "something... something, mental evaluation, something... something." The judge mumbled and they continued to mumble until the policeman told mommy to sit down. After that three more detainees were remanded, the judge left the room and then they were all led out of the court by a policeman.

Petal hurried to the lawyer before she could leave to get an update on what was going to happen from now onward. "Your mother will be in custody until there is a bed available for her at the psychiatric hospital where she will be evaluated for thirty days. Once her mental state has been determined, the trial can continue accordingly." "Alright so how will I know if she is still at Sunshine or at the hospital? "Asked Petal. "I guess you will find out when you go to visit her."

Petal did not know whether to feel relieved and hopeful or disappointed or whether to just feel indifferent. Things could go either way; it was not over until the case was closed and that fat judge banged his gavel on the podium for the last time. As she was walking on the pavement she could see someone running towards her from the corner of her right eye. She walked a little bit faster trying to get to the bus stop which was only a few metres away and had a few people waiting at it. She thought that someone was watching her in the morning. She sensed it when she walked out of her apartment building and noticed the black car with tinted windows before she got into the passenger's side of Malik's car. She had also noticed a black car with tinted windows when she walked out of the court. It was not the car itself that made her uneasy she knew that it was not only pimps and snipers who traveled in black cars with tinted windows. What made her uneasy was the sixth sense feeling that somebody inside the car was watching her.

She saw the silhouette of a man get closer and closer.... He touched her on the shoulder and she turned around quickly with her hands blocking her face.

"Fana! My gosh! What do you want and why are you following me?"

He was wearing grey tracksuit pants and a t-shirt which was a lighter shade of grey. His hair was unkempt and still looked sick.

"What happened in there? What did they decide? Did you say anything about dad? He said, (sniff) he would have you killed if he ends up locked up."

"What is wrong with you? What rubbish has he been feeding you? Fana...!" Petal was feeling helpless and pitiful towards her older brother.

There was a time when they used to be so close, making a sheet tent on Fana's bed and eating raw rice and pretending that they were refugees hiding from the evil monster (who was their father) while eating nourishing supplements.

"Petal, (he grabbed on her arm), you must promise me that you will not say anything about Blunt, he can make this easy or hard. If you rub his back he will rub yours."

"And how should I do that (Petal was fuming) by letting mommy rot in jail and let him have the house and continue to live like a filthy pig and not pay for it! Rubbish!"

Fana shook his head vehemently. "Petal you don't know shit and, and you think you do, (sniff), step away Petal. I am serious step away."

"Why are you sucking up to him so much? Pick a side Fana, it is either him or mommy." The lines in her forehead were deep. She took a deep breath in, broke free from Fana and exhaled.

She walked away then turned around to face her brother while she was walking away backwards. "And stay away from me, please just stay away from me." She turned and ran to the bust stop as her bus was approaching.

On the bus Petal sat down and covered her face with both her hands. All this drama. The slow movement and humming of the bus was helping her to calm down. She was planning on getting home and looking through the internet for job vacancies. She really needed a job or else she would end up homeless too because she would not be able to pay rent and it's not as if Blunt was going to take her in with loving arms. Why was life so damn hard? She felt inadequate around Malik sometimes. He had a good job, fancy apartment in section B, successful and sane parents and he was a great human being. Over the last couple of weeks she had been able to find out more about him: He was actually born in section A. His father was an architect before he retired and his mom was a biologist before she retired. He had a younger sister who was an artist living abroad. His parents worked really hard to build a big and beautiful home. Malik left home when he was twenty years old because he did not want to "leech off his folks as a grown man" and because he did not want to marry Sarita. Sarita was his "arranged marriage". They were family friends and had basically grown up together. They even went to the same preppy boarding school. He probably had problems in his life (doesn't everybody?), but Petal still felt that his problems were nowhere near the problems that she had had and still had. Why was life so unfair?

Direct Me had not responded to any of Petal's emails. After the dismissal email, Petal had sent three emails asking for details from Chia Mia. She called the main company a few times and they had put her on hold until she hung up. She thought of just going to the main offices of the event company but she had been too preoccupied with other things plus she blamed herself for accepting such a shitty job with dodge procedures. It served her right. It's just that it had been so hard to even get that job. After working for a very racist company nine months prior, she had applied and attended interview after interview but got no jobs and no payslip and therefore she was desperate for an income. Back then, the Direct Me job did not seem dodge at all. The thought of going through the job seeking process again, the rejections, the silence, the false hope and the unrealistic job descriptions; it all made her want to give up before she even started. Maybe starting a business would be sensible. If it was well planned and had a huge market then it could be pretty lucrative? But what kind of a business and where would she get capital?

She did not know where to go because her apartment was starting to seem like a sad and gloomy place and all her friends were obviously at work. A great feeling of being overwhelmed came over her. Her chest felt compressed and she felt very worried. Nothing made sense. She bent over while grabbing at her chest. Everything around her seemed to move in slow motion for some reason. Was this a panic attack?

When the bus stopped at the next stop she decided to get off so that she could walk and catch her breath. She frowned as the bus door closed behind her. She was so disoriented. An old street vendor woman dressed in coloured materials with large prints was staring right at her. Petal stared back.

"Bebe, you O.K?" the brown toothed woman yelled. Petal nodded slowly.

"You no look O.K." the woman replied and went over to Petal with a type of a root in her hand, "take dis." She shoved it into Petal's mouth with one hand and stopped her from pulling her head away with the other hand. It was like ginger root but with an underlying musky, earthy and sour flavour. Petal grabbed the woman's hand with both her hands and broke free. She spat out the ginger like thing and let out a scream. The woman looked offended. She put one hand on her hip and gestured with the other one as she spoke. "Bebe I just try to elp you! What you think I will kill you?" "Errr... yes!" Petal thought to herself but she did not respond since she was still in shock from the attack. Where on earth did she get off? Wherever this place was, she had never been here before and this woman was beyond weird.

Petal walked off quickly without saying anything to the woman. There were other stalls and vendors on the pavement selling cheap gadgets, spices and herbs, snacks, coloured materials and many other cheap and original things. Some of them stared at her disapprovingly and Petal felt self-conscious. There was a tall dark man standing with a grill grilling chicken feet and drumsticks. The aroma floated past Petal's nose and she realised that she had been stuck in court all day and hadn't had anything to eat except for a banana in the morning before her run. These were not good eating habits. Her thoughts were interrupted when a heavy set middle aged woman with a baby on her back came rushing at her and waving a hand excitedly. "Petal, Petal!"

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