‘Daddy! Daddy!’, the voice called out.
It was Junior, my eight-year-old son. He had crept up beside me in bed. He kept pushing and calling me.
‘Hmm… Junior’, I muttered in my coarse morning voice.
‘Daddy, wake up!’
‘Junior, what is it?’
‘Wake up and listen!’
I knew that if I ignored him, he’d just keep quiet and either fall asleep beside me or leave. But the trick didn’t work. He kept calling! I opened my eyes and took my wristwatch on the drawer beside the bed. I checked the time.
01:17, it read.
‘Junior, it very late. Go back to bed. We would talk in the morning before I go to work.’
I closed my eyes and tried to put myself to sleep again. I felt Abena turning beside me in bed. At this point, Junior was sobbing. Abena drew closer and placed her hand on my hairy chest!
‘Dee…’ She called and I didn’t respond. She shifted her attention to Junior.
‘Junior, what is it?’
‘I want Daddy!’
‘Dee, the boy wants you.’ she said to me.
‘Please Abena, I’m very tired. Find something for him so that he sleeps; whatever he wants can wait till morning.’ I said and turned away from my wife.
Junior’s sobbing was becoming louder now. I picked a pillow and covered my head with it.
‘Junior, is it your homework?’
‘Is your homeboy broken?’
‘Did you have a nightmare?’
With all the silence from Junior, I realized that all the options Abena gave were not what he wanted from me. She tried fruitlessly to get him to stop sobbing.
‘Derrick Kobina!’ Abena called me again.
‘Hmmm’, this time I responded.
‘Would you please wake up and attend to your son?’
‘Are you not doing that already?’
‘Yes! But he insists he wants you. And you’re being irresponsible’
‘Irresponsible? The boy doesn’t even know what he wants!’
‘If you talk to him, you’d know. Stop being a push-over dad and get up!’
I was beginning to get angry with Abena. But because of Junior’s presence, I didn’t want to show it. I ignored her with silence.
‘Daddy, I want you to teach me!’
‘Huh?’ I asked surprised. ‘Teach you what?’
Still with my eyes closed. I lifted him up and put him on my chest.
‘Listen, I’ll teach you everything in the morning. Right now, Daddy has to sleep okay.’ I tried to reason with the eight-year-old.
It looked like he perfectly understood me. There was silence for about ten minutes. Just as I was drifting into sleep, Abena called again!
‘What is it again!!!’ I screamed at her.
Junior had started crying now.
‘What is wrong with you? What kind of father are you? How long would it take you to at least hear what your son has to say? Are you happy that he’s crying like this?’ She also raised her voice.
I lifted Junior off me.
‘Look, if you’re the better parent? This is the boy. See to him’. I said in a more composed voice.
‘If I had the slightest idea of what he wanted, I’d have gladly taught him. You’ve been acting so irresponsible these days. The boy had been asking for you since he returned from school. I think it has to do with school. And since you decided to come home late from work yesterday, he was asleep when you came. You hardly have time for anyone. I don’t mind if you’re cruel towards me, but towards your own son – that’s just way over the top!’
‘Abena, check your tone and the things you’re telling me this morning. It’s too early for you to taste my wrath.’
‘Oh your wrath? Bring it on, Dee. Bring it on’. She was screaming now. ‘If you’d bring down your wrath O mighty Derrick Kobinah because I want you to pay attention to your son then do it. I’d gladly taste it! I’ve tasted too many times and I like so Dee, at 2 am in the morning give it to me one more time.’
I sat up on the bed and looked my wife in the face. I pointed one of my fingers at her for about thirty seconds. She said nothing more. I laid back on the bed, turned to the other side and covered my head with the pillow again.
Junior was uncontrollable now.
‘Derrick, see what you’ve done?’ She started to shake me, pinch me, tickle me, and slap me on the butt. ‘Wake up, la!’ She continued
‘Shut the hell up, Abena!’
That didn’t stop her! She continued her pushing and ranting.
I stoop up and shoved her off the bed!
‘I said shut the fuck up!’ I said with clenched teeth as I descended on her and rained some few more blows and kicks on my wife.
She ran and kept herself to a corner in the room. She covered her mouth so she wouldn’t cry loud.
‘Mtcheeeeeeew’, I smirked. And turned towards the bed. My eye met Junior’s. He had seen everything and I didn’t know what to make of the expression on his face. I sat beside him on the bed.
‘Now Junior, what is it you want me to teach you?’ I tried to get his attention off what he had just seen.
‘Father, teach me how to beat ladies. Like you just did to mummy’, he said!