The Needy.

He had threatened her of leaving and like always she was scared, her eyes welled up with tears and her heart missed many beats. She was needy of him. Why not? He was her father. Her eyes begged him to stay; her vulnerability screamed how much she needed him.

Unlike her, her mother never blinked when he threatened to leave. She would always look away whenever he spat out his venomous threat. But she thought that perhaps her mother felt the same way she felt – vulnerable , only she never showed it.

“You need to be strong”, her mother would always say to her. “A man should never see you as weak, he must think you strong enough to do without him, to live without him. Every man, even if he is your father”.

So she stopped being needy, stopped feeling like she would lose a treasure if he left. Being needy was being a woman she would tell herself. At this point she needed to be both – man and woman. She had taken her mother’s advice and made sure she never was needy. Being a woman to her was being in competition with the man, whatever it cost, whatever it was worth.

Lacking nothing, lagging in nothing, she strived to have and be everything including a father. So when he threatened to leave in her twenty first year of living she shrugged him off. She was no longer the needy eleven years old who cried when he would make such threat, who thought there was nothing she would do without him. She was now a wo-man and it meant not needing him anymore.

Prior to that time, on her sixteenth birthday, her mother’s words hung over her neck dropping down to the part of her chest where her heart was said to be and remained there for a long time. Of her father and men, she was counselled thus

“He is not a man, so don’t ever feel you can’t do without him Chika. He is like chaff that goes where the wind blows him. In fact, all men are like that – whatever skirt the wind blows up is where you will find them. You must be different from me. I showed your father how much I needed him and that is why he always did what he did. They must never have such power over you”. Those words were the gift that welcomed her to one of the significant stages of every woman’s life.

When again, in her twenty third year, he threatened to leave and never return, she bid him go.

He stood shocked.

When did she grow up to talk back at him? He wondered. He didn’t know his daughter had grown up at sixteen. He had been blind to the fact that he was no longer needed as was in the past. Somehow, he had gotten used to her eyes that pleaded he stayed that he knew not when they stopped looking at him nor pleading. Those eyes were the fuel for his ego that was bruised when his wife stopped looking at him five years into their marriage, when she preferred staring into space than into his eyes.

She{his wife} didn’t know how emboldened he felt when she told him she loved him and could not live without him. She didn’t know that their daughter meant everything to him. She didn’t know how he looked forward to coming home to them every day. She didn’t know that everything he did, he did because he loved them. He feared that if he showed how much he felt, it would be equivalent to being weak. That was what his father told him. That was how he saw his father run his own household. Keeping other women outside was being a man, or so he thought and had been taught.

Despite all he did, wife and daughter still craved him completely. Somehow, it got into his head that he took those eyes and words for granted. The result was a wife that stopped craving. He noticed. It wound him. His daughter who had his wife’s eyes never stopped craving, which re- fueled  his wounded ego.

So on the day she bid him go after he threatened like always, he knew time was up. The very things that mattered were the things he took for granted and had consequently lost. The need they showed of him made him distant from them. He thought the more he did what he did, the needier of him they would be. Now, all he sees is empty sockets, with no iris nor cornea, only an empty space, making him realize what he had left – nothing..There was no point staying anymore, he told himself.

Chika came home that evening to see her father seated on the lone chair in the room staring into space like her mother was wont to do whenever he threatened to leave. She found it strange, but moved on to the kitchen. After all she had no need of him and had stopped caring a long time ago. There, she found her mother staring through the window into the neighborhood that lay on the other side of the house. She saw her back shaking and heard soft sniffs. That too was strange. Feeling uneasy, she went back to the room where her father sat and looked at him closely. Realization dawned on her. He had finally made true his threats. He had left.

She could shed no tear. She felt like a rock had been placed on her chest. She found her mother still at the same spot when she got back to the kitchen. All she heard for the first few minutes was a quiet sob from her mother.

“He was my life”. Her mother managed in a cracked voice.

He was my life too, Chika thought within herself. Sadly, that fact just dawned on her, and as it did, her mother’s words that she had kept around her neck and in her heart fell loose.

The door she thought and made sure she had shut against him had been open all the while, only she never knew or used it. Now, it was ajar and he was no longer there and she thought of what she could give up to hear him threaten to leave when what he did was stay.

“Strong people are the most vulnerable and needy people..”, Chika wrote down when the pain of his departure pressed weightily on her young heart. “The things they think they do not need which becomes their point of strength are the very things that can break and crush them, the things that eventually weaken them. Needy is being a woman, being human. Some spaces can’t be filled up by denial; they’d always remain empty till the right persons fill them up”.

*I hope this helps you realize that every soul you care for, and that cares for you needs you as much as you need them. Let them always have enough of you. Do not starve them of you, your affection, your care, your love. Sometimes, Some spaces never get filled up, if what fills them up is lost or thrown away.



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