How come you aren’t happy nowadays?
I’m happy. No, you aren’t!
Yes, I am. Are you really?
Yes, I am! Silence.
You can tell me if you aren’t. You know, if there is something wrong.
Does that mean there is something wrong?
You aren’t happy, I can tell. You have been quiet lately. Long silence.
Are you really okay, darling? I’m fine. (Silence)
Is school okay? Yes.
Is there any kid who is harassing you? What is “harassing”? Disturbing you.
How do you spell that? D.I.S.T… No, the other one.
What, harassing? Yes. H-A-R-A-S-S-I-N-G. It has two “s”?
Yes, darling. Pause.
Well, is there? Is there what?
Another kid disturbing you? Pause.
Sometimes Kyle disturbs me. Kyle is a girl?
Nooo! She laughs. Kyle is a boy! How do you spell that? B-0-Y
Nice, but I meant Kyle. K-Y-L-E
I think Kyle is a girl’s name. Hahaha. Nooo!
She finds this funny.
Which is a great for me because she finds me funny right about now. So I’m going to wring dry this moment because I don’t know when next she will find me funny given her disposition lately.
I tell her that in my whole life I’ve never heard a boy called Kyle. Does he wear pink bikers under his shorts? (Tamms sometimes wears little pinkish bikers under her uniform by the way, I find it heart-breaking but I have no say over what she wears underneath).
Hahaha. I don’t know.
I think Kyle wears pink bikers under his shorts.
Haha. Boys don’t wear bikers.
(At Impala Club they do!) Well, I think Kyle does.
Haha. That’s too funny. (She likes to do that, add “too” before says “funny” even if it’s not too funny). Silence.
But you are happy, right darling? Yes, I am.
You can tell she isn’t happy by reading that conversation, right? I mean, you don’t even have to be a fun of the TV series Lie To Me, to know that she is lying. And she has been like this lately; aloof, withdrawn, distant. The obvious reason – which I will disclose in another post – is too clichéd a reason to comprehend. But since she joined class one she has pretty much retained this air of mystery. She seems preoccupied, like she is thinking about her thesis.
She used to be all chirpy in the car as I drop her off in the morning. Now she just sits there, only speaking when I speak to her. Like we’re having domez. Like I did something wrong. I haven’t done anything wrong to her. I swear. Well, apart from that fact that I now insist that she has to read a book a day. Not a whole book, for chrissake, I’m not an animal, but like one story. There stories are like, what, 30 words? Is that enough to make someone sulk with you? No, that’s not a rhetorical question. Tell me, is that enough for someone to sulk with you?
When we get to school she now just says “bye, see you later,” and jumps out.
The hell?! As in, if I don’t lean in to kiss her no kiss will be exchanged in that car. None. Zilch. At first I thought maybe it was me, so I bought a stronger mouthwash. I even trimmed down my beard for chrissake because she isn’t hot about my beard. Nothing changed. Only, like, twice a week she will offer a kiss. Twice a freaking week! The rest of the week, I have to initiate it.
You want to know the truth? I’m tired of that shit. I feel like I’m the only one interested in this relationship. I mean, I’m tempted to ask her; where is this relationship going? But I don’t want to scare her off. Not just yet. Look, she used to say “I love You” before she leaves the car. Not always, but like most of the time. Now we can go four days without that. Not like I keep a scorecard in my glove compartment and tick whoever says it and when, but it’s hard not to notice when “I love yous” drop drastically. And please don’t say I sound like I wasn’t hugged enough as a child, this is not the time, Oprah.
Related: The Father You’ve Always Wanted
Look, if she isn’t interested in me anymore, she should just be a woman about it and tell me the love died. I mean, I will move on. There are plenty of little girls out there who appreciate beards. Do you know how many fathers out there don’t have beards and their little girls wonder if they are in a normal family? Do you?
But seriously, do you think she is OK? No really, ama I’m being melodramatic?
Anyway so I told the Missus. Not like reported her, that would be “told on her”. But I told her. Expressed my genuine concerns and fears. I figured women understand each other. She said lately she has been like that. But why? She said she didn’t have a clue too. She didn’t know? Gosh, aren’t mothers supposed to know everything? I hear mothers can silently observe the way their daughter applies margarine on her bread and on the third day immediately tell if they are pregnant. Anyway so if figured that if a mother doesn’t know, perhaps Google might?
So I went online and Googled;
“Moody+6yrs+old+girl+why?”: 2.8M search results in 49secs. Yahoo answers are the dumbest, it’s open season for amateurs. You will find people (OK, Americans mostly) theorising that perhaps her wintry moods is caused by eating pre-package foods, or allergy to certain foods. Tamms is not allergic to any food. Food is her friend. The search results also included a perimenopausal blog. I doubt Tamms is menopausal, or even perimenopausal, whatever that is. Actually I know people who I suspect are peri-menopausal who should read that blog. And they are men.
Then I Googled:
“Moody+6yrs+old+girl+God+why?” Same search results but only in 31 secs. (Wow, Google, you keep outdoing yourself!).
Then I tried Googling: Moody+6yrs+old+girl+God+why+me? 2.6M results, 0.57secs. The first result? Voices of Infertility.
Undeterred, I tried one last time: “Moody+6yr+old+Kyle”. This I did out of boredom, and curiosity…just a bit. There is an important moral to this story, just in case you are wondering; Google isn’t better than a mother.
Read more of the story on Jackson Biko’s Blog
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Jackson Biko is a Writer and Father living in Nairobi Follow him @Bikozulu