By Fenny Louise Taylor.
I will never forget the smile on my face when I walked through those school gates and saw him for the first time. There he stood, dark and handsome, his skin graciously kissed by the sun. He walked up to me and introduced himself, “Hi, he said, “I’m Miro.” I stood still and said nothing. I knew if I spoke a word to him, my words will falter and my heart would betray me. I knew if I responded I would love him for a lifetime. When I was finally able to regain my composure, I said, “Hello, I’m Fenny.” He turned out to be the second man I wouldn’t allow myself to love.
The first man was my father. My father died when I was an infant. My mother made sure to tell me stories of the man he was and his hopes for me. She told me how he pleaded with her to make a baby with him. My childhood was filled with stories of his love for me. I was told everything about him except how he died. All the stories of his love for me were insufficient for little Fenny who desperately needed a father. I resented him for not being alive to see me develop. As crazy as it sounds, I retold myself every story I was told of him to fit my narrative of him not wanting me or caring enough to live. As selfish as this seems, the pain and longing I felt due to his passing was as real as the God who made the Universe.
I longed to be loved. I longed for a father’s touch and warmth. I longed to call someone “Papa.” As a little girl I envied all my friends who had father’s to pick them up from school. I too wanted to run into the arms of my father. I longed to be loved by a man. I feared that because he wasn’t around to set a high standard of the type of love I should accept and how I should be treated, I would end up settling for a lesser type of love, a reckless love. I was afraid that I would suffer from the “fatherless syndrome” and would have daddy issues. To avoid this, I refrained from dating. I swore not to let a man come near my heart. I promised myself never to show a man love so he wouldn’t leave and that when he left I would move on and not suffer. I promised never to fully love a man out of fear that I would accept any kind of love from a man, that I would seek love from a man only a father was made to give all because my father was not around. Even though I knew he was dead, for me that equated to him not being around.
In 2019, my life changed. I moved to London for Graduate school and got to reunite with my Uncle ( my father’s younger brother). I visited him and during one of my visits he told me the story of how my father died. During the civil war in Liberia, my elder sister and her mother were caught up in a rebel zone outside of Monrovia ( Liberia’s capital city). When my father heard of this, he decided to go rescue them. My uncle said he pleaded with him not to go, that even my grandmother threatened to curse him if he left but he insisted on going. In my uncle’s words “nothing could stop him” from going to get my sister and her mom. My uncle offered to send people to go get my sister and bring her to the capital so that he could stay but he refused. According to my Uncle, my father’s exact words were ” what type of man would I be, if I let another person go rescue my daughter.” I was told he knew going would cost him his life. He knew it wasn’t safe and that because of our surname he was at a greater risk of being killed, but still he went. In the end he got my sister and her mom to safety but was killed by Rebels.
You can imagine the guilt that overshadowed me but greater than the guilt, was the healing that took place. The wounds of a little girl who’s father wasn’t around was healed. The wounds of having no arms to run into after school was healed and of course, my heart was healed. I looked up to the sky on my way home and cried tears of joy. It felt so good to know I had a father who loved his children greatly. It felt so good to be loved, not just loved but I loved by a man who would’ve given his life for me and who gave his life for my sister. I don’t know if the standard he set could’ve been any higher. Now at 24, I walk with my head held high, knowing I had a father who loved me deeply.
So, dear future man, tread lightly for my standards are insanely high. I may not have been able to open myself to the possibility of what Miro and I could have been, but now, I am ready for the possibilities of what love will bring my way.
Catch up with Fenny Louis Taylor on Instagram @lewa_ina
Edited by Theayamba
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