I’m splitting hairs, cutting down my crown constantly because it looks like my father’s.
My mother told me I remind her of him—my passion for literature and my unquenchable thirst for knowledge all remind her of my father. The way she looks into my soul through my two windows, like he’s staring back at her, I ask myself, “Why would he hide in me when I’m constantly searching for him out here?”
I wish I could work the threads of time—reverse the channels that make the fabric of time, space, and matter—ask my father to teach me all the lessons a father leaves his daughter, but I’m here pondering on deep philosophical matters of the heart. Asking how my heart could betray me so bad by asking me for a place I can’t give it.
I miss a place I have never been, a deep yearning for the sensations of the old home—to run my fingers on its wall, feel the silent heartbeats of my father’s line, to know if they ever acknowledged me, if they see me or whether they have rejected my father’s seed, which created me.
Sometimes I can hear their voices whispering in the silent wind. I could never understand because their tongue sounds unfamiliar. They never came back for me; my flesh and blood rots here where my father used to stand, where he ended and I began. Sometimes I cry in that place where it always hurts, where he began and I ended.
These lessons—we shouldn’t have to harvest ourselves when we didn’t plant them. They end up choking us out of sobriety and laying us at the grave of an empty beer bottle.
I want to go home, but I don’t know the way, and even if I tried to follow my father’s steps in the road, those marks are long gone. He left his home a frightened young man with a strong heart and came back a corpse with a silent heart. I wish it didn’t have to hurt, recounting the moments I shared with him which are no more than six.
Six, which was the same age I was when his body was committed to the earth—clay returns to soil, soul returns to Maker.
The last time I felt my father was in a dream; he was wearing all white, but I loved what he was wearing on his face. His smile felt like all the moments I will never have with him.
I was a child, and even now as a 23-year-old, to my father I’m still six, my sister is 12, my older sister is 17, and my brother is about 23. We stayed young, and we waited for his home to claim us, but it never did.
What I have from my father is my name and what my mother sees. When she too leaves, I will have nothing of my father’s, but my name…Noxolo Labane.