My father didn’t waste any time moving on after divorcing my mother. We always heard about rumours that he was in a relationship with a much younger girl. However, we never met her so we all assumed they were simply that – rumours. After some time, everybody forgot about the incident and my father would even visit us at our mother’s house. We would have wholesome family moments filled with laughter and love. For a moment, we thought that our parents would get back together.
On my mother’s 60th birthday, we planned to throw her a big, extravagant party to celebrate her milestone. However, we mostly wanted to rekindle our parents’ love and we thought a big party would remind them of their fun times which they had plenty of. Before they got married, our parents took trips outside the country together. My father would always show off their pictures from their younger days’ every time we visited home.
“Those were some fun times.” My dad would say flipping through the photo album he kept safely in his wardrobe.
“You and this album… Sometimes, I feel like you love it more than me.” My mother would complain and we laughed thinking that she was joking.
“Let him have some fun, mom.” I’d say.
Before we realized it, my father had filed for a divorce. It took us by surprise but it hit my mother the hardest. You’d think that after all these years, she wouldn’t care what he did with his life. However, my mother still loved my father. She felt betrayed and abandoned. My father lived at our home for a few more months to help my mother cope with the situation but eventually, he moved to a different house.
My mother was 58 at the time and had just retired from her job. The double loss proved to be very difficult for her and she almost fell into depression. We tried to set her up on dates since she was still attractive but she didn’t seem interested in anyone else. She obsessed over my father’s every move and anytime she heard that he was dating, she’d lose her mind.
However, over time, she settled down and even went on dates herself. In fact, by her 60th birthday, she had been dating a great man for over a year. My father kept a low profile and didn’t involve us in his personal life. We had never visited his new house and we’d always meet him at my mother’s house or restaurants. None of us thought it was suspicious. My brother insisted that it was how guys were so we brushed it off.
“So dad, will you come to mom’s birthday party?” I asked.
“Of course, sweetheart. I wouldn’t miss it,” he replied.
“Will you be bringing anyone?” I asked wanting to know who will be attending but also to confirm whether he was dating anyone.
“No. I’ll be alone.”
We parted ways and the next time we saw each other was at my mother’s birthday party. We invited all my mother’s close friends and family. By noon, the party was in full swing. Everyone had arrived on time and was having fun. Then, my father arrived with another woman. The two walked in hand in hand and it seemed like everything stopped the moment people spotted them. The vibrant room went silent as everybody watched them make their way in, to our table then his date awkwardly sat at an empty chair reserved for my father next to my mother.
“Can I talk to you?” he whispered in my mother’s ear.
“No, and who is this woman next to me?” my mother replied raising her voice.
My mother would never shy away from drama. She wore her emotions on her sleeves and was very candid about them. Therefore, when my father embarrassed her for the second time and on her birthday, she couldn’t spare him her wrath. She stood up and pulled the chair away from the lady. She almost fell but my father helped her up. After that, the trio exchanged a slew of words all while my mother’s guests watched in awe.
“Dad, please take your date and leave.” I intervened
Everything calmed down and he left the room followed by his date. My mother had been yelling so much that she started sobbing uncontrollably. As one of my sisters comforted her, I followed my father hoping to get an explanation as to why he did that to our mother. I was fuming as well but I was more reasonable than my mother.
“What’s wrong with you? Wasn’t it enough divorcing her? You had to make her the laughing stock twice.” I ranted.
“I hadn’t planned for things to go like this.” He said. “I was to come alone but then at the last minute, I reconsider it and thought the happy atmosphere would be a good time to introduce my fiancée.”
“Fiancée? Dad, she’s so much younger than you. What kind of mid-life crisis is this?”
“We’ve been dating for a long time.”
At the time, we saw my mother and a group of family and friends coming towards my father. Before he could even reach his car and drive away, she was standing behind him with a rowdy crowd behind her. My mother’s cousins and aunts were ready to give my father a thorough beating. However, as she stood looking at the man, she forgave him and told the others to go back to the party.
After most of the crowd had gone back to the party, my mother reached out and hugged my father’s date apologizing for her earlier behaviour. She invited them in to celebrate her birthday which they both agreed to. The party went on till the dead of the night. Everybody had a good time and my parents caught up on each other’s lives. My mother seemed happy to see that my father had found love and she accepted his fiancé into the family.
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