I looked at him.
"How are you?"
He nodded and mumbled something which I could not hear.
I just nodded back, as I didn't want to stress him out.
That's my dad, the man who helped to form me into the person I am today.
I was never close to Dad. He was the 'now you see him, now you don't' type. I grew up being afraid of him and what he was capable of doing when he lost his temper. He had shown me what domestic violence meant; the ugly side and its effects. By watching him, I learned to control my own temper.
Now as I watched his slow walk across the hall I was reminded of the strength and agility that once belonged to him. He was a good-looking man in his youth, which attracted many ladies to his side. He married his childhood sweetheart, my mom a year before I was born. As he liked the outdoors and traveling, there were times I didn't see him for weeks. He was busy and when he's not out if towb, he'll arrive home long after I've gone to bed.
Now, I only see an old greying man who could no longer drive his car as he couldn't control the pedals and the steering. In a way I was glad because he had been driving rather dangerously for the past few years.
Dad finally sat down. I asked him what the doctor said. He signaled that he couldn't speak.. that he had lost his voice.
The man who used to sing karaoke loudly at home and drove my mom crazy, had lost his voice.
The man who used to sneer at civil servants for their pension, now depends on the government's goodwill for his medication.
The man who used to threaten me with harm should I return home as a muslimah, now suffers from a minor stroke.
The irony of it all.
Once a proud man, in his old age he no longer has his voice, his vitality and his home.
Grandma glanced at him across the table and said, " The doctor said his brain has been affected so he can't speak properly now."
"Is he taking his medicine regularly?"
She nodded. Poor Grandma had to take him in as he had nowhere else to go after the divorce. She's staying alone anyway so Dad's presence would keep her company ( and to ensure that she's safe). Besides he didn't want to stay with me as he would miss his friends, who would come and drive him out for a cup of tea.
I don't know how long he'd be like this. It's painful to see the deterioration. May Allah have mercy on him and give him hidayah to be a muslim.
He enjoyed having his two young grandsons around although they messed up his things. I guess that's the least I can do to make him happy, taking the boys over for a short visit whenever I'm free. And with brother ignoring him, I suppose I'll also be his only child to send him off on his final journey, the child he once disowned for leaving ancestral worship and reverting to Islam.