dinner with dad

We are going to eat at Cape Town Fish Market Dar
I can barely contain myself….the thought of the seafood…
I have this picture of market women with bags of assorted seafood for my picking… Prawns kalamari oysters etc
But we pull up outside this mposing white structure…brightly lit….Blue Christmas lights criss cross the wall
Glasses glitter in the brightly lit bars franking both sides of the garden
On the terrace white garden chairs line the ocean front…overlooking the beach
Only a small railing separates the terrace from the.beach below.

Soft music filters out of the restaurant…..the gentle laughter of the middle and upper class easily mingling with the soft musical tones

I sit on one of the garden chairs….the metal railing cold to my touch
A leather bound menu is placed ceremoniesly infront of me by the manager
I barely see it
Across on the next table a man and his daughter… Cant be more than 6yrs are having dinner
The young girls laughter and goggles mingles with the music the fathers rich baritone completes the opera
I smile

My handle grips the railing and I stare across the expanse of the receding ocean and am back to my childhood
To evening dinners with my father

My father’s long footsteps eat up the distance between our home and the local shopkeepers
The blue bungalow housed a shop at the front and another structure at the back
I never knew what was behind there but I loved our weekly outings with dad
I skip along….my small hand swallowed up in his Strong long fingers as he tags me gently along

In the late afternoon I want to stop and look at flowers sprouting out of the green hedges that separate the shambas from the road
Am delaying my dad he picks me up and effortlessly puts me on his shoulder

I am small but on his shoulder I feel powerful….. Invincible
I wave at neighbours over their fences and they wave back
I see the roof of the village shop from my vantage point and I urge dad to move faster

My dad bends and places me gently on the wooden counter inside the shop….my dad disappears to the mysterious section at the back of the shop..as the door closes behind dad I hear strains of music and the rich baritone laughter of my dad and his friends…
The shopkeeper brings me my usual….. A glass of milk and the sweetest mandazi

I munch happily and discuss matters of national importance with the shop keeper
Soon my dad will pick me up and I shall sit snugly on his shoulder as we head home…

Cigarette smoke hangs thickly on my dad’s clothes….
It’s dark now and the stars twinkle as we head home
I smile at the little girl and her daddy and order my seafood platter
Two portions for my dad and i


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