I still remember Adaah’s friend’s birthday party a few months back.
She came home excited from the school to tell me of her invite. I reach her room upstairs and told her to take a shower. While she was bathing, I went to her closet to scan for the dresses she could wear for the party. My eyes landed on a purple colour long gown I bought a while ago during my business tour at Singapore. The dress which held on display on one of the boards immediately captured my attention and I bought it without having a second thought.
I placed the dress on her bed and went to kitchen to prepare hot chocolate for my ‘little girl’. She can drink milk before going to the party so that she is not hungry until the dinner is served. After a few minutes I reached her room with her favorite Barbie cup in my hand filled with chocolate milk. By then Adaah was already dressed in the beautiful gown. I pulled the zipper at the back and did her hair into a long braid where a few tendrils were falling on either side giving her a cute look. After assessing her flawless form for a few seconds, I held the cup out for her to drink. Her face scrunched up holding her nose. I chuckled inwardly at her pouty face but gave her a flat look daring her to speak. She pulled the cup from my hands and emptied the drink in one go. Good, ‘my glare’ always works. I patted my back mentally and lifted her in my arms her feet wrapped around my torso to go down the stairs.
Adaah slept today after a lot of fuss to go to the party giving me a hard time. After she dropped her eyes I fled to the charity ball like a wind. I wasn’t interested in attending such parties any more because I hated Adaah to be left at home alone. But it was a function I couldn’t avoid as it was my company which was hosting it. Every year I raise ten millions on charity purposes let it be a treatment for cancer patients or educating children below the poverty line to raising old age homes to the downtrodden.
We had around ten thousand guests and my hotel’s lobby was crowded with paparazzi. As soon as I stepped out of my black Ferrari there were flash lights upon me with a click of innumerable cameras. The reporters were circling me with various questions about my business and love life. I played a deaf ear to all of them and walked swiftly through the foyer to reach the magnificent hall which shimmered with bright chandeliers all over.
I exchanged greetings with guests, my business colleagues and posed to the cameras with girls clinging around me who I couldn’t avoid because of paparazzi around. For a change I wanted to feel free and drowned a glass of whiskey down my throat. I wouldn’t get drunk in the house as I did not want Adaah to be brought up in a wrong way. Drinks, drugs and cigarettes are the three things I feared the most while raising her and the best way to deal with it is preach what you practice. So I put myself away from every toxic thing pertaining to the world starting from girls to drinking. But today after a long time I want to come out of the coop and drop down all my restrains.
I was almost drunk when the party ended. Some of the girls, the daughters of business magnets with whom I associated in business, clutched to my arms like creepers. In a normal course I would have taken them to one of my hotel rooms and have a bone-weary night but today I had to go home and supervise on my little princess in the mansion - my little responsibility. A smile crosses my face even in my drunken state thinking of her.
I came home faltering in my steps. My ‘little girl’ was drooped in a sofa of the front hall with Maria beside her, who I asked to stay for the night. Her eyes were stained with tears which had dried up now. She was in her pink night top with a big pussy cat painted on it and night pants of moon and stars printed. She was holding a Barbie Doll clutched to her chest and sleeping with her head on Maria’s lap. Her hair was dishevelled with strands coming out of the braid on either side which looked like a mess. My stance stays jolted to my feet looking at her strained appearance even when I am almost tipsy losing my balance.
As soon as I neared my ‘little girl’ her eyes opened which were red and fluffy because of excessive crying. I could note she wasn’t asleep since the time I stepped out of the house. I reach her hand and open my mouth to speak but she held her nose between her fingers. “You smell alcohol. Why do you look different Ajit?” She asked in her innocent voice. I felt as though a bucket full of cold water was dumped on my head. At that moment I died of guilt a thousand times. I tried to stable myself in my walk not to invoke further suspicions in her little head. I took her in my arms to climb up the stairs. I was enough careful that my lips were sealed to make sure she doesn’t smell alcohol from me. Maria was sceptical about my hold on her and offered help to carry my little girl to the bed but I shook my head denying her. The words ‘my Angel’ spoke to me a while back were enough to sting me out of my debauchness. I tried to tug her to bed in her bedroom but she refused and insisted on laying with me. I wouldn’t deny her to anything.
I took her to my bedroom and combed her hair in two long tails maintaining silence. I could no longer see her in a crumpled state. Taking a shower was the most required decision at the moment to escape the scrutinizing stares of her but l could not do it without making sure my baby was comfortable in her bed. Anger was seeping through my nerves hating myself for what I did a few hours ago. I almost completed handling her messy curls when she extends her little hands forward holding her doll asking me to comb her hair. “I got into a pique and pulled ‘Julie’s’ hair along with mine. Please comb her hair also.” She asked me pulling a glum face. I nodded and did what she wanted. Anything for my princess, I wiped her tear stained face with a soft, wet wipes and laid her on the bed with her Barbie tugged to her chest. After acknowledging her needs I made sure she fell asleep and immediately rushed to the bathroom for the need of the hour.
I brushed my teeth and threw my head under the shower to rid myself of the alcohol stink. I towel dried my hair and went to the closet to pull on a sweat pant and shirt for the night. I took a tablet of Tylenol and lying beside my little girl, I pulled her to my chest with a duvet covering both of us. As soon as my hands touch her she raises her head from my chest. I look down at her and ask “baby, are you not asleep?” She ignores my question and asks me in a fragile voice “why did you leave me and go Ajit and why were you behaving weird a while back?” At that moment I wished the earth to swallow me. I give her a shameful smile and spoke in a soft voice “Sleep baby girl. I am here for you now.” Meeting her questioning eyes I understood she wasn’t satisfied by my answer. “I am sorry I left you at home and went to the party. There will be no ‘next’ like this again, Princess. I promise.” I say with guilt enveloping every miniscule of me. “Pinky promise?” She asks holding my gaze with her curious delicate eyes. I nod my head and she closes her eyes with a satisfactory smile resting back her head back on my chest. I pull her more into me if it was possible and drop my eyes closed.
No place holds me better. My Little girl in my arms is my ultimate abode of tranquillity.