FICTION: A quiet man - Part Two

By Drum Digital
23 February 2017

It was two hours later that Gaone returned from her interview. She burst into the lounge, carrying a large parcel, excited and happy

By Kedia Ditsala

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“I’ve got it, Dad! They gave me the job. I’m on my way now! Nothing’s going to stop me!”

“Gaone, is this really what you want?” Silas managed to stutter.

How feeble that sounded! And of course it did nothing, absolutely nothing, to make his daughter think twice. She has never been a girl of few words. She definitely hadn’t inherited her father’s flaw.

She was talking 10-to-the-dozen now.

“Don’t be silly, Dad! Of course it’s what I want! I don’t know why I didn’t think of this before. It’s a dream come true. And just wait until you see me in my outfit. I’ll go and put it on now, okay? ’Cause I have to get ready anyway. I start my first shift tonight.”

Off she dashed to her bedroom, with the parcel still under her arm. Silas knew it was time for him to speak up. Even if he was a quiet man, a man of few words, there was no excuse now. His daughter’s future was at stake! Whatever it took, he had to stop her.

He was still searching for the right words, still trying to work out what Lydia would have said, when Gaone bounced back into the lounge, dressed in a nurse’s uniform. She looked heart-breakingly lovely, her dark eyes shining above the startling white. Eyes that were so like Lydia’s.

“Isn’t it brilliant, Dad? I look the part, don’t I? And I’m going to do so well. You just wait!”

Silas put his arms around his little girl who was now a grown woman. He forced the words out.

“Gaone, sweetheart, I don’t want you doing this job. You are too good for this kind of thing. We don’t need the money that badly. I’ll take a second job. I’ll sell the car. Whatever. But I know your mother would never forgive me if I let you do this.”

Gaone’s hands went back on her hips.

“You’re wrong, Dad! Mama would be proud of me. I know for certain this is the right thing for me. When I saw those little sick children, I knew it straight away. This is what I want to do”

“Sick children?” Silas stuttered, feeling confused.

“Yes, at the Jellybean Clinic. That’s where my new job is. I’m going on night-shift with Sister Brown and she’s going to train me as a nurse's aide.”

“Sick children,” Silas stuttered again. “But I thought . . . I thought . . .”

Gaone’s hands were on her hips once more. “You thought what, Dad? What’s going on here? Tell me!”

Silas eventually had to explain: About the advert, about his panic, about his phone-call to the Black-Eyed Susie Club . . . Gaone shook her head at her father in exasperation.

“Oh Dad, what on earth am I going to do with you?”

It was something Lydia used to say, too.

“Oh Silas, what on earth am I going to do with you?”

Gaone ran off to her room and came back with the newspaper advert. She turned it over and laid it on her father’s lap.

“This was what I was hiding from you. Dad! Now you’ve spoilt my whole surprise! Take a look!”

ON THE other side of the newspaper page, the side that Silas hadn’t noticed, there was a competition entry form, a competition for Father’s Day.

“In 25 words or less, tell us why your dad is the most special dad in the world.”

The lines below were written in Gaone’s bold handwriting.

My dad is a quiet man. But he doesn’t need to speak because everything he does proves just how much he loves me.”

“Right, Dad, I’m off now,” Gaone said. “I can’t be late on my very first shift. We have to do all the feeding and the bathing. It’s only Sister Brown and I on duty. Wish me luck, Dad.”

“Good luck, my darling daughter,” said Silas.

And he meant it from the bottom of his heart. He watched her march down to the front gate in her starched white uniform. And then he held the newspaper page against his chest while tears rolled down his cheeks. Tears of joy and pride.

The End

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