Maybe he didn’t know, Lisa wanted to say, but she thought it would sound like she was defending a man she didn’t even know. So instead, she asked softly, “did he know where to find you?”
“I’m sure he did” Ato replied, “He managed to find me now that he wants to connect. What stopped him all those years?”
“Is he sick? I know how people begin to reach out when they feel they’re nearing their end…”
“No,” Ato shook his head. He was impressed with Lisa’s level of engagement. She wasn’t just a beauty, she was a young lady with solid brains, “he’s not sick” he noted, “My father is Michael V. Williams”
“As in…, the owner of MV Pharmaceuticals?”
“Yeah,” Ato simply said. In that moment, Lisa felt how much pain Ato might be in— to have a public figure father who never showed up or claimed him in public. She had so many questions to ask, but she knew they were all coming up just to satisfy her curiosity and none would help Ato, so she didn’t ask.
“I’m sorry,” she said instead and watched as water glassed Ato’s eyes. Awkwardly, he blinked them away.
“I changed my last name when I turned twenty-three; I started using my mother’s surname. She was taking care of me and ensuring I lacked nothing. She filed for divorce, and never married again”
“Did your mum ever stop you from trying to contact your dad?”
“No” Ato responded, “but we also didn’t talk much about my father either. When I turned twenty-four, she told me my father wanted to come for me when I was thirteen. He was remarried by then. She objected and he never reached out again”
Ato nodded, “five months ago. Now he calls often and has even invited me to his place; I’m yet to honour any”
“I know his wife recently passed. He doesn’t have any other children, does he?” Lisa asked softly and cautiously, hoping she wasn’t over-delving.
“No. And I keep wondering whether he would have reached out if he were satisfied with his life…” this time he couldn’t blink all his tears away, some rolled down his cheeks.
“I’m so sorry” she sympathized, “It’s been a while I visited my parents too” she revealed softly, “I decided not to stay away because they only discourage me whenever I am around them. But maybe, it’s not our place to cut them off. Maybe, our responsibility is to be better examples, by ending this cycle of bad behaviour. They don’t get everything right just because they’re our parents. They’re human, and I’m learning they come with their faults and burdens, mostly passed on to them by their parents. We should be the ones ending these cycles in our families” Lisa cracked a smile, knowing she had just spilt out some damn good advice, thanks to Dr Ansah.
Ato smiled right back, visibly impressed with his companion. She wasn’t just eye candy, she was smart, “And how do we go about doing that?” his warm smile lingered.
“Well, I suggest we visit our parents this weekend; honour your father’s invite and I’ll pay my parents a visit. I know things won’t go smoothly but if we handle the situation well, I have a feeling everything will work out well”
“You’re so smart”
Lisa smiled, “It’s a plan then…”