Every relationship has many facets: the obvious, the non-obvious and the never to be obvious. Confused? Take a deep breath, grab a bite (preferably; a Dagwood sandwich), and then enjoy the story of Daddy’s Little Girl. Well, they say girls are hard to understand. It’s like studying Applied Physics, Industrial Chemistry & Pharmacy, all at the same time. What’s the right word? Aha! I remember. It is Complex. So, when you find that girl you easily understand, you’ve got yourself a miracle.
“It’s only a few hours more and dad is going to meet Jones,” Lianna said, lying on her bed, finding it hard to fall asleep. She was ecstatic. A few miles away, Jones was fast asleep. He had spent most of his day at the gym, the barber shop and the Louis Vuitton Store at 101 avenue des Champs-Elysees 75008 Paris.
“First impression matters. I’ve got to look good and stay fly” Jones said to himself. At the end of the day, he looked himself in the mirror and was impressed. “My hair is right, my suit is tight and my 6 packs are nice. So I’m gonna switch off the light and I’m ready for a good night”. It’s 5:00 am and she hadn’t slept.
So, Lianna got off the bed and knelt beside it to pray. “Lord I’m grateful for today. Thank you for Life, dad, and the perfect boyfriend. He’s handsome, intelligent and a little silly sometimes, but he’s perfect” (It was shorter than her usual prayer). Then she got off the rug and hurriedly picked her phone to Call Jones. Jones had hit the snooze on his traditional wind-up alarm clock over and over. At least, he had done it six times since 4:00 am. He was still snoring.
The mundane ringtone kept ringing annoyingly, till jones picked up.
“Hey Bae,” Lianna said.
“Hey Boo” Jones replied in a sleepy voice.
“Hope you slept sweet?” Lianna asked.
“How could I, when I know I’ll be sitting a few meters away from your dad and starring him in the face in a few hours.”
“Liar Liar” Lianna replied.
“You sound like someone who has been sleeping since 10:00 pm”. (They both laughed).
“Ok, guilty,” Jones said.
“Hope your dad won’t find pleasure grilling me?”
“Naaaaaah! He’s the sweetest man in the world” Jones cleared his throat.
“Sorry dear, he’s the second sweetest man in the world. No one can take your place.”
“That’s more like it,” Jones replied.
“All right, get off your bed now. I’ll be expecting you by 10:00 am” Lianna said.
“Je t’aime ma cherie”
“Je t’aime monsieur” Lianna replied, and then she hung the phone.
Jones stretched his body and yawned for a few minutes before he got off the bed and also knelt beside it to talk to God. “Lord, you know I dread special days like today. They always don’t turn out right. But for all it is worth, let today count for everything special. Amen”.
It was 9:00 am and he was dressed up. He had worn a black Louis Vuitton tuxedo, a crisp white Excalibur shirt with a skinny black bow-tie. And of course, he complemented it all with a well-shined black Salvatore Ferragamo shoe. He knew that dressing any other way to this meeting would be a faux pas. He got into his BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe and off he went. It was a fairly quiet and boring ride till he got close to Café de la Nouvelle Mairie, the restaurant hidden in a small street behind the Pantheon, where he first saw Lianna. Then suddenly he began to remember how it all began. It was over a year ago, he had walked into Café de la Nouvelle Mairie to have a cup of coffee. Lianna usually volunteered as an in-house musician on the weekends. The customers were usually serenaded by her acoustic guitar and sweet voice. That is the only adjective to qualify her voice because it was like mixing cappuccino with warm almond milk. Sometimes, Lianna sang alone, and at other times, she did so, assisted by two professionals playing the Ukulele and the violin. Those moments were breathtaking. Jones suddenly had an unusual urge to drink coffee every weekend. At least, he would get to see Lianna’s beautiful face again and enjoy the music. He also enjoyed the privacy he had over there. No one recognized him, although his album was topping the charts all over Europe. He was the lead singer for “Feu de l’amour”, a French/English rock band that had just released their debut album “amor sur les ailes”.
Lianna usually sang about 8 – 10 songs each night. Most were covers of her favorite songs, both French and English. But she had also written a hand-full too. Once she was done performing, she would quickly slip away through the stage door to the dressing room, where she sat down to rest and savor her experience for a while before leaving through the back door. She never entertained conversations with the customers, although the always pushed for it. She felt that would be very unprofessional.
One night, after Lianna had finished performing and gotten off the stage, Jones decided to perform a song. He had come with his Gibson SJ200 steel-string acoustic guitar. He sat on the Rockville portable performers chair and drew the Shure microphone a little closer to himself. “Isn’t she amazing?” Jones said, and then he struck a few strings and began singing “tout ce que je souhaite pour” the first hit-single off “amor sur les ailes”. It wasn’t long before Lianna’s ears were glued to his singing. As he sang on, her eyes got as big as saucers. That was one of her favorites she had sung that night. “His voice sounds exactly like Jones Jean-Claude” Lianna spoke out loud and then quickly ran toward the door, drawing the curtain aside a little so she could take a peep. “That has to be Jones Jean-Claude” Lianna repeated, and then her heartbeat suddenly accelerated and her hands began to sweat. While singing, he already knew he had blown his cover by throwing himself on stage. Most of the “little crowd” was already aware he was Jones the lead man of “Feu de l’amour”. After he was done with the signing, Jones received a standing ovation, he responded with a smile, then walked off the stage and out the front door. Lianna ran out as fast as she could through the back door to catch up with him. She bumped into him just before he could reach for the door of his car.
“Are you Jones Jean-Claude?” Lianna asked, still breathing hard from the race and the anxiety she felt.
“Maybe” Jones replied. (Lianna screamed)…..
“I’m sorry if I’m embarrassing you. It’s just that…. I never imagined.” (Lianna screamed again). “This is totally unbelievable”.
“Will you come see me in concert at Elysee Montmartre tomorrow?” Jones asked. Jones was snapped out of his flashback by the honk of a car behind him. It was a perfect flashback for a special day and to maximize that moment, he reached into his cd rack, got a compact disc and slotted it into the CD player. It was “the beautiful letdown” by Switchfoot.
Just a few meters away from Lianna’s home, he stopped by at Monceau Fleurs to get some roses for her. Just in front of Mr. Nobert’s (Lianna’s dad) Apartment; he parked his car, grabbed the flowers and then alighted. He walked to the door, and then he pressed the doorbell.
“Hi love” Jones replied the gorgeous looking Lianna who had come to open the door. She had on a Mauve mesh build corsage maxi dress. Her golden-bronze hair was packed neatly, allowing the ponytail to gently stroke the side of her shoulder as she tilted her head to the right and welcomed him with a broad smile. Mr. Norbert was already seated in the parlor waiting.
“Papa, c’est jones” (dad, this is Jones). They both shook hands and then Mr. Norbert asked Jones to have a seat. Mr. Norbert, ci-devant banker turned stockbroker was a man of a peaceful disposition. He was a little man too, one the French would call petite. He was smoothly shaved, exposing his dimple, the one thing that Lianna wished she had inherited from him. He had hazel eyes that looked like wells of compassion and also like they could search a man’s soul.
“She tells me you are the second sweetest guy she has met” Mr. Norbert prodded. Jones looked Lianna with the corner of his eye. Her eyebrows were lifted and had become curved and central to her forehead. Her expression spelled guilt.
“Yes sir, I believe I am all she has told you I am” Jones replied.
“Do you love Lianna?” Mr. Norbert asked.
“Yes, I do with all my heart”. Jones replied.
“Ok then, why don’t you join us on the dining table. We are having French toast with honey, eggs and skimmed milk for breakfast.”
“I believe I would do just that” Jones replied.
They had a fun breakfast. Jones was a little surprised how easy going it had been. It was more like he had always been La Familia. And the only question Mr. Norbert had asked him was all the grilling he actually prepared for him. After the breakfast and interesting conversations they had had, Mr. Norbert handed Jones a big blue covered book.
“This book means a lot to me. Read it when you can.” Jones nodded his head and received the blue covered book. It was thick-spined and supported a lot of pages. It was 1:00 pm and Jones had to catch up with the band at the airport. So he quickly left Mr. Norbert’s apartment. But not without receiving a bear hug from father and daughter. The rest of the band had been waiting at Charles de Gaulle Airport, Europe’s 2nd busiest airport after London’s Heathrow.
They were off to Pilton in Somerset, England, for the annual Glastonbury Music Festival. They were among the few newcomers to headline the festival that year alongside old favorites like U2 and Coldplay. Aboard the British Airways flight to London, he brought the book out of his brown knapsack, where he had carefully kept it. He flipped the book open, the first page reads:
The memoirs of a father: The journey to raising the most beautiful girl in the world. He turned over to the next page.
Day 1: My little darling was born today, February 25th, 1992. Sadly, her mum passed on while bringing her forth. It’s heartbreaking to gain life and loose life the same day. Where do I start from? How do I cope? But I’m grateful for this gift of life. P.S: I’ll be the most awesome dad and mum to her.
Day 2: she cried half the night. She wouldn’t sleep, and I couldn’t sleep. I wasn’t sure if she was hungry or just needed a mum. I cuddled her for three hours before she finally fell asleep. I woke up holding my precious jewel, still fast asleep in my arms. That feeling was priceless.
Day 3: The nanny won’t be here always, so I began learning the art of changing diapers. The diapers stink so badly, but I enjoyed doing it.
Day 4: I had to learn some new lullabies today. She especially liked ‘somewhere over the rainbow’. She chuckled as I sang. But then again, she wouldn’t let me stop. I guess I’d have to record my voice on a tape.
Day 5: I miss my wife, and I wish she was here to hold my hands. Her burial is tomorrow. It’s really been a sad day, very sad day. But it was as if my little darling understood how I felt, as I kissed her good night, she gave me the best smile that made me cry for joy. This gift of life is greater than my loss.
Day 6: They say men don’t cry, but I cried all day. I was 28 years old and she was 25 when we met. I adored her like she was the only woman alive. We had our rough times, but it always ended up helping us fall deeper in love with each other. “Tu me manqué Carla” (I miss you, Carla).
Day 7: Today was her dedication; I named her Lianna Marion Norbert. And also, I think I heard her say, daddy, today. I know people will think I’m crazy.
Day 8: It couldn’t have been daddy; she repeated that same gesticulation almost half the day. I guess I’m sane.
Day 9: I’m tired of the diapers.
Day 10: It’s been a lazy day, we both slept for many hours. Jones had gotten fascinated by this memoir and kept reading and flipping the pages.
Several days stood out to him. Days like;
Day 320: She said daddy today. No kidding, I heard well this time 🙂
Day 366: She is one today. I can’t believe my princess can now walk. Can’t wait for her to grow up more, we would walk hand in hand through the parks; I promise her a good life.
Day 727: First day of school, she cried real hard. She didn’t want to let me go, neither did I want to let go; we both share one heartbeat.
Day 4724: It’s career day in school. She’s tilting toward being a professional musician. What can I say?
Day 6570: She turned 18 today. She has grown up to become such a beautiful, witty and charming lady. I must confess, I have done a great job.
Day 6574: She got admission to study music at ‘Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris’. Her dreams are quickly becoming real.
Day 6935: She signed an agreement with Café de la Nouvelle Mairie. She would perform every weekend as long as she was available. Good exposure for a good kid.
Day 7320: She came home ecstatic today. She has always been a happy child. But as for today, there was more to it. I guess a boy must be involved.
Day 7321: Yes, it is confirmed; a boy is involved.
Day 7942: She graduated from music school summa cum laude. It’s been one of the best days of my life.
Day 8000: Only a few days more and I’ll get to meet this boy she has been talking about.
Day 8001: I really don’t care how handsome he might be neither how wealthy he is. I hear he is popular; I also do not care for that. I care about his heart. I hope he would love my angel as much as I have for the past 21 years.
Day 8021: it’s D day. It’s been 21 years and I haven’t yet seen anyone more beautiful than Lianna.
She stands beside the most precious shining stones
But her glory is far greater
It’s like that of the sun in its youth.
She is as strong as an eagle,
Yet tender as a juvenile pale-yellow primrose.
Before her, there was no awesome.
She is one my First-lady, the queen of my heart.
Lord, I know I’d have to let her go soon, but I pray he’d be worthy of this gift you gave me. I pray he would love and cherish her forever.
P.S: This is my last entry in this book. The remaining pages of this book will depend on you very soon. I pray it’s beautiful.
Tears ran down Jones’ eyes as he read the last line and closed the book. For the first time, he realized that Mr. Nobert was actually the sweetest guy in the world. He also realized he wasn’t just in love with a girl. He was in love with the greatest girl alive, the girl that meant everything to someone.
Every girl is priceless and special. At least, my father in heaven and I think so. The world would be beautiful if we all see ladies through the loving eyes of a father.
Dedicated to all the beautiful & remarkable ladies I have been privileged to meet. Y’all are amazing.
Written by Richard Oti
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Instagram – ireverendoti
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