Tuesday, March 1, 2016


He sat on a chair facing the wall with his hands tied behind his back. He was starting to feel tired and his wrists were causing him discomfort. He was hoping this would end soon, but from the bits of conversation that were reaching him from the room next door, it appeared he would have to do a bit more waiting till he would be set free.

He stared at the wall in front of him, looking at the scribbling and drawings spread over a large part of it.  Thoughts of his little daughter filled his head. She loved to draw and paint and had the artistic spark…just like her father. How he loved his little princess…and to think that he never wanted to have children. For him, children had always been synonymous with disruption, chaos and a complete absence of peace and quiet. His experience with his six nephews and nieces was proof enough to him.  He couldn't bear the mess and noise they caused, being always impossible for him to paint, or read, or listen to his music when they were around. He felt besieged by their endless nagging, and their never-ending desire to play, to question, and to argue. Living with children day in and day out was to him an unbearable feat, something he felt he would never be capable of doing. In fact, he was amazed at how both his sisters' managed to cope with their kids, never failing to show love and affection despite the obvious fatigue and bouts of  frustration they occasionally went through. 

And so it was that he constantly declared his unwavering refusal to father any children of his own. He declared this to his family, to his friends, to his art students, to his colleagues and to his girl friend who later on became his wife.  But fate had other plans; one day he found himself standing in a hospital room by his wife's bedside, looking in bewilderment and complete disbelief at a tiny little baby girl… his newborn daughter.

His neck was beginning to stiffen and he could feel a growing numbness in his right arm. He was wondering how long this situation would last and when he would be set free. He had left so many things still undone: work to be completed, lectures to be prepared, designs to be delivered, an unfinished painting, but most important of all he was preparing the necessary papers for registering his little girl in school…in KG1... when this hostage situation began.

He couldn't believe his little one would already be starting school. After she was born he was surprised at how infatuated he had become with this fragile little creature, how amazed he was at this miracle of creation, and how inspired he became by her coming into his life. Day by day his love for her grew as he saw the magic of life unfold in her first smile, her first words, her first awkward steps…she was like a work of art, created and re-created day after day, evolving and maturing as the brush of time added, altered and transformed…she was the same but always new, familiar but with never-ending novelty. 

It is true that at times she got on his nerves, distracted him for his work, and upset his busy schedule. But he was amazed how he came to see so much beauty and inspiration in her mischief and naughtiness, in her endless desire to play, to argue, and to question.  He sometimes had to scold and yell if she went too far …but at the end he gave in…he always gave in, for he knew all too well that it was she who held his heart and soul in the palm of her little hand.

He heard voices approaching him…it seemed the moment of his liberation was near.
"You're free to go prisoner….we've agreed on the ransom", he heard a voice say.
And sure enough he felt someone unknot the rope binding his hands.
He stood up, shaking his numb arm and his weary wrists. He turned round and stared at his captors….
"And what is the ransom may I ask", he asked in a stern voice.
"Ice-cream, ice-cream, ice-cream!!" shouted the four little captors as his daughter jumped into his arms.
He laughed as he held his little angel in his arms while her three young friends looked on, waiting eagerly for their promised ransom.
"I'll get you the ice-cream sweet heart, but promise me that this is the last game we play today…Daddy has a lot to do."
"Yes Daddy", she replied with a giggle as she smudged a wet kiss on his cheek.
"I promise, I promise…but tomorrow we'll play some more…pleeeease".  
"Daddy has work to do sweetie", he replied as he looked into her imploring brown eyes, "but…well…we'll see".

How he adored his little angel, how he loved to feel her tiny little fingers locked behind his neck as she hugged her Daddy; and he knew all to well that no matter how hard he tried to deny it, no matter how many times she set him free, he would forever…and ever…remain her hostage.