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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: fathers (06/06/05)

TITLE: Clean Slate
By Tesiri Moweta
06/10/05


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The sound of the closing bell brought a smile to my face. School day was over for my tired nine- year- old body. I made sure all my new books were in my new bag which had caused so much sensation in my class and among my friends. The green knap sack like bag glistened in the eyes of all the children not because they hadn’t seen it before (some of them even had it in different other colours) but because the novelty made it so special to everyone including me. However my class teacher’s delight was not the bag but all my books. I was ready for the term. I had all the required books for all the subjects and more than enough stationery. Everything was new. Once in a while, someone would ask “who bought this for you?”
“My daddy!” I would proudly announce. The look of approval on the faces of those who heard this showed it couldn’t be over-emphasized that I had a great father. This was and still is, the plain truth.

As I carried my new bag and books out of the class, I realized that no one had come to pick me up from school yet so I left my bag under a tree outside the school building. I was glad to get it off me though because it was quite heavy for my frail frame (a result of the habit of poor eating. Food was not just my style then). After playing a game or two with my friends, my father’s driver arrived to my delight but alas to my dismay my bag was not under the tree where I left it, it was gone! We searched everywhere for it but didn’t find it. We immediately reported the missing bag to the police and headed home as time had been far spent.

Mama, my maternal grandmother couldn’t believe her ears as the driver narrated the incidence to her. “Your father will be very upset with you, why did you just leave your new bag without anyone watching over it for you?” The tears welled up in my eyes and slowly trickled down my face. I kept asking myself the same question over and over again. “Why would anyone steal my new bag?” I couldn’t eat that afternoon, thanks to my awful mood and when I faced my father that evening after he returned from work, I could hardly look up to him. I knew he was disappointed. Mama saved me the pain of telling him about my bag so all I had to do was answer a few questions. It was one of the most horrible moments of my life.

“How did this happen?” asked my father. I had never seen him so serious about anything like that before. I couldn’t talk. I expected the worst punishment. I wasn’t the only child in the family and surely my father had planned and saved for sometime to get me all that I needed for the new term.“Answer me” he raised his voice. “How did you lose your new bag?” I spilt the details before him and before I could finish, I was in tears again.My father looked at me intently “You have to be more careful with your belongings. Some people take delight in taking what doesn’t belong to them. So you have to keep an eye on yours so they don’t take it away from you. Do you understand me?”
“Yes daddy.” I was really sorry.

Afterwards, my father comforted me on the loss of my new bag and I got a letter from my mother miles away furthering her education at that time. She admonished me to be more careful as well.Being who he is, my father didn’t leave me a bagless or bookless pupil; rather, he worked on getting me another new bag and another new set of books and stationeries. This time I was more careful. I never lost my bag again and even when I got into college where I bagged an honorary degree, I was careful with my belongings.

Someone once told me “God’s forgiveness to His children brings a second chance that can be likened to a clean slate. Even when that slate gets tainted again, He gives yet another clean slate. This is a great characteristic of a loving Father who in spite of what His children does or do, loves them unconditionally.” How true.


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This article has been read 789 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Sally Hanan06/13/05
Well written. I loved this line in particular, 'where I bagged an honorary degree' :)
Shari Armstrong 06/14/05
A sweet story and nice ending.
dub W06/15/05
How true.
Kyle Chezum06/16/05
Good job! I liked the feel of this piece.
Phyllis Inniss 06/17/05
Nice story. So many lessons can be learnt from one's disappointment.
Suzanne R06/20/05
Those childhood incidents do stay a part of us many years later, don't they. And the father's reaction can make or break a young person ... thanks for sharing this experience.