Friday, 31 August 2012

My Father and I

              My father and I have neither a good nor close relationship. Yes, do not be surprise about it. I am just not the best for him. I can’t achieve what he wants me to be, I am not as strong as him and I know that he is disappointed at me. But, I just don’t know what to do about it. I know I could never be like my father.

                Living together with Okonkwo as a family, I hardly able to feel the love from him, as a father. He constantly nags me and beats me whenever I did something wrong, even a small little mistake. Perhaps he thinks that by doing so he could turn me into his idea of what a real man is. Not only that, I am always the frequent object of his criticism and remains emotionally unfulfilled. I felt so stressful to be the eldest son of the famous wrestler and leader of the Umofia clan. The high expectation of my father towards me is too hard to be achieved and I barely can breathe. Love- this is the only thing I hope from him but why can’t Okonkwo as my father give me? Why is it so hard to get even slightly of love from him? What so ever with the thought of being weak if he shows his love towards me? It is his pride more important or me, his son? I just couldn't understand.

                My father always encourages me to sit with him in his obi and then he will tell me the stories of the land –masculine stories of violence and bloodshed. I know it was right to be masculine and to be violent but I really have no interest in those violence stories he is interested in. I still preferred the stories that my mom used to tell me like the stories about the trickster figure the Tortoise, and about how Vulture worked to bring rain back to the people. Sometimes I just don’t feel like feigning that I no longer cared for women's stories. I really hope my father can understand me and let me be myself.

                There was once I saw Okonkwo beating Ojiugo, his youngest wife during the Week of Peace. Even when my mom and Okonkwo’ second wife pleaded him not to do so in the sacred week, my father just wouldn’t stop beating Ojiugo. I know him well. He is not the kind of person would stop beating someone half-way through, not even for fear of a goddess. Another even terrify experience I have was my father beat his second wife, Ekwefi and fired his gun at her during the Feast of New Yam. Thank God that he did not manage to shot her. If not, I really can’t bear to see the bloody scene. Can you imagine how violent my father is? I just couldn’t be like my father type of person. Surely, I will not beat anyone even he or she did mistake. 

Thursday, 30 August 2012

The Arrival of Ikemefuna in My Family

         Ikemefuna was a fifteen-year-old boy from a neighbouring clan, Mbaino. I remembered vividly that it was on Monday. My father, Okonkwo returned home with a lad of a young virgin after two days in Mbaino. And Ikemefuna was the lad my father brought back. He was given to our clan, Umofia as a sacrifice for killing one of the women of Umofia. Okonkwo as the leader of our clan was asked to look after Ikemefuna in the interim before his fate was decided. That time, I was so afraid of a new person going to appear and live together with us in my house.

            My mother was being told to look after Ikemefuna by Okonkwo when Ikemefuna was brought home. His arrival was surprising us and questions were not allowed to be asked. When he was taken to my mom’s hut, I could see beads of cold sweat all over his body. His face was as pale as a sheet. I knew that he was terribly afraid. In my heart, I felt pity of him although his existence made me feel very much uneasy. Perhaps he could not understand what was happening to him or what he had done that caused him to be taken here, away from his clan. How could he know that his father had taken a hand in killing a daughter of my clan? The feeling of not knowing anything and been taken out from house, then handed over to a stranger is not something that I can imagine and understand.

            Ikemefuna was so afraid at first. He spoke nothing but "when shall I go home?" Whenever i heard him saying so, my tears would course down my cheeks. Once or twice he tried to run away but it is understandable as I would do the same if I were him. How suffer it is to be apart from his family. He even lost his appetite in eating. I really didn’t know what I could do for him seeing him suffered like this. But my family treat him just like he is one of our family members. My mother is very kind to him and treated him as one of her own children. I saw my mother taking care after Ikemefuna for three weeks when he was sick and when he recovered, he seemed to have overcome his great fear and sadness. I felt relieved to see Ikemefuna without his trembling and fear. I didn’t know why I feel so to him. The strange feeling of wanting to be close with him came into my mind from nowhere. I just could not bear to see him alone. 

           I hope I can be his friend here in Umofia. But what would my father say about me if I tried to befriend him?