“That boy calls you father. Do not bear a hand in his death.” That was what Ogbuefi Ezeudu told my father during his visit while we were enjoying our meal after the locusts descended. The next day, a group of elders came over early in the morning. We were sent out before they began to speak in low tones. I began to feel uneasy; the elders never came for visiting two days consecutively. After they left, father sat still with his chin supported by his palms for a long time. The feeling grow stronger when I saw him in that state: he never had been that way before. When he finally called Ikemefuna to tell him that he was to be taken home the next way, it made some sense to me. He loves Ikemefuna as a son, truly.
I cried, because part of me knew that Ikemefuna is not going home to Mbaino while the other big part of me felt worthless. Will father be that sad if it was me? I didn’t care of how much father hated me being a woman; I didn’t care if he beats me to death. The next day, despite being discouraged by Ogbuefi Ezeudu, father took part of the ceremony. It was so quiet here; all of us seemed to know the truth. I cried and cried the whole day. It wasn’t fair for Ikemefuna. Why should it be sacrifices – because the Oracle says so?
I found out that before Ikemefuna dying, he thinks of father as his “real father” and how his mother would be thankful to him for returning her son. He even thought of what he would tell his mother. This made me hates my father more! What kind of father would kill his own son because the Oracle says so? However, what made me really mad was that father killed Ikemefuna because he was afraid of being thought weak as Ikemefuna asked for his help. How can he live with that memory of Ikemefuna calling him ‘father’ yet he is the one who killed Ikemefuna?
I remembered the time when I heard the voice of infant crying in the thick forest when father came back. It was the same feeling I felt when I knew Ikemefuna is killed by my own father – a sense of rebelling. I hated the customs of the clan. I hated my father for not being able to put down his ego. I hated his values of masculinity.