I was astonished, “You mean you were expecting me?” I asked him.
“Expecting is far from it. I knew you would come. But Ladi my son, it is good that you came to me. Of course, you trust I would tell you the truth. But it could be bitter. However, it is the pathway of life, becuase it a truth that lasts longest. You do not just wake up and tell the elders in your mother’s village that you want to build a house. You do not wake up and begin to demand for a pice of land. i know the way our people reason. They would feed that the next time, you would run them out of the village, becuase it has happened before. Our people are very careful when it comes to such things,” he stated in clear terms.
“What am I supposed to do?” I asked him.
“You have asked a very good qeustion. In fact that should have been the first question youu should have asked. Your mother has to tell you about your origin. I believe you have a father. Everyone has a father. Your right is potent in your father’s village. I know a little about you when were young. But your mother will be in the best position to explain, because whoever wears a pair of shoes, will know where they are pinching him,” he explained.
After I had asked a few more questions, he told me in graphic details events that led to my being brought home. He told me stories about when my mother was living in Onitsha, and how she came back and travelled to Jos.
“Your mother, Ene, grew up to be one of the most respected gifts in this village. I taught her in school, and I was here when she left this village and travelled to Onitsha. I was also here, when she came to say that one man wanted to marry her. We were all happy, and expectant, waiting for the day. Then she returned with bruises and a pregnancy. Under such circurmstances, there was little anyone would ask. The next time, she moved to Jos, where I suppose she had the baby. I saw her again in the village after two years, with a baby boy, who happens to be you. Like I said, she has the explanations to make. you are going to comfront her,” he told me.
Honestly, I left his house that day more determined to unraved the mystery behind my existence. I knew it was awkward, living without knowing where someone is coming from. that was exactly how I was living. The painful aspect is the fact that the man, had opened up some aspects of my life. I never would have known. If I had not gone asking. the Onitsha and the Jos angles were quite starnge. I knew know there were such incidents.
When I got home, Mum was waiting with my best kind of meal-okoho and pounded yam. she had swayed me in the past with such and I was sure, she was hoping that it would happen again. Truth is that each time I mentioned things about who my father was, she would tell me that he was the leader of witches, and that she ran away, when she discovered he wanted to kill her. I had digested all those, because I felt it was not important, but not anymore. To show how serious the issue on the ground was, I told. Mum, to put away the meal.
She looked at me in surprise. “Is it because my brothers did not give you land? Do not worry my son. I have talked to someone, who would sell us a piece of land where you can build. In fact, I will assist with half of the cost of the land. You will build far away from them,” she said.
“The land is no longer the problem, I want to know who my father is. If he was a witch or wizard or whatever. I do not care any longer. Go and show me his place. Go and show me to him. Why are you making my life miserable? Did your mother trust you like this?” I reeled off.
“Was I worrying my mother the way you are doing right now? I have told you that it is better to live without knowing ho he is. He is evil. I left just to be alive with you. if I were you, I would just erase that aspect of my life,” she said amidst subs.
“Erase that part of m y life?” Mum, you are asking me to wake up and assume that I had no origin?” That’s too much,” I rose up and went inside the room to fetch a pistol. Of course, she was terrified when I pointed it at her, after I had cocked it.
“Mother, I wam cross with you. You have brought as much shame to me. And if you do not have plans of telling me who the man is. I will shoot you and shoot myself. I will just end this misery for both of us. Are you ready to take me to him?”
The threat worked, because my mother started confessing instantly. “His name is Stanley Okoye. he is no Igbo man, from Anambra State.”
“I am an Igbo man?” I said in shock, because of all my life I had believed I was from Idoma in Benue State. “Yes, I am listening.”
“Stanley told me he wanted to marry me, but when I got pregnant some friends of his at Onitsha, lied to him. they told him I was not faithful to him that Made us to quarrel. He beat me up that day and threw my things away. That was when I decided I would return. the pressure at home was too m uch, so I decided to go to Jos. where I had you in a friend’s house.”
“Have you made any efforts to reach my father since then,” I asked her.
“That was a long time ago. I wrote him a letter and he replied, warning me not come close to him. It has been over twenty years,” she replied.
I breathed out like a soldier I was. “Okay you will take me to him again. Let me stand before him and see him reject me or you.”
To be continued…