I been thinking about my father. Not surprising. The capitalist machine has been churning the cream. All its been selling the past two weeks or so is Father’s Day. Its made me think about my father. We never did Fathers Day. Or birthdays. Or Christmas Day, me and him. Not after we returned to the village. He was a socialist, a free thinker and he was into conspiracy theories.
“It is all American imperialist propaganda. Don’t you know that December 25th used to be a Roman pagan ceremony?” he told me.
“Its just a festival Dad, a time for people to be happy.”
“If you want a festival to be happy at, come home for Owuh. It is our own.”
I never did. Not after I left the village for Lagos.
We had a difficult relationship. Me and my father. He was always trying to make me submit and I was always resisting. I had a mind of my own. There was no ‘mother’ to mediate. He was smart but I always considered myself smarter. Even when I was four. He thought so too. Why else would he call me an accomplice in my own kidnapping from Russia when I was three and a half?
I been thinking about him a lot lately even before Father’s Day advertising began. He passed away 3 years ago. I think I maybe finally letting go so much of the bitterness and disappointment that characterised our relationship.
He was a harsh man, a pure narcissist. It was always his way or the high way. I spent many a night on that highway. I was a defiant child. He tried but he couldn’t beat it out of me. He brought me to the village to add value at the community level, he believed in community development. He also believed in violent revolution. He was a fighter, a warrior, with hot blood and a hot temper.
He was also charming and urbane, with a gift for the gab. He either charmed or bullied everybody he met into submission. Or he ignored them if he couldn’t. The ladies loved him. Even when he beat and abused them. Then I hated him for them and for me. I don’t know maybe he was a generous lover. I escaped as soon as I could. I could love him better at a distance.
Years of living in the village disabled him physically, emotionally, mentally and cognitively. He died from complications of diabetes on 6 April 201,1 a paranoid, bitter, nasty old man. His death took me by surprise. I used to joke he was too mean to die.
I loved my father very much. I miss him when I have a question about the family history and genealogy. He could recite the names of his ancestors back ten generations. I miss him when I see his hand in the process of my evolution but can’t say “Thanks Dad, I get it now”. I miss him because he was the first man I loved.