Saturday, 28 June 2014

Your stomach is his

Mum - it's amusing and amazing to me, you are very much like your father
Me - really? How
Her - Well, your stature is similar to his, see that flat curve of your stomach? That looks like it holds nothing and everything? That's his
Me - well, what's yours in me?
Her - Your resilience.
There's silence.
Me - Well, well, i meant physical ma.
Her - i know what you meant. Your humour is his too. All the rest are me.

I was pretty sure my sardonic humour was my mother's. She'd deny this of course, who wants to be responsible for a child that can joke about death? Or like now, say much with so little. I said nothing all the same.

I cock my head to the side and guffaw, my empty flat stomach rising and falling as i imagine this. This unequal split of parts. I always knew i had many parts of my father. Duh you might think!

I thought of my great grand aunt who'd in turn praise the him she saw in me, and insult the him in me that was incorrect to her. Like, that streak of stubborness, she wanted to wane out. Especially, when my no was final. And aged 13, i said no in many ways. I silently rebelled, when i did the dishes but left the tea spoon, or when i feigned sleep so i could write another letter to my mother after lights out. The long limbs that could reach the taller book shelf, the biscuit tin behind the glass cabinet. The gait of kpekpeye she'd say in edo. They'd laugh. I'd look askance, even then, less so now. I understood better. They wanted me to understand. Although, i wasn't sure if i was a duckling in the good or bad way.

Years before that, an aunt would explain in the queen's english, precisely why i was a bastard. I'm aged 8 and confused. Afterall, I saw my father the day before. What did she know anyway. Except, according to the dictionary i'd find she was correct. But, why did she smile when she told me this? She seemed to relish my attempt to reject that label. So she had repeated again ' and this is why you are what a bastard is' she was 13 or 14. She closed the dictionary with the finality of a judge sentencing me to life imprisonment.

I'd now look at these arms, those running legs. My eyes narrowing. To myself i'd say 'oni ma mean enwin' (that doesn't mean anything)

She was talking again

Mum - You know, i think you have one of his ways of thinking too.
Me - does he over analyse too?
Mum - Not always, then again neither do you. I meant your clear logic
Me - it hasn't always served me well.
Mum - No, not always. Sometimes, you must listen, damwe hudun we (listen to your mind)
Me - I tried, ekhor mwen zuo ugbenso (my heart is mostly stupid)
Her - I know, that's why i said your gut or your mind. At the very least rhie ekhor wey le le gbe (take your heart with mind)

I wondered silently, who's that was. Whose heart i inherited. I'm sure that was neither, that was all me.

Neither of us say anything for a moment.

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