”mum, what general said is true. I am the darkest in complexion among us all and my head is flatter and bigger than everyones head here. It is obvious that i dont belong here. Mummy, where did you pick me from,? Who is my real dad? I am leaving this house in search for my real dad? Ebube said in a quiet voice. before leaving the dining.one could easily detect pain in his voice. Ebube was a funny looking boy with weak bones and iron-shaped head which made him a laughing stock among his peer. He took his plates to the kitchen,washed them off then went to the room to begin packing his things. As he packed, he sobbed and muttered some words to himself but loud enough for others to hear.
‘my real father would never call me irresponsible and useless simply for letting a glasscup slip over my hands. My real dad would never starve his son for three days amidst several torturing for taking 20th position out of thirty. My friends dad got his son a birthday gift despite coming last position in class. ‘ he said.
‘dad told me the reason yesterday. I am not his son.i dont belong to him. That is why he treats me like a slave and not shower me with fatherly love and care. I will wonder aimlesly until i find anyman who would call me MY SON-a Word i have never heard from General.
Meanwhile Ebube’s mum was in the dining talking to her husband on the issue
‘instead of treating your children like a father, you frustrate them like they are seargent. Capitalising on every small mistake they make to inflict torturing discipline on them?why would you question the paternaty of your son because he failed to do a simple task.?she said in a hoarse masculine voice.
‘if he wants to live he can leave. I left my fathers house when i was three years younger than him to fight the civil war. I am a iieutenant general. I dictate what happens in my home. Anyone who does nt like it can leave.
general replied with a thick igbo accent
‘realy, since you cant swallow your military induced pride and talk to your son out of his decision,i will follow him and leave the house . The entire house is tired of your verbal, and emotional abuse without being sensitive to the emotion of your family. He leaves, i leave. Bye”
she responded too fast and rapid as she left the dining table to pack her own belonging
General was caught in a web. He couldnt let her go.he needed and loved her. He was about to loose his family if he doesnt act.
Ebube was done packing and was about to leave the
house. General stopped him . Held him by his shoulders and led him to his room . He locked his room .
” i am sor…ry’ he said stuttering the final word . That must have been dificult for him to say. General had never apologised until now.
”in the army ,display of emotion is seen as a sign of weekness. I never realy meant those insults. I was only trying to be tough. Combining role as a father and a military man is realy not easy. I never recieved the affection of a father. My dad was also a military man who disciplined us worse than i did to you. I have never floged you . My dad flogged me with a koboko frequently.My dad ensured i took my bath with pepper as punnishment for failing to water the garden.
He pressed hot charcoal iron at my back for taking 4th position in school. That was the day i vowed never to lay my hand on any of my children.The scars are still visible till today. Despite all,i never doubted the love he had for me. I was certain he had good intention towards me. He taught me self discipline- a virtue that has kept me through my military service. ” his voice racked as he spoke.
Ebube looked up. He could see tears eminating from general eyes as he narrated his childhood upbring. Ebube couldnt believe that a whole lieutenant general could break down in tears. Behind those tough looking face lies an emotion masked inside.
I may have fallen short of the father you expect. I never really had such ideal father either. You may still leave if you choose to” he said before unlocking the door and leaving the room.
Ebube was not going to leave again. He had gotten what he wanted. A proof of love from his dad. There is no better proof than seeing him shed a tear of his sake. This was the first time he had seen a military man cry.
Ever since,the relationship between father and son had grown stronger ,a bond only tears could strenghten