Monday, September 19, 2016

The Girl and Her Chairman

My uncle wrote a biography for my dad's tribute, which I just read, and it occurred to me that my dad fought in the Nigerian Civil War and he never, not for once, shared his war stories and experience with us his children. I have a childhood memory of one monochrome picture of him lying shirtless on his chest, with a cast around his waist, and my uncle George - his half brother, stood by him. That was the closest I came. But it was my mum who kept these pictures and would give us an account of his life in the military. Her version lacked detail, I doubt he gave her details too, and somewhere in my mind, I held on to Adichie's Half Of A Yellow Sun as the missing story. But one thing I remember mum always said on the topic was, "War? War is a bad thing o! Nobody prays for war." Now I ask myself why I waited for my dad to pass away before realizing I had all the time in the world to ask what his half of a yellow sun days were like. Just putting myself in his shoes for a moment, it must have made him feel miserable deep down to have a family and yet be a stranger to them. Not being able to share your self with your significant other and children must have led to thousands of internalized eruptions. Maybe that's part of why he was hardly home, even when he was not traveling for work. Quite brave to be happy on the outside, and heavy-hearted at the same time. All the time. He didn't have to walk alone. Maybe we could have worked this out, now we'll never know. With not much left to question, my gratitude goes up regardless.

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