Life had been so miserable for Mr. Emeka Okere who was repatriated from Germany a couple of weeks back. His almost five-year stay in the said country was summarily a waste, to assert the least. While in the country, he could obtain not even a pin owing to his uncalled lifestyle; he was so randy, and a drug addict to the core.
Ever since he returned Nigeria, precisely Mbaohia in Abia State – his ancestral home –, he had remained restless and mesmerized; the only thing he returned with was the earring he usually wore on the left side.
He kept roaming from one locality to another confusedly as he earnestly wished Nigerian diplomatic ties with Germany would forgive him of his past sins towards conveying him back to the latter. He was accused of theft, thus rather than prosecuting him, the concerned authority chose to retrace his steps back to Nigeria as that would be the only way the revered European nation would be freed from individuals of his like.
In spite of the untold misfortune that befell him, at the moment, all he could think of was how he would return abroad and continue with his rascality; hence, the reality was apparently yet to dawn on his person. Being the first born of his parents, everyone initially hoped on him not until sometime ago when they got the news of his unbecoming behaviour in overseas. It suffices to say that his abrupt deportation was absorbed as a welcome development by his siblings and kinsmen – particularly his aged mother – Madam Ndozi Okere, 76, who joined the widowhood fraternity about two years back when he was still in Germany.
They saw the repatriation as a golden opportunity to persuade the 45-year-old dude who wasn’t privileged to witness his late father’s burial ceremony, perhaps owing to lack of Permanent Residency Permit, to at least pick a marriageable lady in the village and settle down. On the contrary, Emeka was thinking differently from their kind and candid plans that they became of the view that the ostensibly good-for-nothing man was under a spell. “Emeka, my son.” his mum, Madam Ndozi called.
“Yes mama.” They were both seated adjacent to each other in separate settees in the family’s lounge at about 5:32pm on Saturday. The septuagenarian wore a single multi-coloured wrapper, grey top and low-cut hairs, whilst the dude who seemed not unlike a docked culprit was clad in brown three-quarter jeans, black T-shirt, plaited hairs and of course his earring as usual. The irony of their outlook was that the hairs of the woman were cut low while those of a man were plaited.“Why are you doing this to yourself?” the septuagenarian continued.
“What mama?” The old widow shook her head. “At 45,” she said. “Look at what you are doing to yourself.” She added, gesticulating. “I don’t understand you, mama.” he reiterated in false pretence. “What exactly are you talking about?” “I can see you are sick.” She observed.
“I mean, very sick.” “Me, sick..?” “Will you shout up,” she quarreled. “Are you looking normal?” “So, how do I look?” “Your two younger brothers are happily married with kids.” She enthused frankly. “And they are doing very well.” “So?” “Is that all you could say?” quoth Madam Ndozi, surprised. “So Emeka, that is all you could say?” she reiterated amid intense fury.
“And what did you expect me to say?” he said. “Or, I should start crying because my younger ones are all married and are doing well?” She shook her head again sympathetically. “Whosoever that did this to you will never see peace in his life.” she cursed. “Mama, I am okay.” claimed Emeka. “Stop bothering yourself.” “You are okay like this?” she said, gesticulating. “As you can see,” he insisted,spreading his hands. “I am perfectly okay.” “My son,” quoth Ndozi. “What I can see in you is nothing but doom.”
He was speechless and calm, became uneasy. “You really need deliverance.” she presumed. “That is the only way you can free yourself from this mess.” She just hit the nail on the head. Apparently, his son Emeka was deeply in need of rebirth towards overcoming the seemingly fathomless quagmire that beclouded his person. He needed not a soothsayer to come up with such a suggestion before he could have a rethink, yet it appeared his old mother was speaking in tongue right before him.
“What kind of deliverance are you talking about?” quoth Emeka, frowning. “Do I look ab“You look crazy and rejected, if you don’t know.” She ranted unequivocally. “Meaning?” he said. “How?” Madam Ndozi was silent. “My dear,” she called tenderly, gushed out tears.
“Your father died because of you.” She informed amidst the choking sobs. “Died because of me?” he echoed, got flushed. “Yes.” quoth Madam Ndozi. “After he learnt of your unruly behavior in Germany, he fell sick.” she clarified, paused. “And he didn’t recover from that sickness.” Emeka became sober, shocked over the information. “Are you sure of what you are saying?” “Am I sure?” she quarreled as she gasped for air.
“I am telling you what happened in your absence, you are asking if I am sure.” “Is okay, mama.” He enjoined, walked toward and began to console her. She was seemingly pleased by his gesture. She never knew he could still be kindhearted despite his weird transformation, social wise. “It is not okay, Emeka.” she argued. “It would be okay when you agree to get married and live like a responsible man.” “Mama, that is not my major plan right now.” He frankly notified as he was seated in the same settee with her.
“Not your major plan?” she verified. “Did I hear you right?” “Yes.” He clarified, looking elsewhere. “So, what’s your major plan?” There was absolute silence. “I want to go back to Europe.” He broke the brief silence. “Go back to where..?” “Europe, mama.” “If you try it, I will kill myself for you.” She shouted at the top of her voice.
“Mama, mama…” he urged calmly. “Don’t mama me ooh..” she said. “I can’t be a mother to someone who doesn’t know his left from right.” Before she could finish the last sentence, one of her sons – Chima – who lived in Calabar, Cross-River State walked in unannounced. It seemed he took them unawares. What transpired afterwards ought to be a story for another episode, so stay tuned.
• Nwaozor – novelist, playwright and poet, is Chief Executive Director, Centre for Counselling, Research & Career Development – Owerri