The elderly man slammed his fists on the table and grunted as he leaned back in his chair. The young man adjusted his position in his chair and stared in disbelief. In the still night air, an elderly woman reeled in from the adjacent room and stared at the two men in silent alarm. She wondered what had sent temper flaring and sought out the young man’s face. She would not utter a word.
The young man looked down at the table top, in silent disbelief at the momentary, unpleasant exchange. Nothing could have prepared him for this. Then again, his entire life had been a preparation for this moment. He sighed and remembered that we are all born to die.
Sensing the quiet but tense collusion of the two, the woman ambled out and shut the door behind her, still wondering and deeply disappointed that it had come to this. ‘This man is my husband,’ she prayed in soft whispers, ‘and Lord, if you see fit that I should spend the rest of my days with a raving mad-man, then so be it! Just be informed that I shall have no joy but a great deal of pain. We are all your children and we need you to set things right. No amount of bullying can ever change your view of us. In the same way, lead us on a clearer path to delight and bless you in our words and actions. Forgive us for our poor behaviour. Amen.’
‘Agnes? Agnee- ess! Bring your husband some tea!’ the old man barked and ended the brief tirade with a cough. The young man exited the room and went to fetch his mother.
‘I am making the tea, my son. Okay, so how did it start this time?’ she asked wearily.
‘Mum, you know how I love Yvonne and I cannot leave her every time I visit? Well, I told Dad that and he completely lost it. Said something to the effect that I am a complete disgrace. I couldn’t believe it and asked why! That’s when he lost it!’
‘He’ll come round when you settle down and have children,’ she replied, willing herself to believe her own words and failing miserably.
‘What has happened to him? He has no love for anyone or anything?!’ Charyles asked, feeling frantic and frustrated.
‘I don’t know. Really, I don’t but I can tell you that he loves you very much and always will,’ said Mum, smiling through her aching heart, as she placed the items onto the tea-tray.
‘Let me help you with that,’ he offered, but she pulled the tray out of his reach and went into the next room.
‘So your boy now goes to the kitchen does he?’ growled the old man. Mama Charles poured Baba’s tea and left without a word.
Charles heard the outburst and gave his mother a quizzical look, then he kissed and hugged her and walked past his father to the front door.
‘Dad, thanks for spending time with me,’ he said quietly and he was gone before the old man could respond.
As he left, he determined never to return and seek audience with his father. It would be easier to make a date with an African President just before elections and possibly, a great deal more pleasant and of a longer duration.
My last visit to my family home. It’s been six years of trying and he never ever tells me why he’s so angry at me and what I could have ever done to deserve this behaviour. It’s time he learns that I am a man too – so, over and out!