The night was filled with cricket sounds as father and son sat outside to enjoy the cool breeze after having their dinner.
Papa Emeka cleared his throat. It was a sign that Emeka knew so well. It meant that his father was about to have a serious conversation with him.
‘How many times did I call you?’
‘Two times, Sir.’
‘Nna, have you thought about what you’ll do after you graduate?’
‘Ehn! But why?’
‘I’m…I’m still…thinking about it.’
‘Hmmm. I asked you this same question the last time you came home for the holidays and you told me that you were thinking about it too. So, you haven’t finished thinking all this time, ehn Emeka?’
‘Papa…It’s not like that.’ Emeka sighed and fixed his eyes on the large Udara tree in front of their house.
‘It’s like how?’ Papa Emeka asked.
‘It’s just…I don’t know,’ Emeka said.
‘I haven’t written my finals yet, and the results from the last semester’s exams have not been released. And now, school is on strike…in short, I don’t even know when we’ll resume. That’s why I’m still thinking, Papa.’
‘I see…okay. Well, you know that the future of this family is in your hands. And you also know that myself, your mother, and your siblings have sacrificed a lot to put you through school. Do I need to remind you that your younger brother dropped out of secondary school to learn a trade so that he can help the family?’
‘No, Papa.’ Emeka replied.
‘Now, let me tell you something. You are the Okpara – the first son. Nna, I can see your fear. Yes, I am your father, and you cannot hide anything from me.’
‘IF…YOU…BELIEVE, that there’s a reason for everything that happens, then you must also believe that you can handle whatever comes your way. Because you see this God ehn, he knew what he was doing when he did not allow a man to see tomorrow. It is so that man can believe today that tomorrow will come, and stand steadfast for the journey that is ahead of him…’
Mama Emeka’s voice interrupted them. She was scolding her youngest daughter for not folding the clothes that she had washed that morning.
‘This woman, stop shouting biko. You are disturbing the neighbors.
Mama Emeka said something about husbands with so much time on their hands so they poke their noses into their wives’ business.
‘Oho! Hear how she’s trying to bring the house down. Chai! Women…women. Emeka, draw your ears. Before you bring any woman into your house, make sure she’s not as crazy as this your mother or you’ll not hear nwiii.’ Papa Emeka said the last part softly.
‘Come, let’s go inside before she turns red like a tomato. Remember all that I’ve told you. Believe that it will be well, e nu go – did you hear me?’
‘Yes, Papa. Thank you.’ Emeka said, laughing at his parents’ antics.