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The One Who Tamed The Night BY …Jude Idada

The One Who Tamed The Night BY …Jude Idada

… There was once a father and a son.

This father had driven the mother of his son from his home because she had given birth to a daughter so fair in complexion, he could not fathom how a man as dark as him could have fathered her.

This son snuck daily to see his mother as she irked a living out at the edge of the city in which they lived, with her daughter in tow.

This father drove his son like an ox in the fields as he had him sell firewood on his head through the streets of the city.

He didn’t believe in education and lashed his son each time he saw him with a book.

“People like us do not go to the white man’s school!”

Yet the boy persevered, as he befriended a Catholic priest, who arranged for private classes for him at church for an hour a day, during the time he was supposed to be hawking for firewood.

And one day the father found out and lashed him severely to a few heartbeats from the point of death.

“People like us do not worship the white man’s god!”

Yet the boy persevered and sat for his entrance exams on the auspices of the Church, which he passed with flying colours. So good were his scores that he won a full scholarship to a top secondary school in the city.

And when he broke the news to his father, he once again lashed him so severely, that all he could do to cling to his life, was run out of the house, across town, until he arrived at the shanty in which his mother lived.

It was there he healed, and from there he started going to school.

And it took him seventeen years before he set eyes on his father again.

Years in which he had grown in stature and in position.

So well to do that he had moved his mother and sister away from squalor and found himself living in more fortunate circumstances.

He had kept away from his father because of his mother, who had begged him to cut all ties to his father, preaching to him that his father and evil were one and the same.

But when his mother passed on after a bout of meningitis and his sister needed a father to give her away in early marriage, the son had found himself walking into the compound in which he was born.

What he met was misery.

A father nearly insane with want and illness.

And he was moved.

So he gathered his father and with love and forgiveness nursed him back to health.

And the years that followed were kind.

So he built him a house.

And married him a wife.

A wife who had two children for the aged man.

These children grew and schooled from the full generosity of the son.

And he became the vortex around which the entire family rotated.

Until the day when he brought home a girl to marry.

There were sadness and gloom.

Jealousy and hate.

But he stood by the one he loved until by sheer will and doggedness, she became his wife.

A wife who bore him three children.

And even as the seeds of his loins grew, he still carried the burden of his father, his stepmother and his half-siblings.

Until his business began to stutter.

And he had to cut back his expenses to stay afloat.

So he went to his father and told him that he had to scale back on allowances and pleaded that his half-siblings who were now working could also chip in to help.

And a tempest was unleashed by his father

Who with a raised angry voice said to his married son…

“Before your family eats, I must eat.”

And the son in meekness said to his father.

“My family in all things must come first.”

Which greatly provoked the father to scream at the son.

“I am your family!”

“You are my father, just like I am a father to two children. Your grandchildren. If you say that you are more important than them, then I will say to you, that I made a mistake to have come back to lift you up from where you have fallen, even though you had so greatly wronged me, my mother and my sister. If you say that I owe you more than I owe them, then I will say to you that I owe you nothing and will in regret walk out of this house today never for you to set your eyes again on me.”

“You belong to no one else but me!”

When the son heard those words, he looked at his father with tears in his eyes, and he turned around and walked to the door.

And the father said to his son.

In a voice that was steely and cold.

“If you walk out of that door, I want you to know that before this year ends, I will step on your grave.”

The son choked back a tear but did not turn back to his father.

He instead walked out of the house with a heavy heart.

And four months to that day.

The son slept never to wake up again.

And the father said when he was told of his son’s demise.

“My god does not lie. A son who disowns his father will die. When you bury him, come take me to show me his grave.”

Three weeks after that, the father stepped on his son’s grave.

And went home without a tear in his eyes.

So it was that the father lived for twenty one more years.

Years of surplus.

As his wife and children provided for all his wants.

Not out of love.

But out of fear.

They had seen what he could do.

And fully understood the nickname he bore.

“The one who tamed the night.”

And when he died.

They buried him as though he was a king.

For even in death, they still believed his spirit could do them harm.

Yet until this day, the wife and the children of the father who lived so old, never talk about the stepson and half-brother who gave them so much to get them to where they presently are, because as they say, their father has placed a curse of an untimely ghastly death on anyone of his direct blood who mentions the name of his son again.

And in Lagos, a wife and her three children miss so deeply, the father who loved them beyond all else.

The father who was killed by the father he loved.

The father who should have listened to his mother.

This life!

N.B

In my days at the University of Ibadan, I dated the eldest daughter of the father so unfortunate.

She is reading my recounting of the story of her father.

She is proud of her father.

And still, believes that forgiveness is infinitely better than malice.

And love is stronger than hate.

But in all things, beyond love, hate, and sacrifice, wisdom is the key to victory.

And the eyes of a mother seeth all things.

 

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Posted by:- on October 12, 2018.

Categories: Literature

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