The ring is ready for another rumble. Blood courses through my veins in futile attempts to stop my heart from racing. This man here is praying. That man there is hyperventilating. And can someone please tell this woman beside me that she’s holding on too tightly and her blackish green sweat is beyond disturbing, quite unpatriotic I might add. And can anyone help me whisper to that raging loudmouth by the corner that he’s preaching to the choir. And I’m their director.
That cock and bull story of how a soldier is no good for Nkem, my daughter, is getting old. The loudmouth said it last Friday, yesterday his rants annoyed me to bed and here he is today, saying the same thing. Even the walls seem tired of his discourse; I saw them crack this morning as he spoke.
The young man must think so little of me. He is particularly excited at how the soldier’s age completely disqualifies him from being in contention for Nkem’s hand in marriage.
Is he calling me blind for not regarding the wrinkles on the suitors face? He must have mistaken my squinted eyes for decoration. Maybe he has.
Or is he insulting my memory by reminding me of things I already am reminded of? I saw sweat trundle down his forehead as he pumped his fist in the air and went on pointing out the wrongs the old dove has done. He called him unrefined, extreme and harsh. Of this, I already am aware of.
Or maybe he thinks I’m deaf. His parents must have told him I fought in the Great War. Maybe he thinks all the noise of grenades and gunshots must have clogged my ears. Yesterday, when he chattered endlessly, I actually wished they had been clogged. His “salient” reasoning poured like rain much to the dismay of sanity, and unsurprisingly to the admiration of the gullible crowd at the village square.
He must really think I’m deaf, for I don’t understand why he enjoys reiterating every unsavoury speech the man said in times past and expects me to applaud him for his “thorough approach”. I am aware this soldier believes some things I do not, and has said some things that probably should be unsaid–if only that were possible– but the fact that I choose to have him in spite of all the scandals that surrounds him is a pointer to how bad the other option is. In spite of his flaws, picking him is a risk I am willing to take.
This crusader has forgotten that although he may be family, he can only suggest, not command me on what to do. Nkem, my little princess has gone through a lot. Her ex-husband, Dothan, had her for six whole years and you need to see the state she was in before I snatched her from his arms.
Battered and bruised, she could barely recognize me. She fell asleep as I took her to the hospital, and when she finally came around, the first word she said was “Papa”. She called me father. But I know i don’t deserve this title. Her father was a man like none other. A warrior-par-excellence. Yet, a very homely man. He knew when to wear a smile and when to take care of business. A man of steel and brawn. Maybe it’s that bit of him that I see in this soldier that has me decided on him. Nkem needs someone with a firm hand, but a gentle grip. Someone that, if needs be, would catch a grenade for her, without thinking too hard about it. And this “soldier boy” looks the part. I may be wrong about him, but i doubt it.
Dothan, although not outrightly evil, is in cahoots with the wrong crowd. They pervert his judgment and cloud his cranium with corrupt concepts. They feed him lies. They tell him he’s invincible and we are all fools. He has always been a simple man, easy to manipulate. His friends know this. They never liked him; they were only after all he had. Nkem was all he had. Without her he was no better than a drunken fisherman by the waterside. So the gullible Dothan attended to their every whim, bending like the palm tree to a strong wind. And when I heard he had begun pimping her out to please these evil men–the so called “cabal”– he heard my roar. I refuse to stand by doing nothing while my favourite falls. I refuse to do nothing while things go awry.
Now back to the loudmouth activist and his hatred for all things military, be they active or retired. I accept, he may never fully understand why i take this risk. But I hope he’ll join me and see the error of Dothan’s ways. I hope he agrees with me and hopefully, someday when we look back to how bad things were before the soldiers came back, we’ll rest knowing we did what’s right.
Have you heard? Our Nkem is getting married this month. Have you gotten your Invite? Of course, the Invite is the PVC. Your vote is your voice in her betrothal…do have your say wisely.