Story Title: Emotan
Category: Short Story
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Emotan did not like her Father very much. He was loud, brash and petulant, only showing more than a perfunctory interest in her when she brought home good grades from school; what he called the ‘fruits of his labour’. Emotan’s mother was a beautiful paradox: outspoken in one breath, and her Father’s pushover in the next breath.
Emotan made it a point to date men who were the opposite of her father. They were fair and wiry where her father was dark and stocky. They were emotionally available where her father was distant and manipulative. She had never seen her parents be affectionate with each other. Once, she saw her mother swat a mosquito off her father’s arm. He had shouted at her for hitting him, and her mother visibly folded into herself. He was also a talker, a Professor of Economics at UniBen dissatisfied with the system who loved to tell tales about the past.
From his stories of the Civil War, you would have thought he had been a General in charge of troops at the time, when in actual fact he had been 10 years old when the war had broken out. Emotan had remained in Abuja after she completed her National Youth Service to get away from her parents, and had no intention of moving back home. She was caught unawares when her mother called her first thing one Monday morning to say ‘Ogbebor brought another woman to the house’.
Emotan almost asked ‘Who?’, because she had never heard her mother call her father by his first name in her 25 years on earth. Over the next few weeks, she endured tearful phone calls from her Mother with updates about how her Father was losing his mind. Emotan was not sure what her Mother wanted her to do. So she just listened. After three months the story changed: ‘I’ve left his house. I’m at your Aunty Evarista’s house’. Emotan knew then that she had to go Benin to find out what was going on. Her mother and her Aunt were close, but they were very similar; both passive- aggressive gossips.