After the performance, visitors and well-wishers from Obiruand beyond flocked to the Igwe’s palace in order to pay homage to the newly-returned prince and to steal glances at the white woman whom he had brought with him (although the white men resided in the big cities, white women were very few in number). They praised him with names like Omekannaya (he who does like his father), Ojemba (traveler), and Nwa Oyibo(white son) and presented him with their gifts and blessings. They had high expectations for their newly-returned son.
During the feast that followed, Afam introduced the three strangers whom he had brought with him to his family. The first was Dr. Thompson, a young, sharp-looking Englishman whom he had met at Cambridge; the second, an African, was Mr. Adeleke, also a friend of his at the university; and the third was a beautiful English girl by the name of Jenifer, whom he introduced as his fiancé.
“What is the meaning of fiancé, my son?” asked his father in their native Igbo.
“It means she and I will soon be married,” he replied in English, rather ashamedly that he had not mentioned such an important news much earlier. Upon hearing the very words, the same girl that Afam assumed was a palace-maid, got up from the table and excused herself in suppressed tears. His mother did the same and went after her. Afam demanded to know what was happening but his father did not say a word. They ate in silence and for the remainder of the meal.
That same night, when Afam sat in his lamp-lit room flipping through his Oxford English Dictionary, his father quietly walked in. He looked up from his book and greeted him, but he did not reply.
“You have disappointed me,” began his father in Igbo. “Why did you not tell anyone that you intended to marry? We would’ve found a suitable wife for you…not a white woman.”
Setting his book down, Afam stood up and faced his father. “Jenifer is my wife and I love her. I have already made my choice,” he replied in English.
“There is nothing like love!” exclaimed his father. “Your mother and I know what is best! We have already married a wife for you!”
“Father, how could you people be so brutish and barbaric as to marry a woman in my name without my consent?” roared Afam in English that his father barely understood. He let out a deep sigh and ran his hands through his hair in frustration.
“An okra stem does not grow taller than the man who planted it… Just because you have gone to the white man’s land and learned his language does not mean you can come back and use it anyhow, forgetting that you are still my son…Your mother and I have acted in your best interest. The wife we selected for you is a good girl. She is the first daughter of Igwe Arinze of Ubulu kingdom and atop that she is very beautiful. Whether you like it or not you must marry her!”
“Father, I shall do no such thing…Jenifer is my wife.”
“Let me never hear that name in this palace again! Else I shall disown you!” threatened his father. “You have heard what I said and I shall leave you to ponder it.” With that he stormed out of the hut leaving Afam by himself.
Afam calmly resumed to his book. He was not at all perturbed for he believed in the overcoming power of genuine love. In a few weeks time, he and his colleagues would begin their medical mission. He had no time for village drama and politics. He certainly had no time for that crude thing his father called a throne. He would surely let him know his plans when the time comes.