THE DAUGHTER

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Nneoma threatened to kill her mother! She held the knife as she peered down at the woman who gave birth to her, threatening to slit her throat unless she told her the truth she was seeking. It was a dramatic moment. Never in a million years would Joy have imagined that her own daughter would point a knife at her. But something led to the incident; Nneoma had been called a bastard by someone who wasn’t supposed to…

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It all began twenty five years earlier when the vibrant and beautiful Joy met and fell deeply in love with an equally young man. The romance happened quickly and within a few weeks the deed was done. there was never a time for the two love birds to really get to know each other- where they were really from as typical Africans would ensure to know before getting serious with a relationship. It wasn’t until Joy became pregnant that the need for this proper introduction became obvious. The lover boy had suggested an abortion but Joy wasn’t about that! She wanted to keep the pregnancy and if possible get married to the young man. She managed to convince him against his wishes. But just as he began to contemplate the possibility of this even happening, he discovered that the both of them were somewhat related, and according to the Igbo culture would be committing an abomination if thy got married. This was the end of the romance even as Joy vanished with the pregnancy, away from the man she had loved. For many years after she bore the child, she kept it a secret from the man, while also keeping the father’s existence from the daughter.
Unsurprisingly, Nneoma bore striking semblances to the father who was unknown to her. Each time she inquired of whom her father was her mother would narrate a fictitious story of a man who was a goof father but had died unfortunately while Nneoma was still a toddler. She believed these stories, and would often wish her father hadn’t died. So it was a huge shocker for her when somebody in the extended family called her a hopeless bastard during a dispute which resulted in hot exchange of words as the family gathered for grandma’s thanksgiving. After this abuse, emotionally-torn Nneoma went directly to the kitchen, grabbed a kitchen knife and walked into her mother’s room. She shook the woman awake from her sleep, made sure she appeared vicious as she threatened to cut her unless she told her the truth and nothing but the truth. While she wasn’t really going to harm the woman, she knew she had to appear determined to do that if she were to be taken seriously. And that worked because Joy soon spilled the entire beans.
Unfortunately five months later after Nneoma managed to trace her father to Port Harcourt, the man was not in need of a daughter. His wife had borne him five daughters and he wasn’t about to add the sixth one at the expense of upsetting the relative peace between him and the wife. Perhaps if she were a son he might have considered her valuable…

~Emmanuel Benson

 

 

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