Daddy's Hot-ice

"Koko, your bowels will dance azonto today", my sister teases me as I get to the gate of our house. "Why?", I ask. "Even the gods cannot say", she laughs. As I open the door, my brother shouts "Koko go back". My father immediately carries me and puts me on the dinning chair. He brings out a piece of paper. It is his bank account statement.

Dad: Koko, read.

I read. I look up at him. His gaze is fixed on me.

Dad: Look at the paper again and tell me how much I transfered to your mother's account on Wednesday.

I'm trying to think of all the movies I've seen. To see which one has a scene like this.

Me:  Thirty thousand naira.
Dad: Do you know what the money is meant for?

I said "No" even though I know. He smiles.

Dad: I am trying to be a good father, providing so that my family does not know lack or starve.

He points to a board that's hanging on the wall. He created it and placed it there himself.

Dad: What is that board for?
Me:  To indicate absence.

My father came up with a rule that anyone who is not going to be available for breakfast, lunch and supper, has to indicate their absence on the board so that meals are not prepared for them. I hate to admit this but, my father is half insane. Who does that? I have asked most of my friends if they have such policies in their homes, perhaps, they know someone who does. But "No" is forever the answer.

Dad: Were you in the house for breakfast?
Me:  No
Dad: Did you indicate?
Me:  No
Dad: Were you in for lunch?
Me:  No
Dad: Did you indicate?
Me:  I forgot...
Dad: Direct answers only, please.
Me:  No
Dad: Were you in for supper?
Me:  It's still evening.
Dad: Oh yes! That's true. What time is it now?
Me:  Few minutes past eight.
Dad: What time of the day is dinner in this house?
Me:  I don't think there should be a stipulated time for meals, dad.
Dad: Koko?
Me:  Yes dad
Dad: Direct answers only.
Me:  6:30pm
Dad: Good
Me:  But what I went out to do is important.
Dad: Is it a job that puts money on this table?
Me:  No
Dad: Does it have anything to do with your school work?
Me:  Somehow
Dad: Answer the question!
Me:  No
Dad: Then I don't care. How old are you?
Me:  Fifteen
Dad: What's a boy of your age doing outside by 8:00 pm?
Me:  I and my friends were...
Dad: Shut up! I've heard it a thousand times and it still makes no sense.

He walks into the kitchen and comes out with a tray of three dishes.

Dad: Your breakfast, lunch and dinner served at once. Tell me about some other person who gets this kind of treat? Especially from their father...
Me:  No one. Except me.

My eyes are filled with tears. This is not the first time this is happening and I usually wake up in the middle of the night to fully occupy the toilet.

Dad: Then you my son, must be very special. Eat and be merry.

It was jollof rice with fried fish, beans porridge and fried plantain, baked potatoes with scrambled chicken. This is the only time when food terrorises me. I had eaten fufu and vegetable soup at my friend's place. My mother came in from the bedroom. Her eyes carried pity for me.

Mum: Honey please don't punish him this much. Let him have just one of the meals.
Dad:   Koko! Eat! Now!

He sits still like a mannequin, watching me eat in pain. My body is numb. I can't feel my hands. I can't feel my body. Am I still alive? My brother comes out of the room with a mattress. He will not share the room with me this night. It's going to be a vigil that will fill the room with farts.

Mum: Eddy, this must stop. You cannot continue to force him to eat this much.
Dad:  Well, I am the one whose money feeds this family.
Mum: You asked me to stop working. I was a career conscious woman. And you, Eddy, begged me to stop so I can take care of my children.
Dad:  Our children! Our children!
Mum: No! My children!

It's a grave yard now. Mum's eyes are wet. Dad is obviously confused. And I am the reason for all these.

Dad:  Are you going to pick a quarrel with me now for instilling discipline in my son?
Mum: He's working on a science project with his friends. I have seen what they do and I am proud of my son. I do not agree that he comes home late but I've begged you never to punish him this way. When I wake up tomorrow morning, I'll go back to my career. No one is going to punish my children because I don't contribute to their feeding.

She walks away. I hate the way dad punishes me but I'm not sure I agree with mum. Isn't she being too sentimental? Women! I love the way she loves me though.

Dad: Koko...

That's the nicest way I've ever heard him call my name.

Dad: Stop eating. You are the author of this problem and you have to finish it. I don't want your mother quarreling with me.
Me:  I have to finish my science project.
Dad: Are you negotiating with me?
Me:  I just want to continue with my project, without over-feeding myself.

He looks at me like a sad Bingo as he walks away. I love my mum, but most of all, I love the way he loves her.

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