I don’t know where this story starts from but I am determined it would end with me.
Changeling: Not The Beginning
Helpless. Trapped. Slow. Caged.
I am determined it would end with me. My name is Arinze Ikechukwu Obinna and I made the mistake of disobeying my father.
October 31, 1989
Tuesdays my father was often at home. I remember always coming home to meet him, sitting down on the sofa, a glass of cold “oranged water” in his hands and watching some boring thing on the TV.
The “oranged water” was a peculiar thing with him. A glass of water with half an orange squeezed into it. I tasted it once, it was more like water than orange but then it wasn’t water too.
But this day, had been different. I had come home and my father was not in the living room and my mother was not at home either. I met Aunty Chisom, my mother’s immediate younger sister at home.
“Aunty Chi, where did my mummy and my daddy go?” I enquired without even bothering to greet her.
“Mechonu, you this spoilt boy, won’t you greet me first?” she fired back.
“Aunty Chi, good afternoon, where did my mummy and my daddy go?” I replied
She looked at me, a little bit of sorrow creeping into her eyes as she reached out to hold me in a hug and told me softly that my parents would soon be back.
My mother came home that night but my father did not.
He came home three weeks later, a much changed man from the robust man I’d always known.
I remember looking at his face when he came back and wondering who the old man they’d brought home in place of my father was.
Changeling: Fellowship of The Father
My father recovered somewhat you could say, as he got a little of his strength back but in other ways he never recovered. He never stopped looking like an old man. He had been 42 years old when he took ill and when he came back he had the look and constitution of a man of 85 years.
Unexplained Ageing Syndrome the doctors had decided to call it, as they never could fathom what had gone wrong. But I know now what had gone wrong and in bitter reflection, I regret disobeying my father’s words.
Three years after his strange illness, my father changed towards me too. He became more “present”.
I would look up and there he would be – just looking at me. Whenever, he saw I noticed his presence he would smile at me and shuffle off to wherever. But in another hour or less he would often be back again.
Where before I’d just been the little son he played with every once in a while, now he had become my shadow. At night, he preffered to sleep in my room, never on the bed with me but on the rug. He would curl up in a corner and sometimes when I woke up at night to use the bathroom, I would see him staring at me intently – a strange light in his eyes.
During the day, he would often invite me into his den and he would talk at length and I would listen – ( or pretend to listen )
One day, about six years after his strange illness, I was thirteen years old then, he invited me into his den and after the usual lengthy talks, my father went quiet and then he made a strange request.
He said to me “Obinna, the fruit of my loins, my drop of little water today I want you to take off all your clothes, I will do the same and we will lay together”
…to be continued