Generation Gap (from the boy’s point of view)

Posted by By at 26 January, at 17 : 00 PM Print

Generation Gap (from the boy’s point of view)

 a short story

 

For reasons I can’t yet fathom, girls, among some of their mysterious personalities, like to introduce us (boys) to their parents. I am not in a hurry to let my old folks know about ANYTHING, most especially about my girl-friends. But then Ama, that’s my girl-friend’s name, is very different from most girls. She has only one nagging problem in her life – yes, you guess it, she would like me to meet her parents.

Ama is stunningly beautiful, I no lie. She possesses that raw beauty that endows a true African princess. Those girls with such good looks that make you think that the creator must have taken extra time in sculpturing them. Ama can stir a desire in a monk, I tell the truth. There is plenty of very good news in her body.

The gorgeous eighteen year old Sunshine (my pet name for her) persevered and I finally obliged her. I dressed up my baddest (that is in very up-to-2007 outfit for young men like myself) and we went to her folks at Mamprobi.

Ama hugged her pretty mother (that is where she got her ravishing looks from). She said a greeting to her acned father (let’s say he cannot win a beauty contest). She then repaired to another room with her mother to do, what I supposed, women usually do – gossip about us (men), leaving me with the father to do what men do – talk politics, discuss current national and international affairs and, eh, talk about them (women).

There I was, a bundle of nerves staring at, eh, Ama’s father, or is he my father-in-law? The English language fails in situations such as this. For Ama’s sake, I vowed to wow the man. ‘Father’s very difficult to please,’ she’d warned me. I should know: I have one. Which father is not difficult to please? Perhaps that’s why they are fathers.

Ama’s father sat lazyboning in a chair drinking the Ghanaian contribution to cocktails – Mandigo Bitters mixed with Guiness. He wore an old-fashioned trouser and a simple shirt. His stomach was round and fleshy. Was that a beer belly? Age? Shall we say an old man? Anyone above thirty years is to us (youngsters) an old man, anyway. How do I become prince-charming and impress Ama’s father sufficiently to fulfil my obligations to her?

He kept to his drink and gave no indication that I was there, or that I even exist at all. That rankles, but I kept my cool. He drank his bitter concoctions and watched the television. I sat, my sweaty palms folded on my knees. Each time I looked up, though, I caught him glancing, really staring at me. Was that an ironic smile dancing at the corners of his mouth?

“So you are Ama’s friend?” Ama’s father wondered suddenly and woodenly. I was caught unaware by the question: its abruptness and directness momentarily threw me.

“Yes, sir.” I replied.

Silence.

“Would you like a drink, kid?”

“Yes, sir. Gin and lime, sir. Thank you, sir.” I replied and regretted it immediately. The truth of the matter is that I was totally uncomfortable sitting down there with the old man. All my well- rehearsed performance has come to nothing. I have drilled myself on how I was going to handle the situation, but he is either a good actor or he can read my mind. He is silent when I expected him to talk and talk to me when I least expected him to. And the questions – he hasn’t really ask any of the questions I have prepared myself to handle.

“Gin and lime, it will be then, kid.”

And why doesn’t he stop this ‘kid’ stuff? I am twenty years old, and I consider myself a majority, grown-up. Okay, I am actually nineteen and two months, but I don’t believe in months. His calling me kid makes me look so puny. I don’t like it at all, but how do I tell Ama’s father?

He dragged himself from his easy chair, cast a long look at me (I examined the carpet afresh) and sauntered to the drink cabinet. He ruminated a little, got a bottle of Zoom-Zoom and a bottle of lime and put it on a side-table beside me. He fetched and brought a glass to me. He almost suffocated me with his presence.

“Thank you, sir. Very much, sir.” I said in a shaky voice. Perhaps the liquor would restored some of my battered confidence. In my nervous state, I mis-poured the drinks – almost filling my glass with lime before remembering the gin. I put the glass to my mouth, tasted and swallowed. I almost choked on his next question.

“How close are you with my girl?” Ama’s father wanted to know.

His ‘girl!’ I guess he was letting me know who pull the punches around here. I didn’t understand the question properly and was determined not to fall into any trap.

“Close, what do you mean, sir?” I asked him.

Silence.

Ama’s father seems to agree with Che Guevara’s observation that: ‘silence is arguments (conversation) carried on by other means.’

“I mean how solid is your re-, friendship. How close are you two?”

“You mean close as in close, sir” I needed some elaboration.

“Yes, close as in close?” He was persistent.

I didn’t want to irritate Ama’s father, but I was determined not to answer any improperly-framed question. “Do you mean to ask if we are doing stuffs together, sir?”

“‘Stuff’?” His eyes bulged. That was the first time he asked me anything with some life in his voice.

“Yes sir, do you mean to ask if we’re doing stuffs like discoing, cooing, necking, kissing and f-?” He didn’t allow me to finish. I was going to tell him that I do with his daughter only what two young and healthy couple would, naturally, do. His face was a map of distress as he regarded me.

“You mean…”

“I mean what sir?”

“Never mind. But are you taking any precaution?”

“Protection? I don’t believe in it, sir. Jah Guides, sir.”

“Do you mean to say that you’re doing ‘stuff’ with my daughter and you’re taking no precaution?” His big eyes bored into me.

“Your questions threw me, sir.” I admitted. “But we are cool, sir. My old folks are OK.”

“Your old folks?” Ama’s father is not hip.

“My parents, I mean, sir.”

“Are your parents aware of your doing ‘stuffs’ with my girl?”

I wish he will end this ‘my girl’ stuff. It sort of makes me feel like an interloper. “My old folks are strictly twenty-first century guys, you know, sir.”

“Twenty-first century guys, what does that mean?”

“I meant to say, sir, that they are dynamic, sir. They are up-to-date. They are into electronics and stuffs. My father actually uses a computer and my mother packs a pager. Actually, sir, I am being modest there. My father is a wizard-level computer genius. Even some of his colleagues think he’s up to guru-level. My mother plays chess and dreams algorithm all the time. They are cool cookies, sir.”

“Do you discuss ‘stuffs’ with them?” The old man is catching up, but he’s not yet comfortable with the lingo.

“My old lady tells me things since I was ten or eleven. My father has been giving me money for accessories and immunities since I was twelve.”

“Accessories and immunities?” The old man was askance.

“Yes, sir. Condoms and things, sir.”

For some strange reasons, it appears that Ama’s father did not like what I was telling him. I was determined to answer him as truthfully as I could. The more I make a good job of telling him nothing but the truth, the more profound he looks. Could he possible hate me?

“Do you smoke?” Ama’s father wanted to know. The pretension of watching the TV was long gone. I now have his undivided attention. I felt like a criminal being grilled by tough detectives. It was not a nice feeling.

“Tobacco you mean, sir.”

“Tobacco, what other things are there to smoke, kid?” His penetrating stare was affixed upon me.

“Tobacco are strictly kid stuffs, sir.”

“Really!” I did not know whether or not he was amused or anguished by what I am telling him. His shoulders were broad. His arms and hands very bid – like any old man’s arms, anyway.

“Yes sir, there are some real cool stuffs, sir.”

“Like what?” He wanted to know. I had the feeling that he wanted me to name him stuffs like the over-hyped cannabis or heroin. I really do not dig those stuffs.

“Like dried lettuce leaves, sir. Cabbage leaves are also good, but they leave a bitter after-taste. Paw-paw leaves are fantastic, but they leave you a physical wreck afterwards. Nothing beats young egg-plant leaves, nothing really. Some guys also swear by cassava leaves, but I can’s give an opinion on that, sir.”

I was becoming more voluble than I intended. I don’t know if it was the way he asked the questions, or is the drink having an effect on me?

“How old are you?”

“Twenty, sir.”

“Ama said that you’re nineteen.” He watched my tortured face closely. Could he think that I was lying to him?

“I am 19.2, sir. But since I do not believe in decimals, that makes me twenty. Doesn’t it?” I have gained enough confidence to ask Ama’s father questions

“I guess it does.” I detected some cynicism in the voice. I really don’t dig cynics.

Silence.

“Ama’s said that you are a sort of student, what does mean?”

If he really wanted to know, he could have asked his daughter. “It means that I am a sort of student, sir” I replied petulantly,

“I don’t catch you.”

” I didn’t threw myself, sir.”

He corrected himself; “I don’t get you.”

“Sir, I don’t kind of dig all the schools stuffs, sir. I am cool, you see. Honest to God, sir, I tried all the stuffs they got there, sir. Philosophy – too dense for me. Logical Positivism, Logical Atomism, Ethics, Naturalism, Materialism, Immaterialism, Subjectivism, Sophism, Metaphysics, I cannot make a head or tail out of all the rambling. I got my hands into some Sociology and Political Science. I even tried some Anthropology – none of them jell with me. Neither did Economics plus the rest of the social sciences agreed with me, sir. I guess that I’m not just constitutionally equipped to deal with them – anything abstractly stated always floors me. The physical sciences, I must admit, are too tough cookies for me. I told you that I did not like decimals, that kind of make things tougher for me. I can’ t handle mathematics because I think those guys are just kidding themselves writing all those Greek letters and thinking that they are being scientific. I hate statistics because it reduces everything to percentage points. The spiritual philosophies cool my soul, but I cannot imagine myself a singer or an artist – too much fakery out there, sir. Everybody is now into music, Jesus this, Jehovah that. I am different, sir. I am cool.” I cannot believe that I could become so loquacious with Ama’s father.

“How did your parents manage to keep you in school, then?”

“I told you that my old folks are OK. My father has more connections than the Ghana Telecom.”

“Have you figure out what agrees with your soul?” I detected the cynical smile again.

“Not really, sir. I guess I will just cut myself adrift and let the current carry me in its wake. Water always finds its level. Don’t you agree, sir?”

“I bet it does. What plans have you for my daughter, then?”

“I haven’t figure that one out yet, sir. Nevertheless, we will be OK. We always are. We are going to be cool, sir.”

Just then, Ama emerged from the room with her mother. I had the feeling her evening had been better spent. The women were giggling. Ama threw herself on my lap. I saw the father winced in agony.

 

About the Author

Femi Akomolafe is a passionate Pan-Africanist. A columnist for the Accra-based Daily Dispatch newspaper and ModernGhana, and Correspondent for the New African magazine, Femi lives in both Europe and Africa, and writes regularly on Africa-related issues for various newspapers and magazines.

Femi was the producer of the FOCUS ON AFRICANS TV Interview programme for the MultiTV Station.

He is also the Man and Machine Coordinator at Alaye Dot Biz Limited, a Kasoa-based Multimedia organisation that specialises in Audio and Video Production. He loves to shoot and edit video documentaries.

His highly-acclaimed books (“Africa: Destroyed by the gods,” “Africa: It shall be well,” “18 African Fables & Moonlight Stories” and “Ghana: Basic Facts + More”) are available for sales at the following bookshops/offices:

  1. Freedom Bookshop, near Apollo Theatre, Accra.
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Where to buy them online:

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Africa: It shall be well: https://goo.gl/KIMcIm

 

Africa: it shall be well

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Africa: Destroyed by the gods

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on Lulu Books: http://goo.gl/KIMcIm

 

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Femi Akomolafe

 

 

 

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