>> Friday, October 30, 2009
Mr Okreke has two wives. He stands firmly on the ground in a withered suit. It is as if his eyes are far behind his eyeballs. He's far in there, not really present. But they look kind. A sweet smile pushes away the wrinkles on his cheeks. He is short and has grown a little pot-belly over the years, but according to the rumours he used to be really handsome in his prime-age. He's calmed down a bit now, but has been a heavy drunk for as long as many people can remember. His wives always remained faithfully by his side. When my father-in-law died, my mother-in-law says, that Okreke was the only man to play with her two remaining sons. When everyone else talked crap, Okreke was playing with them. When he wasn't entirely drunk. He'd stagger from side to side and stumble his way forward, maybe fall into the ditch. He'd say: "I'm going to GET you I swear to God! I'll beat the hell out of you" , and point his cain at the boys. They'd laugh because he could never muster the strength to fight back and was just talking empty words. It was as if he knew he could make them laugh in one of the darkest days of their life. Wonder what made him drink in the first place...
This is a real story I thought I'd bring up. Last night one of my closest friends confessed to me how her mother drinks a bottle of conjac every day. It started when her little sister got a serious form of cancer. She was hospitalized for a year, but miraculously survived. Now that everyone is fine and well, the mother who's kept them together for all those years is the one to take the blow. It hit me - alcoholism is way more common than anyone can imagine. Or any other similar family problem. But we never talk about it and just pretend everything's fine. Everyone thinks their neighbour is better off while in fact every family has their cross to bear.