“But you don’t understand,I am so fucking stressed out. I don’t think I can do this anymore,” I yelled over the phone.

“Did you just say FUCK? Do you know who you are talking to?” my father yelled from the other end. I flinched on my end. Even though my father was over a thousand miles away, I was still afraid of him. Jesus how did I let that slip out of my mouth. That was a mistake.

“I’m sorry Daddy. I didn’t mean to say that to you,” I mumbled.

“It’s my fault. No you know what. It is your mother’s fault for sending you to school in America. You have grown too much wings. In fact maybe it is time you come back home to Nigeria,” he said and I heard a beep followed by a dial tone.

I had screwed the fuck up. What was I supposed to do? What was I thinking? I lay back on my bed and shut my eyes tight like it would fix anything. My life as I knew it was over. First of all, I couldn’t get a job and now, my dad was asking me to come back home meaning the only source of income I had here was gone. How the hell was I going to fix this?

I had to talk to my mother. I dialed her number and waited for it to ring. She picked up on the first ring as if in tune to my frantic call.

“Nwa m, o gini?” she asked me.

“Mummy, daddy wants me to come back to Nigeria. I was trying to explain to him that I need to do another degree in order to get a job. I can’t just get a job with this first degree but he isn’t understanding that. Plus if you are not American, nobody wants to give you a job just like that. It is not easy,” I burst out crying in the end.

“Ndo Nwa m, ndo,” she said. “It will all be okay. Your daddy will understand. I will talk to him for you ok. Don’t worry. It will be fine,” she said confidently. I hadn’t told her about the curse word yet. I knew I had to do it now unless I would be in extra trouble.

“Um mummy...so when I was talking to dad,” I started then took a deep breath, followed by the sign of the cross. “ I said the F-word to him by mistake,” I said with a resigned sigh.

“You did WHAT?!” my mother yelled over the phone.

“Mummy it was by mistake. I didn’t know when I even said it. I was just so stressed out,” I said quietly.

“Kelechi...Kelechi….KELECHI...how many times did I call your name?” she asked.

“Three times,” I answered. I never understood why she did this when she was mad at me. Like what was this going to solve. I almost chuckled at the thought but stifled it before I got into more trouble.

“Who is it that you are hanging out with over there? Is it because you are now living by yourself? Heuw. You want to kill me today ooo,” she yelled over the phone.

Gosh Nigerian parents were so dramatic. I leaned my head back on my sofa again and covered my eyes with my hand. I mean what was I expecting though? That it would just blow over real quick?

“Mummy, I said it was a mistake,” I said but I knew she couldn’t hear me because she was having a conversation with herself in Igbo.

“Mummy it was a MISTAKE,” I yelled over the phone.

“So you are now yelling at me? Are you yelling at me?” she said furiously.

Oh lord. Anything I said now would be used against me. There was no getting out of this.

“I am sorry mummy for yelling. I did not mean to. I love you,” I said knowing that this was the only way out.

“No o. You love yourself. Your daddy has done so much for you and all you have to repay him is saying fuck to him. You should be ashamed of yourself. We brought you up better than this. I can’t believe you Kelechi. Very soon you will be smoking indian hemp and drinking alcohol,” she said angrily.

I almost burst out laughing because yes I had smoked weed before and yes I had been drunk on one too many occasions. I was freaking 23 years old. What did they expect. I had graduated with a 4.0 GPA from a good college and yes sometimes I wanted to have fun but Nigerian parents do not believe in fun. At least mine didn’t.

“I haven’t done any of those things mummy,” I lied.

“Hmmm. Well what did your daddy say after this?” she asked after she had calmed down.

“He said he wants me to come back to Nigeria,” I said quietly.

“Well of course. That is it. I don’t blame him. What did you expect?” she asked getting riled up again.

“I am sorry that I used the word. I was just or I am just going through a lot of stress right now,” I said.

“I don’t know what to say to you. I will try to speak to him once he gets back from his trip but I cannot promise you anything. Your daddy is a devout Catholic. A Knight of St. Molumba. He has never even touched a drop of alcohol. And you want to say that word to him. Chai. These kids of nowadays,” she said sighing heavily.

“I know mummy, I feel terrible,” I said.

“Ok sha. Let me go. I was in the middle of something when you called. I will see what I can do in your situation. You should prepare a letter apologizing to your dad about what you have done and send it to me first so I can proofread it ok,” she said.

“Ok mum. Thanks for the advice. I love you,” I said hoping to gain some sympathy from her.

“Ehen,” she said and dropped the phone.

I guess not. I dropped the phone and walked over to my dresser where my stash was in. I pulled out my bowl that already had some weed in it and lit it up. This was exactly what I needed after the conversations I just had with my parents. In fact one could argue that the reason I started smoking weed was because of the conversations I had with my parents. Being the only child of two overprotective, overly religious, Nigerian parents was extremely tough. I took another hit. Okay, now I felt better. Time to conquer the day.




 -Joan Caven