It’s funny how If’anachọ appeared that year I got to know myself. With a direct gaze, hands held out, palms facing upwards, clean and empty, I was tempted, heavily tempted but three thoughts dropped into my mind, kpọm, kpọm, kpọm, as heavy and loud as the rocks Somto drops into the overflowing stream to dam it.
Thought One: Did I need If’anachọ?
Thought Two: Really need him?
Thought Three: Was I incomplete unless I had him?
To all three thoughts and questions, my answer was no.
“You know my name means ‘that which we/they are looking for/seeking’ ” He carried on gazing directly into my eyes.
I allowed a ghost of a smile to travel across my lips in reply.
His direct gaze remained on me a little longer, steady and unblinking, in expectation of a reply.
He got none.
This was me.
Nkemji-ka – ‘the one I have is greater’.
Why I failed to embrace my name before now, I am yet to know.
Why I allowed myself to dance in the shadows, be a polished trophy and wait for other people’s failures, I am yet to understand.
Be that as it may, if If’anachọ thinks he is what they or we are seeking then he needs to go find where the seekers are. I will not adjust myself for him to fit in. I will not twist, bend or fold, just so that I can create a space for him. If he really thinks he is indeed what ‘they/we’ are looking for, let him bend, twist, fold, contort even and fit himself to me… if he can find the space.
I may not have known myself; embraced my name previously, but now I have.
I am no longer looking but if looking finds me and finds space in me, so be it.