Father – Short Story
By: Nkiacha Atemnkeng
I took my seat at the front pew of the church before mass with my wife, Egbe like we always do. At just a glance, I could spot all those church goers in the name of Christians who had not contributed to the betterment of Sacred Heart Parish Fiango, Kumba like the Chis, who had not disbursed a dime for our catechist’s basket. Like Mrs. Foncheu, whom I heard has slept with Father. And scrooge, Pa Atabong, who despite earning millions, donated only five thousand francs for the roofing of the Parish Council building when I contributed thirty thousand francs from my average salary.
The priest’s homily today is about the Widow’s mite. I squinted at Pa Atabong. A fragment of Father’s preaching pricked me.
“Here, I have a list of all the Christians who have been tainting the image of our church.” The quiet congregation broke into a babble.
“Does anybody want to see it?” Father Telemachus inquisitively eyed us. Still, more jabbering and fidgeting. I had to see those names! Suddenly, I was on my feet, walking towards the pulpit with celestial grace like Jesus Christ during the walk to Emmaus, since I’m a Knight. When I peered at Father’s fingers, I felt a wild jolt in my stomach and was transfixed like Lot’s wife.
Later, Egbe asked me about those who’d made the list. I kept mute. When she insisted, I stuttered,
“I, I, saw myself.”
“What! Father wrote your name!”
“No, it’s not a list. I saw my reflection in a mirror. He only has a mirror.” Egbe stared at me but I couldn’t hold her gaze out of shame. I was having an affair with a young girl who had bore me two sons because Egbe couldn’t bear children. And she didn’t know all that.