More of Barack

from pp. 344 – 345:  Barack meets with his half-brother, Mark.

“Other things move me.  Beethoven’s symphonies.  Shakespeare’s sonnets.  I know —  it’s not what an African is supposed to care about.  But who’s to tell me what I should and shouldn’t care about?  Understand, I’m not ashamed of being half Kenyan.  I just don’t ask myself a lot of questions about what it all means.  About who I really am.”  He shrugged.  “I don’t know.  Maybe I should.  I can acknowledge the possibility that if I looked more carefully at myself, I would . . . ”

For the briefest moment I sensed Mark hesitate, like a rock climber losing his footing.  Then, almost immediately, he regained his composure and waved for the check.

“Who knows?” he said.  “What’s certain is that I don’t need the stress.  Life’s hard enough without all that excess baggage.”

We stood up to leave, and I insisted on paying the bill.  Outside we exchanged addresses and promised to write, with a dishonesty that made my heart ache.  When I got home, I told Auma how the meeting had gone.  She looked away for a moment, then broke out with a short, bitter laugh.

“What’s so funny?”

“I was just thinking about how life is so strange.  You know, as soon as the Old Man died, the lawyers contacted all those who might have a claim to the inheritance.  Unlike my mum, Ruth has all the documents needed to prove who Mark’s father was.  So of all of the Old Man’s kids, Mark’s claim is the only one that is uncontested.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

1 Comment

  1. November 1, 2012 at 7:34 am

    Like that line about – as an African, half-African, he’s not supposed to like Beethoven.

    Thanks for the “readers’ digest”.

    One Burmese in DC said in a derogatory way – about someone he knew – “He eats leaves (salad) with some white stuff (salad dressing) on it.”

    Just a few weeks ago, I chatted with an old friend who has gone back to Burma to visit many times – she said of her mentor still left behind there – “but he lived overseas so long, he still eats salad.” She still says how her other friends there could not understand him, “eating all these raw leaves in a big bowl.”


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