Heels and Valleys Chapter Four

“I’m not getting you, daddy.” 

Favour said while pacing around in her sitting room. Her plaid Boubou flowed with her as she did so. Papa Adaeze sat on the sofa in her sitting room, his arm slung over the sofa. He looked so comfortable. An almost empty glass of water sat on the table in front of him. 

“I’m very proud of you. Don’t ever doubt that.”

“Then, why did you suddenly come from Abia State to come and tell me this?” she asked quietly. 

Papa Adaeze sighed. “I tell you this as a father. You might not hear this anywhere else. The way you looked to me this evening is a strong confirmation of the reason I’m here.” Favour stopped in her pacing as she heard that. Her usually jovial father had turned sober. 

“I used to say that if you had come as a boy, you would still be the same you. You’re doing so well, you would easily outrun men of your age,” he shifted on his chair. “that hasn’t changed, but in truth, you’re trying way too hard. What point are you trying to prove still?”

“Permit me to say this sir…” Favour asked and his father took note. When she used ‘sir’ for him, it meant that she was pissed off and trying so hard to keep her cool. 

“If it’s about a wedding you’re about to talk about, I don’t see that even in the next three years.” She sat down opposite him as if to make her point clearer. 

Papa Adaeze let a few minutes pass before talking again. “I wish to talk about that too. But that’s not why I’m here. You know that I haven’t done that before. If that’s an issue, I know that God knows how to get into your heart. I just want you to remove that mindset of proving a point. It is good to be ambitious…” Papa Adaeze wanted to go on but emotions choked back the words. He gulped down the remaining water to clear his vocal cords. 

“Adaeze, listen to me. You are the only child I have. And you know that I’m like this—a poor old soul that would keep begging someone to listen to him, only with you. Even if I had issues with females being ambitious, I can’t do that to you. All I’m saying is that that mindset of yours, change it. You don’t need to prove anything. Just be yourself. Adaeze, biko nu.”

It was Favour’s turn to sigh. “Papa Adaeze, you of all people know how they treat us females in any workplace. No matter what we do, we are second class citizens. I’m a director but you can’t imagine how some of those men look down at me when we are at board meetings.” Favour’s voice had reached a high octave as she spoke from her heart. 

“I have higher qualifications than most of them, yet, I still have to raise my voice like I’m doing now to get my voice heard. I have to act like nothing they do affect me. Dad, if no one does, I will. I will prove to them that rather than gender being the criteria for excellence, we can change the status quo. We can change the rules. The discrimination has to stop. People think it is all glam and pomp when a woman is heading a group that has a number of men in it. The pain I carry here…” she banged at her chest where the heart is meant to be with her hand. “Is too much to bear. I can’t rest until we change these unwritten rules binding us.” 

“I won’t argue with you. Still, this is the last thing I want you to consider. Listen. This convert of yours now has a five-year relationship with Jesus. The Bible says that men and women he created them. Why doesn’t he just make the men women or the women men so that everyone would be equal? Think about it” Papa Adaeze said and sat back. He was glad that his talk was getting into her head as she was thinking deeply about it. 

“That’s because men can’t be women and women can’t be men. There just has to some set of people to be women and vice versa. The answer is that simple” Favour answered. 

“Don’t just give me that Adaeze. You’ve read the Bible over and over. Show me the stuff you’re made of!” Papa Adaeze was getting excited.

“Dad!” she called suddenly as something struck her mind. “The fight for equality shouldn’t even be in existence if all things were being equal. If we’re being fair, there’s no way to measure if we’re equal or not. No standard of measurement whatsoever. We can’t assume that one is greater over the other. People don’t just want to listen. They want some sort of sense of superiority. My humble thought is that it’s just culture that decides to choose one over the other. Excuse me please.” Favour jumped off her sofa like a fifteen-year-old and disappeared into her room. 

She returned to the sitting room flipping the pages of her Bible. She read through the page opened and sat down defeated. “Daddy, I do not like the way Peter the Apostle wrote all those things about women being you know, just weak. I like to think that he was being biased.”

“Shh! Adaeze. All scripture is God-breathed”

“I know daddy. But if there was no Deborah in Barak’s time, the story would have been different”

“Yes, Deborah is a good example. In the Bible, she was described first as a prophetess, before being Lapidoth’s wife. She was first and foremost a prophetess, a servant of God. Her priority was first unto God even though the reason God created women was to help men. I mean, their husbands, not just men generally. You are only bound to submit to that man you marry. God knows why he put men at the top of the rank of the marriage ladder. You cannot question God’s rules”

Favour looked at her father in awe as he expounded the scriptures to her. She nodded and nodded. It was making more sense. In an actual sense, she realized that she had been fighting the order that God implemented even with her basic knowledge. 

“But, the issue of culture is still something that needs change. Some boys are wrongly taught things like this. They think that women are second class citizens already. And it’s funny that most people who teach them these lies are their mothers. Rather, it should be just their wives who should submit to them.” Favour said and stood up.

“Any female who now decides to marry someone she cannot submit to is then to be blamed.” She concluded and Papa Adaeze nodded.

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