Wednesday, October 5, 2011

CONTEST: Cameroon

In 2009 my brother Ian went to Cameroon, which was the farthest any of us had ever been from home. After 4 months we were all excited for his return, especially my father.
            The night before, my father couldn’t sleep; he just baked with James Brown playing until sunrise. When I came home from school there was a “Welcome Home” banner draped across our living room, complete with streamers, balloons and an apple pie, a blueberry pie, a chicken pot pie, and a pan of brownies cooling on the table.
            He thought that Ian would come home a different man, that he would realize he didn’t like my father anymore, or wish he’d never left Cameroon, so two hours before Ian’s flight arrived we filed quickly and silently into the sedan, me in the back seat, my brother Kyle driving, and my father holding a warm plate of fried yams: a recipe he found online. Behind the car, the cat sat in the driveway; with a sick desperation my father turned to my brother and said, “Fuck it. Run over the cat.”
           After an hour Ian came into view, with a sun bleached beard and skin the color of African clay. He came over to us, gave my father a hug, and said his first words to us in four months: “Hey guys.” He yawned, hugging my father. When we got home he gave us gifts. My father cried and we all stayed up eating blueberry pie and popping balloons.


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