“And so from that, you – ”
“That’s why I thought he might have never wanted to be anything. It wasn’t that he was lazy or lacked ambition; he just had a disability of not wanting to be anything, which wasn’t truly a disability, yet it limited him and his life. I know it doesn’t make sense–”
“It makes sense to me. It’s like the monkey in the middle.”
I titled my head. “Is that a psychological term?”
“No, never mind, I’ll explain later.”
“My father was dejected since he had recently been retrenched from another plant. He was familiar with the insecurity that came with dwelling in the outskirts of respected society – stuck in a cautious state of existence where no one dared dream above achieving mediocrity because some dreams simply weren’t meant for people like him. So he settled there, where he craved prosperity but when he found it, he was sceptical of its longevity. But he must have dreamed once, he must have wanted to be something, right?”
Matome only looked at me with exhaustion. He gave a saddened, weak smile. Even he, a dying man who would soon be beyond enquiry and possible prosecution for propagating another deception, could not bear to feed me another lie.
“Anyway,” I waved him off, “in that moment when my father had just been hired, he was content. My aunt told me that he spoke of building a house for his mother and buying a car in a few years when he had saved enough money. In the meantime, however, he bought my mother the ring he hadn’t been able to afford when they were married. He figured that two years later he would graduate from apprentice to qualified electrician. Roughly twelve more years and he would be a shift supervisor. Then a foreman. And finally, his crowning glory would dawn when he became manager.”
“I see,” said Matome.