Project 256, Day Five: Okana Oche (1-5)

Ochosi’s Confusion

Ochosi sat alone in the dark, his hands covering his ears; he rocked back and forth, muttering to himself, trying to drown out the voices’ onslaught. “Do this,” some demanded of him, and others insisted, “No, Ochosi, don’t do that. Go out and do this instead.” Often they came at once, a cacophonous roar, and he screamed in desperation, a primal roar that shook the walls of his home. “You shouldn’t scream so loudly,” warned one voice, “or the neighbors will think you are mad,” and another voice countered, “but if you scream, we might go away.” Finally, unable to handle them anymore, Ochosi stood up and said into the darkness, “Enough! None of you know what you want. None of you make any sense. Just go away!”

It was quiet inside his head.

Ochosi grabbed his crossbow and walked into the forest; silently, he treaded the undergrowth without making a sound. In the distance, he saw a deer; it was beautiful, with horns that reached proudly toward the skies. Carefully he aimed, one deadly arrow poised for the kill. “Don’t kill that animal!” the voices screamed at him. “No, kill it . . . its meat will be tender!” The voices continued to plead with him while his hands shook, “no, don’t aim there; aim higher. No, not higher, lower.’ Each voice was talking over the other until they were lost in cacophony. Ochosi ignored them, focusing only on the hunt and the deer whose life he meant to take. He shot his arrow. Silently it ripped through the air and plunged deep into the animal’s heart. Without a sound, it fell down, dead.

Calmly, Ochosi told the voices, “He who tells me how to hunt is like a man telling a woman how to give birth to her child. Be gone; I need no one’s advice on what to do with my life.”

The voices fled, and never came back.

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4 thoughts on “Project 256, Day Five: Okana Oche (1-5)

    1. As I am standing on the train platform waiting to go to meet my Padrino I am moved to tears reading this Pataki. Thank you for sharing this beautifully relatable story about my father Ochosi.

  1. You’re welcome! Don’t you love the proverb associated with it? “He who tell Ochosi how to shoot an arrow is like a man telling a woman how to give birth.”

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