"Oh ho!" he shouts, nearly piloting the vehicle into the ditch, a move my father is famous for. "Are there suddenly two Adannas now?"
I accept this attention as I have always accepted attention, with the tight, unspoken greed of the addict, the flex in the heart muscle, the warmth spreading out through the blood stream. This time it is not about being female, but the hunger, the expectation, is always the same to see myself conceived, given shape, in the mirror of another's eyes. Loki the Trickster, Shape Shifter.
I accept these laughing and sobbing women, these nearly smashed cars, as confirmation that I belong to this family. Yes, I may be the American, missing for twenty-six years, raised without language in the Land of Efficiency. I may be the secret my father keeps hidden in the compound until he can explain to the clan elders. But my face is the password, the key unlocking the door to family.
I hate her. She lies curled asleep with her head in my lap, breath thick and milky as an infant, wearing my name. Our shame is evident every time someone calls her. Ada the senior daughter of the lineage, Nna father. Adanna. Father's first-born daughter.
"If she's Adanna," any Nigerian must surely ask, "then how can you be?"
Exactly. Her very name denies my existence. As does Emeka's. After the birth of a child, parents are thenceforth known by the name of the first-born: Papa-Emeka and Mama-Emeka, not Magnus and Grace. I keep waiting for a correction, a memo to be sent out: Dear So-and-so, up to now you've known me as Papa-Emeka, but I'm actually Papa-Faith. Please adjust your Rolodex accordingly.