#219 ~ The Silent Third

To have a son is to have a prized possession. Though that may not explicitly be a proverb i’m sure it echoes a proverbial resonance. Sons are prized possessions, they make one’s family immortal. Carrying on the family name they establish a collection of human beings in the fleeting journals of life, time, history. After sons though, the next prized possession is the eldest daughter. In the Igbo culture she is known as Ada. Without the Adah no family decision can be made, the man may be the head of the family, but as Mamma Portokalous states in My Big Fat Greek Wedding: ‘the woman is the neck, and she can turn it any way she wants.’ But what happens to the silent third, the other sibling, either a younger son or daughter. Try as they might to fill or even outshine their elders, a birth right is a birth right. So the silent third from the brightly coloured pie chart takes on the role of overseer – they over see everything. They become aware of the nuances the cracks, the silent words which aren’t heard even when they’re screamed. They see the taught dynamics of the family and the strain and pressure placed on the elders – the roles they’re supposed to fill but aren’t aware how to.

The difficulty with this third segment is whether they become angry, proud, conceited or frustrated with this view-point and keep clamouring for first. Or, whether they recognise that though bronze is more of a burnished gold, it still has its own value, and gently, once in a while, lean into the middle podium to remind them the words to the national anthem.

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