Quite recently my status has come up for discussion in some circles. I have heard so many versions of my life – and love – it always leaves MY HEAD reeling.
In February 2007 I was blind-sided by an event, and at the time I did not know how it would affect my life.
When I first saw her she was chubby. Her eyes were a bit swollen like she had been crying. Though she had mottled fair skin, her pinnae were dark, giving an inkling as to her true colour. I was going to give her a once-over when she grabbed my finger. Her grip was so strong it made me do a double take. It was then that I looked into those twin pools of watery brown eyes flecked with gold, and I knew I was lost forever. I just wanted to care for, protect and provide for her.
I had just returned from a UK trip. I was tired, hungry and very irritable. Two passengers had been particularly difficult, and of the fourteen crew members on board, I had the singular pleasure of dealing with them. By the time we arrived Lagos, I understood why the carrying of firearms in Nigeria has not been legalised – I was fit to commit murder and gladly go to jail for it!
I got home through traffic as thick as my irritation only to find I had been locked out! I was still fuming when, who would return but the reason I was locked out – my kid sister! Well not such a kid anymore, but you can not mentally sweep a 7-year age difference under the carpet.
I scolded her for keeping me waiting outside. Okay, so I vented more than I probably should have, but she begged for it. She was obviously feeling grown because what she did was give me lip. No apology, just a really rubbish attitude. I have never struck a lady before, but that evening I was sorely tempted. I chased her round the house with the sole intention of locking her head in the crook of my arm and grinding my knuckles on her head, ostensibly to ‘re-arrange’ her brain.
When I caught up with her, my hand went around her mid section to hold her steady, but I pulled it back like I had touched fire. I stood there in shock at what I had just discovered. I could not wait for my Ma to return.
She had barely settled down when I said “Do you know your child is with child?” She looked at me like she was seeing me for the first time, then asked. “How do you know?” “I by mistake touch her belle.” I answered in the family lingua. “I had asked her about it,” she said, “But she talk say na over feeding.” To which I said “Wetin I touch no be from food o, unless she swallow the mortar.”
My Ma called her then, and after her feeble attempts at denying, she finally caved in. With tears running down her face she told how she had met this Corper, and how he had wanted her to have an abortion when she found out she was pregnant for him. Problem was, he could not come up with the cash for the procedure.
A searing, white hot rage coursed through me, but my Ma’s maturity saved me from myself that night. I would not let myself go to see him for fear of what I might do. So I had an aunt go with her to see him and find out if he wanted to be a part of his child’s life. I learnt dude denied the pregnancy outright, and in doing so shut the door on any claim to the child in the future – unless the child ends up an engineer and is very good at building bridges.
I was away in South Africa when she was born so the first time I saw her, she was two days old.
That was three years ago. In that time we have grown together, taught each other and loved each other. In that period, girls have come and girls have gone, and through it all she has been my anchor. This hyper active, talk-a-lot, brown eyed, brown skinned, soon-to-be-4 -year old of mine.
Quite recently my status has come up for discussion in some circles. For people who feel they must know, fact is: I am already taken.