So It turns out after my Caribbean friend was my second house mate. another one moved in and SURPRISE she was Nigerian!
And she is a decent one. We all know how rare it is to find decent Nigerians- She did not seem shocked that I go to the gym, neither was she surprised that the course I'm doing is mainly a male dominated field.
She also gave me a lot of insight to the person my father is.
I have said this but probably not enough, I do not have any male influence in my life so I'm pretty much tabular raza when it comes to men and dealing with them. My ability to navigate them is due to the fact that I am selfish and I put my own interests before any male specimen irrespective of the cost to the men.
So When I mentioned my fathers name to her- I saw that flicker of unbelief, as though she saw a resemblance BUT its kind of hard to logically reconcile the two.
Prior to this my friend Asake had told me that my father had the airs of an eccentric professor, painfully intelligent but unable to get his person affairs in order- Which is not far from the truth.
Anyways when I assured her that Yes, that was my father, she said the strangest thing to me- she said you must be so intelligent.
While most of my family ( which are really my mothers people) have portrayed my father as a strange person, wicked, beastly * insert all the adjectives you'd use to describe a man who left your daughter with three children and vanished into thin air* No one, NOT one person had ever said he was intelligent.
I was so shocked, she said he is one of the few people who taught her and seemed to have an understanding of what he was teaching. He was that lecturer who people did not like but strangely he was fair.
How was he fair- I asked. He gave 10 to 20 short quizzes and then a mid semester and then an exam and either picked the average or your highest ones, if you were serious you would have been able to pass.
He used to pull our ears and we were in 400 level imagine how upsetting it was she gushed on.
She looked so animated. And in that singular moment- I was thankful for the fact that I had a Nigerian Housemate.
For a neutral account of the kind of person my father was as a teacher ( no he isn't late, he just doesn't teach anymore and I have no idea what he does) let me in to the kind of person he " might" have been as a father.
But I have three distinct memories of him
.1- which is because it occurred so frequently as him whipping us ( my siblings and I with a woven skipping rope for screaming " UP Nepa" when Nepa finally agreed to give us light.
2. This even occurred more frequently - Him fighting with my mother, non stop. He would fight and fight and fight and threaten to throw her out and throw down her boxes and then people ( our neighbors) would come and settle them. and they would go back to bed and wake up tomorrow like nothing happened- talk about two forgivers living together.
3. Him helping me write a short story- I do not remember what it was about or why I had to write it or whatever all I remember from it is this word " the one eyed doll" and this word has stayed with me all these years while my inability to recollect the story haunts me.
Was he a good father- No.
Was it nice to hear about him from someone who had no vested interests in how her version of events to affect me- Yes.
Another upside to this my new house mate is this- She loves to cook and clean. I Love it and she has all these little tips on managing a kitchen. It is also nice to have a conversation with some one who can share your sentiments and doesn't have a problem understanding the basis of your story. For instance tonight she was telling me about the paki guy in the food shop who saw her and said " my customer". It was so funny because V ( The T & T girl- that's what I shall refer to her as going forward in all my posts) did not quite get why I chuckled at that.
I look forward to this year, and while I am still averse to amassing Nigerian friends am I very pleased and thankful for the sense of familiarity having her around provides.