In many ways, I am my father’s child.
I have his memory, the dense net that lets nothing slide through. The jumbled weave of stories and pictures where he can extract a fifty-five-year-old memory without blinking. I would take my father’s stories over any history book.
But he’d forget where he kept his keys if he doesn’t leave them on the dining table.
I have been known to look for my glasses while they were on my face. In my defence, Omoyemen joined me to look for the glasses.
My mother is the one who remembers the recent stuff, the one we give sensitive documents to keep. She has often walked into a room and brought out in a minute what my father and I might have been searching for, for nearly an hour.
When my father dropped me off near Barracks bus stop this afternoon, I was lucky to have remembered in time to go back to him and collect the money he was supposed to give me. I suspect I only remembered because it was money and I was flat out of cash.
I walked back to the narrow street he had driven into, where he was trying to find a space to park before going in for a wedding reception at BAHM Anglican Church. He saw me and remembered the money, I know this because he started scowling.
My earliest memories of my father are nearly thirty years old, with one look I can tell if it is wise to ask him to give me a piece of his oporoko or if I should keep quiet and escape without getting konked on the head. Many times I disregard the konk warning signal and press on for the due reward.
Daddy rarely smiles when handing out money, even he’s just giving you cash that he would get back from you when he uses the ATM. So I smiled at him as I approached him, I thought the frown on his face was cute, one of the constant things about him. And after nearly thirty years, I know it coats a smile.
“I forgot to collect the cash.”
“Why would you forget?” he said and the scowl deepened. He rolled his massive eyes as he brought out his wallet and gave me the two thousand naira I had asked for.
“Thank you.” I said with a naughty smile and he made a turn into another narrow street.
As I walked back to Funsho Williams Avenue (former Western Avenue), I heard footsteps approaching me with great force. I turned back to see the handsome older man who’d been standing with a young man while I was talking to my dad.
I had noticed him staring at me as I approached Daddy, I’d pegged him at his early fifties, his beard was all grey and his hair was an even mix of black and grey.
“Good afternoon,” he said, his voice was a pleasant baritone, not quite Barry White but you couldn’t mistake him for a woman on the phone.
I didn’t have to look up to see his face properly, he was slightly taller than me, 5”9 at most but he was fine!
“My name is EHGYEDHX and I have to tell you that you’re beautiful.”
It was a few minutes before 2pm and the sun was acting as if it was on a personal vendetta focused on the inhabitants of Lagos, I did not have the energy to stand and talk to handsome men with grey stubble regardless of how delicious they seemed.
“What is your name?” he asked.
“Ada,” I answered, even though I wouldn’t answer if you called me Ada on the road and I don’t know your voice. Too many years of discovering I wasn’t the Ada being called has ruined Ada for me.
“I saw you with him, watched how he frowned before giving you that two thousand naira and how he drove off without affection. You deserve better.”
“I know this; you shouldn’t be treated like that. You’re beautiful and you have kind eyes.”
“You have lines; I’d give you that. I’m happy with him like that.” I said.
“Ada, give me the chance to change your perspective, to make you see how a man treats a treasure like you.”
I burst into laughter, threw my head back and laughed with my stomach shaking from mirth.
“Oga that’s my father, biological father. My actual daddy and not my Sugar Daddy. If you had looked at us closely, you would have seen the resemblance.”
“I’m sorry,” he sputtered.
“It’s ok.” I said and began to walk away.
“Can I at least get your number?” he called to me.
I shook my head and kept walking.