As I write today, am as angry as a vexed bull and am prepared to spit it hot on my Baba, Mallam Muktar. I know you want to ask me what he has done wrong to deserve that much. Mallam has done all things wrong.
My Father Mallam Muktar He is a 51 year old widower, now in love with 20 something girl my age (am cool with that) baa damu wa.(no problem). But this girl is a fashionista like me who loves to dress to the nines. I even have a feeling in my belly that one of the many reasons Baba got attracted to her was due to her fashion sense which was similar to mine, and her dark lovely skin with a dimple on her right cheek. Yowa!
You need no Alfa to tell you I liked this girl the first time Baba brought her home. Though she was a bit nervous, she was not at all naïve as she held her own. The kind of girl I’d been expecting Baba to bring home to care for him after my mum died after my birth.
The ones I had the opportunity of meeting were all sorry sights to behold and had little manners Haba! I shuda said NO MANNERS. I later realized as I grew older that Baba probably hung unto them cos he needed their services in ways and explanations I cnt offer you now……you know now, I was beginning to think Baba had an incurable taste for no brains, can’t cook, no manners, money wanton, ugly ladies. But this time, the lady Baba brought home had both brains and beauty. She also seemed to be versatile. With a B.A from Bayero University and Masters in Massuchhets, a member of the rotary club, a lawn-tennis lover, the owner of a fashion house. Oh! Zainab was the perfect fit for my M.Sc,MBA, Ph.D and an honorary degree ,socially dead Dad.
That day, Papa was so nervous. I’d never seen him like this before, except for the day I told Baba as a teenager that I was seeing blood on my underwear and was having some stomach ache too( a tale for another day).I could not help but imagine Papa in his teens tryin to toast a girl. That was how Pa was, fidgeting with his car keys, looking down at nothing, mumbling nonsense about how the cooks were probably serving siesta and how the sofa needed to be moved to a certain corner, when he came home with Zainab . Oh! I could just ask for about anything at that moment and Baba wouldn’t be bothered.
In order to ease the tension my lovely Da was in or shud I say the dilemma he brought in on himself, I became pretty nice to the lady he had told me about and who was likely to be my step mum.
I offered her a seat and started discussing issues from accademics to fashion,then entertainment to sports and thereafter politics over refreshments. Waoh! She passed my first test. She confirmed my beauty and brains query.
Now I didn’t want any step mum calling me like her daughter no matter how good she thinks she knows me or how good she thinks she knows my Dad, afterall, she is my dad’s girlfriend or wife to be, the latter of course is if all goes well and, so I told her straight up and started calling her by name, and she did the same to me.
Every thing was going on so well till my Pa had an argument with Zainab over a stinking tie he’d been wearing for over 25 years ago, and would not throw away
Baba n Zainab’s (Zee) arguement kicked off when Baba could not find his tie one evening in his wardrobe. He started searching frantically and asked me if i saw the tie. I told him i did not see the tie and that if i did c it lying around, i would throw it in the bin. He was fuming and immediately called out to Zainab who was at the time in the house, and asked her about the tie. Zee said she didnt come across any tie, but that she did see a light blue rope which she disposed off. Baba’s eye took colour red.’Where did you throw the tie Zee?’ He said. Zee answered and said what she threw away was not a tie but a light blue rope. How can you say my tie was a rope Zee?.’said Baba’. Haba! Mallam rope ne,aw can you say that rope was a tie? ‘said Zee’. And so the arguement went on while i stood there agape at both of them and @ what they were saying.Zee saw the tie as a rope while Baba saw the rope as a tie. And though i loved the rope part, i had to intervene and asked Zee where she put the rope,it turned out she had burnt it. That singular act turned out to be an undoing-mine and Zee’s. Baba said i conspired with Zee to get rid of his tie,he ordered both of us out to go look for his tie as we disrespected him and intruded into his privacy.The vocabulary list was endless from my Ph.D Dad.
Zee became annoyed and told Baba that if he was sending her out of the house for an inanimate object, then that would be the last time he would see her. Baba did not budge and stood his ground. Zee called a cab and left. When Baba heard the engine of her cab roar to life, he came into my room and asked me what I was waiting for. I took another cab and went to the cinemas.
I couldn’t help but think about the whole incidence while watching the new movie in town Tango with me. I started to compare some of the characters in the movie with Zee, Baba and I. Genevieve nnaji was Zee, my dad was her husband, me Joke Silva. Then I realized that the characters in the film and we three did not fit in so well…..so my thought veered off that to the reason for Baba’s anger. Why was the rope or tie so important to Baba? Did it have something to do with Mama or mama’s death? Was the tie for his friend or a loved one; was it a kind of a memoir? Because I have never seen Baba like that angry over a piece of rag.
After the cinemas, I went home with kilichi Baba’s favourite snack which I bought from my customer to placate my him, and to also bribe the truth off him. He ate the kilichi but the bribery did not work. The first day passed, the second, third and fourth day passed and Baba did not call Zee to apologise for his behaviour. Instead he began loosing appetite for food, his favourite channels on tv, his favourite books and talked less. Father was looking like a lost kid on a deserted island and i was furious with his gogobiri(monkey) behavior. So I confronted him and asked him what it would take him to apologise to Zee and have her back. Was he going to die if he did? Haba! Baba can be such a thick head. He answered that he didn’t interfere in all my failed relationships and so I should stay out of his business. Now that made me mad. I told him if he had interfered in them, i would have learnt earlier that sex can never make a man love you better. I took my writing pad and left the house for Ralia my best friend’s house. After chatting with Ralia I calmed down a bit to write you the first part of this story.
All is well now, because as I write this concluding piece, i can hear Baba and Zee giggling in his room and laughing over what I know nothing of. Zee bought Baba six beautiful designer ties as a way of apologizing for the rope. And Baba apologized for the hurting words he said to me when I came back home that night. He has also become more interested in my relationships. That night, we talked about my relationships, laughed and cried together, while he told me his sexual journeys before he met my Mother. Then, we strategized on having Zainab back as Baba almost had a heart attack when he went to her shop and found her chatting with a much younger old male friend of hers. The worst part was Zee ignored him terribly and made no introductions. Baba said he stood there looking like an Aristo. Ina uni Mallam, yaya aiki? (Good afternoon Mallam, how is work?) was all he received.
I can now see how something you hold very dear to your heart can affect your whole being, I have learnt that when angry we should be careful of what we say, the best we can do is keep quiet, or leave the scene to calm down or to talk to someone else. i have also learnt that it don’t kill to say am sorry, my father lost a lot cos he did not know dat trick and so did Zee. As for me, I am learning to value other people’s feelings, ideas and possessions, even when they look like Baba’s rope, and i have no answers to the questions my heart seeks.