“You never answered my question,” Mary said as she took one of the beef rolls.
“What was that?” With images of a toothy, mischievous grin filling her mind, Dunni couldn’t remember what question Mary was referring to.
“Do you ever plan on coming back to Nigeria?”
This wasn’t the first time she’d been faced with that question and Dunni mulled over some other replies she’d given in the past. Returning to Nigeria was not a decision one could just take rashly, especially if like her they had been out of the country for a while. She had been away for over ten years and had spent basically all her adult life in America so it would be a huge readjustment if she had to move back. She didn’t know the first thing about looking for a job or starting a business in Nigeria, and while she could bear the haphazard lifestyle, irregular power, internet and bad roads during her vacations, like she’d said to Mary earlier, she didn’t know if she could work it long-term. These were things she took for granted in the life she’d built for herself in America.
Some of her friends had left the states during the recession, when they lost their jobs and their immigrant status, or simply due to the bad economy closing down their businesses. It was three years since then and some of them had flourished in Nigeria, settling in Abuja, Lagos and Akure with good jobs either in government, the private sector, or starting their own companies. A couple had returned to the states after about a year claiming the job terrain was impenetrable without connections, and they couldn’t manage without the amenities they were used to.
“I haven’t made up my mind yet,” Dunni finally replied as the car moved off.
Dunni was lucky that she had not lost her job and she also already had a green card. She could take her time on the decision of where to settle and not feel pressured by the specter of the US immigration breathing down her neck. Recently, she had been thinking a lot of relocating to Nigeria. Her brother was in Australia and who knew how long he would be out of the country for? It would be nice to have one of them close to her parents as they got older. But her move was just not something to do immediately, she intended to first make Associate at Deloitte which was coming next year.
“Don’t you wish you could find a man here to take the decision away from your hands?” Mary asked.
Dunni looked out over the snarled traffic on the other side of the road. She wasn’t one to allow others make decisions for her but she couldn’t throw out the suggestion that some people might be thinking she’d come back to Nigeria to find a husband. Her parents were not really bothered about where she ended up living, the person she married was more important to them. Dunni’s last boyfriend, Douglas, had been an American, and her mother had been ecstatic when they broke up. She’d never truly accepted Douglas, and had gone ahead in earnest to push new Nigerian men at her. However, Dunni had not gone on another date, or even smiled at any other man since then. She was getting to a point that she could think of opening herself up to another relationship but a shot-gun wedding was out of the question.
“I’m sure your parents know a lot of people.” Mary added, sneaking a sideways smile at her.
The obvious reason her parents had invited her home had been for her father’s health, and she had seen herself how much weaker he looked than when they visited her in Dallas last year. But it was also no secret that they wanted her to settle down, and her mother always encouraged the women back in the village whenever the issue of Dunni lack of a husband came up. So what if her parents also had plans to arrange a marriage for her?
“A month is too short to find a husband, don’t you think?” She asked Mary, sitting up as the idea exploded in her mind. Her parents wouldn’t do that to her, would they? She was not ready for another relationship, and certainly not marriage. She shook her head, no, if those were their plans, then her parents would’ve started match-making since the beginning of her visit two weeks ago. Dunni sank back into her seat as the car got onto the Bridge and the breeze from the Lagoon wafted in through the open windows.
“Well, you never know. But it’s definitely not too short a time to find an interested man, if you know what I mean.” Mary laughed loudly, slapping the steering wheel.
Dunni smiled in response, recalling the very interested men she’d met on her hike to the Waterfalls, especially Babs. But she wasn’t interested in him or anyone. Or was she?