I heaved a deep sigh and for the first time in NEVER, I was nervous.
Kate and I had gone over possible questions her parents could ask and I was positive I’ll have no problem answering anyone of them that comes up but then I thought Kate’s father was too cool to be lied to.
I thought Kate’s family was just too amazing to have to be on this side of deceit.
My village people reminded me that I hadn’t been tasked to be rational with thinking. They said that I’d been tasked to do a simple job, and that I had no reason allowing my sudden likeness for this amazing man, get in the way of things.
So I got into character.
“I am from Kogi state, Sir…”
Mr. John stretched out a finger, signifying me to “shush”.
I watched keenly as his lips parted for words.
“From your name, let me take a wild guess.” Mr. John said, as his facial expression now clearly denoted trying to remember something. “You’re from the Yoruba speaking part, right? Uhmm! Kabba, isn’t it?”
I giggled because, just like a lot of people have in the past, Mr. John had also just made a bold wrong assumption.
It was not unusual for people to have assumed the name “Moshood”, to be a Yoruba name. For whatever reason, the last thing that comes to mind when people hear my name is that the name is primarily, Islamic.
I’d suggested we changed the name, at least for the duration of this cover but Kate had insisted that we kept it.
“Trust me when I tell you that my parents would want to look you up. It’s safer to have your profile as it is and have answers on ground to questions that might arise, than to build a new one.” Kate had said.
“No sir, I am from Okene, the Ebira speaking part of the state.”
“Okay…” Mr. John said, nodding his head in a manner I understood well meant, continue…
“I am a writer…”
I saw as Mr. John’s eyes widened for a split second.
It was as though he was wondering what part of the world I thought I was, to have assumed writing, a profession I should think illustrious enough to have thrown at him the way and manner I just did.
“…and I work in a bank too…”
“…oh, really? Interesting…” Mr. John said, actually looking impressed. “…I know how very busy people that work in the bank can be. Does your bank job give you time to write at all?” Mr. John asked, his brows contrasting to signify keen interest.
“You’re right Sir. But I try. I try to write what I can, with whatever spare time I get.”
Mr. John’s face cracked for a smile.
“How many publications do you currently have under your belt?” Mr. John asked, his eyes pierced right through my soul, as he awaited my response.
“Urhm, n…none yet, Sir”.
Mr. John nodded his head, gently. His facial expression does not exactly depict anything I could make a meaning out of.
“And what do you hope to achieve with your writing, someday? I mean, this is Nigeria. I believe you already know that, not a lot of people read in this part of the world.” Mr. John asked, with a facial expression that now clearly depicted genuine interest. His eyes fixated on my lips, seemingly eager to have them path for words.
No one had ever asked me this question before. (Not that I necessarily need to think too hard before I can answer the question though.)
To be honest, I wasn’t really expecting this question to have been one of those questions I needed to work on an answer, before I met Kate’s family.
I mean, I didn’t expect “this” to have been one of those questions a proposed son-in-law gets to answer, in his first meeting with his proposed wife’s parents.
But again, how many proposed son in-laws started off as “impersonators”?
I guess Mr. John had to ask me that question to be sure that his daughter had chosen a man with vision. A man with dreams. A man whose dream is so big, it scares him sometimes.
On this note, even though Mr. John had derailed from what Kate and I had prepared for, he’d definitely asked a very good question.
I cleared my throat, then opened my mouth to let the words fall off.
”I hope to be the reason Nigerians can enjoy reading again Sir…”
I saw as Mr. John’s face brightened up with smiles.
I couldn’t really make out what this smile denoted.
I couldn’t say for a fact, if Mr. John had thought “this particular dream” ridiculous or daring.
“Are you a comedian of some sort?” Mr. John asked, with smiles still splattered all over his face.
“I’m not exactly sure what you’re asking Sir”.
“Never mind. I like how you think, Son.”
“Thank you Sir.
“How did you and my daughter meet?”
Kate and I had worked on this particular question so well, I wouldn’t miss a line even if you’d woken me up from a deep sleep.
“Kate I met at my best friend’s wedding, Sir. Kate was his wife’s chief bridesmaid and I was the best man. I couldn’t take my eyes off Kate the entire event and the first opportunity I got, I requested her number…”
“…how did you ask for her number, Moshood? Tell me you infused a little bit of class to it and not that you used some boring a** lines” Mr. John asked with a wink, in a manner that set me aback.
“Uhmm…I didn’t actually ask for her number directly Sir. I’d asked her friend, my friend’s bride.
“…oh really? Why? Tell me the shy aspect Kate spoke about last night is not entirely true, Moshood.”
“Urh…It is Sir. I can be very shy sometimes.”
Mr. John giggled. “Moshoooood! So when you finally got her number, how then did you ask her out?”
I didn’t know that this question was rhetorical.
I’d just opened my mouth to answer Mr. John’s question when he waved me off. “Common Moshood! I’m just messing with you. I’m sure you finally came up with something. I mean, here you are, right?” Mr. John asked, with a smile.
I simply nodded and reciprocated his smile.
We’ve been derailing a lot from what Kate and I had rehearsed. The more question Mr. John asked “off the books”, the more nervous I get.
“So Moshood, what exactly do you want from my daughter?” Mr. John asked. His smile, still as broad as ever.
I cleared my throat.
“Kate is a very beautiful gir…”
“…I know what my daughter looks like, Moshood. My question was, what do you want from her?” Mr. John asked again, smiling, but now in an awkward manner.
A manner that made me very uncomfortable.
I swear, Kate and I had rehearsed “this particular answer” a million and one times before but something about delivering my lines in front of this man just suddenly seemed so difficult a thing to do.
His awkward smiles was not even helping matters.
It was as though Mr. John was seeing right through my gimmick.
“Uhm…Er…ermm…I…I…Kate and I just recently started seeing each other Sir. We are still getting to know ourselves and…”
“…Moshood! What do you want from my daughter? I’m not going to ask you again.” Mr. John warned, in a tone the calmest I’ve ever been cautioned.
The awkward smiles still very much splattered all over his face.
To be continued…
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