THE FRIEND OF THE FAMILY

THE FRIEND OF THE FAMILY

Some years ago, I visited a friend (now late) in Asaba. While assisting in his mother’s shop, which was situated right at the gate of the compound, I noticed a sleek car drive slowly past and caught a glimpse of the driver, who was this salt-and-pepper haired, good-looking man. There was something about his demeanour – hair, skin and poise behind the wheel – that oozed refinement even though he was inside a car.

My friend who was with me at the time; we were both watching the driver and then looked at each other and said together, “Big aunty,” before dissolving into giggles.

A few minutes later, the same car drove past again, and while I was inside the shop, stacking the shelves, my friend excitedly called to me. “John, abeg come see o!”

From the way hushed excitement in his voice, I knew he didn’t want whoever it was he wanted me to see to know he was being talked about. So when I stepped out of the shop, I pretended to be counting stocks on display while looking from the corner of my eye at the direction my friend had indicated I should look.

The man who’d been driving the car was now walking towards us and seemed somewhat lost. From the way he was staring at the buildings on the street and back at the piece of paper he held, it was apparent he was looking for directions to a destination.

He was quite chubby, short and even better looking as I got a closer look of him, but I instantly knew why my friend had beckoned me.

This man was clearly a diva. The way he was strutting as he walked, the Cynthia in him was effortlessly elegant. There was no doubt in my mind that this salt-and-pepper haired man was a catch back in his heyday. What gender he was a catch for was the speculation roiling deliciously in my mind.

“Good morning,” he began as he drew up to us, “please I’m looking for an Earnest Nuwa… He lives in Number 18… I don’t know if this is the right place.” His soft eloquent voice sang rather than spoke to us. This man clearly didn’t live in Nigeria; that much was obvious from his accent and of course his finesse as well.

I looked at my friend in surprise. Earnest Nuwa was his father. My friend appeared taken aback himself, but quickly identified that the man was at the right place, before turning to usher him into the compound. He turned around to give me a quick look and mouthed “Yayo” at me.

I followed after them as my curiosity had gotten the best of me.

Now in the living room, standing and looking at all the photos of my friend’s family hanging on the wall, it was clear everything this elderly gentleman saw meant something to him.

When my friend asked for his name so he could inform his dad who his visitor was, this stranger refused. He simply said, “Tell him somebody is looking for him.”

My friend nodded and vanished into the inner section of the house. His father had been taking his siesta, last I checked. And within minutes, I could hear him berating his son for bothering him over a visitor with no name.

Shortly afterwards, my friend came back to the living room to inform the visitor that his father would be with him shortly.

My friend and I suspected strongly that something was going on here, with this refined stranger who still seemed completely taken with the photos on the wall.

And we were right. Once his father stepped into the living room, he froze as the man who’d come to see him, who had his back to him, turned around and their eyes met. My friend’s father appeared pole-axed, not reacting in any conventional way a person would upon seeing his visitor. He didn’t smile, talk or do anything. He just stood there and stared, his face betraying waves upon waves of unchecked emotions.

His visitor on the other hand was all smiles.

Eventually, my friend’s father found himself well enough to move to a sofa. Both men sat. And then, for nearly ten minutes, neither of them said a word. My friend’s father couldn’t even look this man in the eye for long.

My friend, being the bitch he was, wouldn’t give them any privacy as he settled down at the dining table and watched them.

Finally, the visitor spoke. He asked my friend’s father how he’d been and if he wanted to go out for a drink. My friend’s father didn’t say a word. He just stood up, went in to get dressed, and soon after, he left the house with the man who had come to see him.

Thinking about it now, I wonder if the two men were lovers who had to parted ways due to expectations from the society. My friend was very effeminate when he was alive and I remember the weird expression that often came on his father’s face whenever he displayed. Now looking back, I believe his son possibly reminded the man of someone dear to him – and perhaps that someone was the refined, salt-and-pepper haired man who showed up from his past.

Written by John Alex

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4 Comments

  1. Johnny
    March 18, 09:42 Reply

    Nawa ooo….the return of the lost. Lol , sorry about your friend if this is not a fiction.

  2. Mandy
    March 18, 11:03 Reply

    Wow. Just Wow! From the father’s reaction, it would seem as though they were probably very much in love, and the father had to make the tough choice of breaking them up to get married. I wonder what became of their relationship now.

  3. trystham
    March 18, 14:58 Reply

    Inconclusive evidence to ur pals father’s homosexuality or the guest being his lover. Either way, it seems to me the man did the ties cutting. Why else would he bother looking for ur pal’s dad later in future if he weren’t the guilty party? I am more interested in ur friend however. Sad that he is late.

  4. Bee
    March 19, 18:19 Reply

    Beautifullllll!!!!!

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