|Posted on February 12, 2017 at 10:20 AM|
Nadine shook her head as she took a sip of water and Stella stabbed at a potato chip with her fork.
“They’re not racist.”
“That word did not leave my lips.”
“But you’re thinking it,” Nadine countered, somewhat defensive.
Stella raised an eyebrow to show that she was not impressed or intimidated.
“They’re just … really … traditional.”
“OK,” Stella muttered, as she chewed.
“Ray is not happy about the situation.”
“Would you be?”
“It’s not the same thing,” insisted Nadine.
“Course it is. It’s the politics of meeting the parents. You’ve met his, he hasn’t met yours. If it were to be the other way round, everyone would say that he wasn’t that hot on you.”
“And they would be right.”
“That’s not fair.”
“Neither is this,” asserted Stella. “You made your parents believe that I was the only one there when you collapsed.”
“Stella, the pain may have made me delirious … later. You were definitely the only one with me in the house, when it happened.”
“Ray was there when you were taken to A&E. Whether he was there when it actually happened or shortly afterwards, is immaterial. The bottom line is that you didn’t tell your parents about Raymond. They have no idea of the guy’s existence, much less his role, when you were taken to hospital.”
“This is different.”
“Exactly! You change the subject every time it comes up, or you make excuses.”
“They’re not excuses. They’re valid reasons.”
“Yeah, yeah … your parents are traditional and your dad might have a heart attack if he suspects that there is a possibility of you ending up with a boy who’s not from your tribe. I’ve heard it many times. What you’ve implied to Ray however, is that your parents are always too busy to meet him. If someone gave either of us a penny for how many times you spun whatever line …”
“They are not lines, Stella.”
“… we’d be billionaires by now.”
“And I mean, billionaires in pounds … not Naira.”
“Look, many guys would have split after the first round of excuses … sorry, valid reasons.”
“I’m your girl, Nadine, I’ll tell you the truth.”
“OK, first of all, you might be part-American, but you’re not black. So you don’t get to use phrases like I’m your girl.”
“And as if on cue, she changes the subject.”
“Listen. You love him, he loves you. If I didn’t know better, I’d say this was down to some really powerful voodoo.”
Nadine gaped at her friend. “What?! You know I … you don’t even believe in voodoo.”
“No, I don’t. But he’s completely taken with you and as good as you probably are at blowing his brains out, I don’t think your relationship has lasted this long because you’ve got gold in your thong.”
“Charming! Would you try and get your voice up a notch? That way, everyone in the pub might actually hear you.”
“Whatever. You know what I mean.”
“We have our moments.”
“And this … your refusal to let the poor guy meet your parents, is causing a really huge moment.”
“Stella, you don’t understand.”
“Yes, I do. You’re mummy’s only girl and daddy’s only princess. You’ve met and are head over heels with a guy, who is not of the same tribe as you. He can’t even pronounce your surname properly.”
“No, but I’m not sleeping with you. And as great a friend as you are to me and all, I don’t want a future with you.”
Nadine rolled her eyes.
“Stop trying to digress. Here’s what’s important. He treats you well. You get on. He ticks your boxes and hits your spot. Who cares where he’s from?”
“Chief and Mrs. Nwaturuegwu do. Is there a better way to explain this to you?”
“Please try to explain, because I’m not even going to pretend to understand why anyone would care where Ray is from.”
“I told you, already. They just will.”
“They haven’t even met him. How do you know that they will?”
“Oh, I know.”
“Nadine, your parents are very nice, but if you’re sure they’ll object just because of his tribe, you’re going to have to usher them into the twenty-first century. We live in a global village. They sent you to school in England; so the chances of you bringing home a bloke who’s not from the same place as you? Pretty much 50-50.”
“Plus technically, as politically incorrect as it is to say so, Ray’s not even … white. What would they do if he was?”
“You don’t want to know.”
“OK, so you can’t be with a guy who is Nigerian like you; what would happen if he wasn’t even Nigerian, to start with?”
“Why not? His dad’s Nigerian, his mum’s African even if she’s mixed.”
“Yeah, Ghanaian. Whatever. Continuing with that political incorrectness thing I’ve got going …”
“You’re on a roll, like your mum’s countrymen would say. Why stop now?” Nadine replied, a hint of sarcasm evident in her voice.
“I’m fully white. That’s not a problem.”
“Yeah … we already agreed that we’re not each other’s type.”
“Thank heavens for that. Else one of us might be horribly heartbroken.”
“What am I going to do? Listen, Stella, Ray and I can’t have one more argument about this.”
“So, don’t. Don’t have an argument about it.”
“I mean, it’s one thing to say that I’m travelling to Nigeria and he can’t come with me; it’s quite another to say my parents are coming to visit and he can’t see them.”
“I’ve told you what I think.”
There was a pause.
“Hey,” Stella said.
“Isn’t it the case that in Ghana, you come from where your mum comes from, instead of your dad?”
“Some places. Depends on the tribe, but some are matrilineal.”
“So, technically, Ray is African; he could be Ghanaian.”
“How does that help? If we go down that route, we’re way below square one, because it would mean he’s not even Nigerian.”