I always dreaded the day I would bring Tony home. I wondered how my family would react to him. He’s gentle and soft spoken despite his tall, muscular frame. I call him my gentle giant, a name he obviously hates. But Tony treats me great and I couldn't think of anyone I wanted to spend life with. My friends say we’ll never last; that we’re as different as night and day. Well that much is true. Tony is as quiet as I’m a talk machine. He’s as tall as I am short. As organized as I’m a free spirit!
What will my family think?!
Those were my thoughts as I studied my reflection in the mirror and stuck a last bobby pin in my unruly mane. I tried to steel myself as I got ready for Tony to pick me up. I don’t scare easily but today… sigh
I had thought about it all night. I cared deeply for Tony and the last thing I wanted was for my fun loving, carefree family to hurt his feelings by saying something totally off. I didn't want to warn them to treat him nice either. I didn't want them to feel sorry for him or walk on egg shells around him. I wanted them to respect him.
I sighed, grabbed my purse, eased into my shoes and waited by the window.
Mum I could handle, my brother Joseph I could silence with my signature mean stare but grandma, oh my sweet grandma who always said the first thing to come to her mind? What will I do about Grandma?
My phone buzzed. It was Tony.
The drive to my parents’ house was silent. I was silent. Tony kept smiling, stealing glances at me.
“We’re meeting your family sweetie, I should be nervous.” I could hear the smile in his words.
Twenty minutes later we walked into the madhouse that was my parent’s duplex. No one told me there was a clan meeting! There were cousins, aunts and uncles.
My mum had outdone herself. Lunch was awesome. I caught the glint in grandma’s eyes as we retired to the smaller living room upstairs. My mother, my brother, Tony and I. There was no tension, except the one in my head. Grandma and mother had started to tease Tony while Joseph played a game on his Samsung phone. And Tony… he looked okay.
Good, time for a break. I went into what used to be my room. Four years had passed since I went to live on my own. Time had flown by. I studied the pictures on the walls; pictures of me from kindergarten, high school and college. Family pictures, baby pictures, vacation pictures… it was like a museum!
These were lovely memories. I wanted these memories too, with Tony, my sweet gentle giant.
I returned to the living room to find everyone laughing and talking all at once.
“Hey! Why are you all carrying on like crazy people?”
Tony rose to meet me at the door flashing a toothy smile. My heart did the flip flops.
“Guess what? Your grandma knows my Grandma. Can you believe it?” His eyes were dancing and I could feel his excitement.
“Your Grandma Dara? In S.A.?” I asked, incredulous.
“One and the same!”
Only then did I notice the main conversation going on in the room. My grandma was talking on the phone, excited, like she won the lottery.
“I can’t believe this. It has been ages! Do you remember Funmi Grace? ….Yes…yes the same one. I hear she became a state commissioner in Lagos, but she’s retired now… I remember…. Hahaha Professor Sleek…with his big words and even bigger ego… Oh I would so love to see you…why, but we have a wedding to plan. You must come…”
I turned to Tony in disbelief. He went on to answer my unspoken question.
“So, Joseph found some pictures on my phone and wanted to know who was who. Somehow your grandma asked to see it and voila, there was my Grandma in all her glory. She recognized her immediately! Apparently, they were best friends in college those many years ago. Your Grandma moved here to the States and they lost contact. I called her up and…”
It was truly amazing. Two whole hours later…Grandma was still on the phone, her feet up on a table, her head thrown back in gleeful laughter.
I looked at Tony with another question in my eyes…What have you done?! Haha!
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