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Indigenous Black Fiction

“You’ve got it all wrong, darling. It’s not that I don’t want you to meet them. I don’t feel ready. This is not as easy as you think.”

“Listen, honey. We’ve been together for three years now. We can’t keep on like this. Are you ashamed of me?”

“No. Of course not. It’s more complicated than you will understand.”

“Well, I don’t know. That’s how it seems.”

“Oh, dear!”

I kept standing there while he walked out on me, everything looking as blank as an open sky.

I don’t know how to make him understand that this is the best thing for us. He keeps making things harder than they already are. I also want our child to know my parents and meet my siblings, but that is a hard nut to crack.

Am I ashamed of him? No, I doubt. I’ve been with Luke at social gatherings. People keep giving us odd stares, but I’m used to it now. It’s the cost of dating a white man as old as your father. I will always be the gold digger. The black poor woman taking advantage of a man fit to be his father or grandfather. The young lady sleeping with old men.

It was harder in the beginning, but not anymore. I remember when we went to café Roma for our first date. The server kept making awkward suggestive glances towards me. I thought Luke would notice, but he was too occupied talking to me. He failed to notice the disrespect I was receiving right in front of us.

When we went to Dejan’s place, later on, he forgot about me. As usual occupied with the conversation, until the host noticed and poured for me some wine in the glass.

I’m used to that now. I know he loves his talk and loves to talk so if it’s talking, give him the room. But that is me. What will my parents think of me or him? How do I explain to them that the father of my unborn child is older than them? He also has two daughters who are older than all their children? For three years, I have struggled to find the best way to do this.

I always thought that they would get to know on their own, get mad and deal with it, but it hasn’t been the case.

What if they know and don’t show they do? I can never tell. I’ve avoided every family gathering because I’m an embarrassment.

How would those in their social circles deal with this? Their daughter is living with an old mzungu. Those young girls that like money don’t care who they sleep with as long as they can have whatever they want. Why would she go for an old pensioner? Total crap!

I wish it was easy to tell them it has never been about the money. I’ve never dated an agemate or a younger person. Some people say women like us have daddy issues. Do we? But as far as I can recall, I’ve never bonded with anyone before apart from older people. I’m the weird type. I struggle to hold conversations with peers, unlike older people.

They have called me weird all my life that it’s stuck to the core of my heart. I’ve always felt alone and in an actual sense been alone. I’ve had a few flings here and there with men as old or older than my father until Luke came in.

There had been a lot of friction between us because it wasn’t an issue of age but also race. We had unique minds and traditions altogether. And yet there’s something that always drew us close. We talked less, but being next to each other was so nourishing. It’s like our souls met and something connected the surrounding aura.

I was hesitant at the beginning because he wanted something serious. I wasn’t sure how I would tell this to my family that I’ve never been close to at all. But he said we go slow. We would approach it and break it to them.

Three years now, and now he wants me to go to them, knock on their door, tell them I am dating a man older than them! I wish the world would sink in and swallow me. How do I talk to them about us when I don’t tell them about me? The last time we spoke was a year ago. They don’t know if I work or where I work from. All they know is that I stay in Ntinda. Their lack of concern drove me away from them that by the age of 18, I was independent.

I doubt it matters, even if we don’t tell them. We’ve been happy, anyway. But Luke feels we should. Why does he have to care? Well, let him go by himself and break the news. I don’t know if the fact that he is a mzungu will soften their hearts as it does for so many people in my social circle. Or it will break them; a double tragedy; distinct race and older. Yet they raised us to get married to men of the same tribe.

I dialled Luke’s number, and he wasn’t picking. So I sent him a message that said I would go. I would have Christmas with them. The thought of that sent chills down my spine. How do I sit with them? How do people sit with their parents? How do people relate to their family?

I researched how to tell your parents you’re dating and how to bring it up. The things you should exactly talk about. Whether it’s good to tell them that on Christmas or Christmas Eve and so many others. Without being content, I called my close friends seeking guidance.

There’s nothing much that came from it apart from being bold, which is my totem. Thank God Luke said he would come along. Well, it wasn’t the best of the news, but I wouldn’t have to do much. Seeing the two of us together would spell out everything and all would come out in the open.

On 24th, we set off for my parents’ home in Namunyingi. A remote village in Kamuli district. The plan was to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas with them and return to Kampala on 26th. When we reached the village, a lot of kids came running while following us. They were screaming, “Mzungu, mzungu, mzungu.” So excited to see a white person. He seemed to be their first. I looked at Luke and he appeared to enjoy the attention.

Other locals crowded along the road to see for themselves the mzungu. It was so spectacular, but also peculiar. I worried about all things that could go wrong. Our traditions don’t even allow a child’s spouse to stay at the home of his or her parents. What would my parents do? I was so relieved that none of my siblings would be there. It reduced at least the heat to a degree. Breaking two rocks is easier than ten.

When we reached my parents’ home, we got out of the vehicle. We removed our luggage and some items we had brought for them. Crowds had gathered home, and some kids came to touch Luke, who had become a tourist attraction.

I saw my mother walk towards us and my heart started thumping faster and louder. My body started shaking, and I wished Luke would hold my hand, but he was so engrossed with the popularity.

Like a well-mannered lady, I knelt to greet her. She helped us with some luggage and ushered us inside the house. We found my father seated on his brown rocking chair with a cup of coffee. He could view all the events happening outside.

I felt sorry for them. What would society make of them having a daughter like me? My mum came and sat on one of the sofa chairs and I greeted both of them again. Luke brought his hand out too, to greet my father with the few Kisoga words I’d taught him. And greeted my mother too, without touching her hands, as I had told him.

We then sat down together. And everyone went silent. A couple of minutes after, my mother stood up and asked me to help her in the kitchen. We left the gentlemen alone. I didn’t care to know what they were talking about because it was obvious.

My mother asked if I knew what I was doing. I felt so angry, at the same time so scared, I burst out into tears. I gathered a few words and said I was sorry for always disappointing them.

She said no, but I didn’t believe her. I always believed I was a disappointment to them. I was the rebel. I was the misfit. I was the black sheep. I could see her stuck. She didn’t know how to comfort me. She sent me off with a flask and four cups to the sitting room where my father and Luke were.

I was full of anger. I felt like telling Luke we should go, but they seemed to have a delightful conversation with my father. He had lived in the UK for two years while studying, and that’s where Luke came from.

I envied him because they seemed to bond, and yet I’d never and ever bonded with any family member. Why was it easy for him? My mother then came in and sat next to me. I quaked. I wanted to go out at that very instant. But I kept telling myself she is your mother, your mother, mother, which kept me calm a bit.

We took our tea while the gentlemen were talking about their travels. My father asked Luke if he would like to see his gardens and off they went, leaving me and mother behind.

She tried to say something, but I was full of fear of the unknown. I could hear nothing apart from the pounding headache that preoccupied my mind. I told her I needed to rest. For someone I hadn’t seen in three years, it was going harder than I expected. I thought that the absence would have reduced the friction a bit, but it instead strengthened it. Why I felt that way towards her, I don’t know. That’s how I’ve always felt towards her and all, anyway.

Luke returned and found me sleeping. I could see he was jovial. He talked about my father, a man he was now fond of. It was good to see him that way. He then kissed me good night and went to sleep in the room next to me. I wished he would stay for the night, but of course, he couldn’t. Again, one prohibition of my culture.

I kept staring at the blank walls, thinking about what my parents were thinking. Were they happy? Would tomorrow be as good as it was for Luke today, or worse? When we were younger, my late grandfather would chase those he disliked away from his home with a panga or an axe. Would my father do the same? What if he blames my mother for my choices, which usually happens in our culture? I slept off while thinking.

Luke woke me up in the morning. It was Christmas. I felt a bit relieved because this would be my last night here. Tomorrow I would be back in Ntinda, away from them, except my darling Luke.

We prepared ourselves for the church - what I dreaded most. My parents are church elders and they would have to introduce me and Luke. This would be the determining factor - the tone, facial expression, and words they use. I by accident dropped my lipstick when this crossed my mind. It didn’t matter anyway, it would all soon be over.

We walked to the church which is a 5 minutes walk from our home and I sat next to my mother and Luke who is an atheist. He would later talk to me about how wrong all Christianity was.

It amused me that the number of followers grew in one night; I guess because of his presence. They filled the church and were more lively and even attentive.

At last, the long-awaited moment reached. My parents stood up, and they said they had their daughter among the congregation. She is an Engineer and works with the Uganda National Bureau of Standards. It startled me. How did they know? Did they know all along?

My dad went on. She came with our in-law, and signalled Luke to come forward. He introduced him with pride. It’s as if having Luke boosted his status and esteem, which I hated to believe but was all true.

I then realized all my fears were invalid. Luke, being a white person, had blinded their eyes to the obvious I expected them to see. No one spoke of his age or his older daughters, all they cared about was his race.

We later held a small Christmas Party at home. And for the first time, I felt at ease after knowing that no one was judging me. Luke’s race had clouded everyone’s mind. They were happy to have a white person in their midst.

For me, I was glad that my parents didn’t ask me questions. They also did the honours of introducing him in a manner I least expected. Everything else went well.

The next day we left with a loaded boot filled with foodstuffs from their garden. They promised to come and visit us in Ntinda.

Luke had started the car when I remembered I hadn’t told them I was pregnant. I shouted through the window, ‘you will be grandparents soon’, to which they smiled.

I don’t know whether they understood I was pregnant. Or that I would get pregnant soon, but I was glad that this was all over and that it went well.

My fiancé was the happiest of all. He spoke of my father every day since then and called them often and even scheduled visits to see them.

I guess now, we can toast to new beginnings.

November 22, 2020 14:41

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3 comments

This was very interesting, I had never anything like this before! I loved how it created awareness for a couple that you don't often see. I really want a sequel! Since your last story, I can definitely see that your writing style has matured. Great job!

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11:32 Nov 27, 2020

You got me laughing with the maturity of my writing style since my last story.

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Oh, lol!! The content was spectacular in both, but the “outline” of the story was in better condition! 😂😂😂😂

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