Justin and I first met about nine years ago, in an ICDL Class. ICDL simply means international Computer Driving License. He asked me out and I said no. I said no because I preferred a man that was cut out just like my father. Just how would I date a man that never ironed his shirts as well as my father did or make his trousers neat with the sharp edge sharp enough to slaughter a careless fly. Just how would he stand before my father, to his awe and declare his love for me? Any man who was to face my father had to be, well, my father! But Justin wasn’t. he didn’t mind wearing a creased shirt or hanging out in casual slacks. The only thing he could not stand was hair on his head and face. Hair he had grown and bred since his teen-hood and had had enough of.
My father might as well have worked in KDF, The Armed Forces or somewhere therein. He was so particular about hygiene, grooming and keeping time, and he was and still is a perfectionist. As his children, we could not escape these habits rubbing off on us. We all learnt to brush our shoes…and his to a shine, brighter than the adverts bragging oh, so confidently on TV. He used to be a jack of all trades; aside from being the official mosquito repellant in the homestead, (forget the, ointments,jellies or nets), he could effortlessly, change the long fluorescent bulbs into shorter ones and he fixed the radio and TV when the roaches had made them homely. This man, my dad could fix a broken sink, and the drainage and mend wooden joints. He was The Father…the Man, the super man, and the icon of the home. He taught us to depend on only him. We almost worshiped him! He fixed watches, goodness! He fixed everything! So when I met a man who wouldn’t mind walking around with a pair of creased jeans trousers, could go swimming in the evening of any day, sleep with one arm availed to lucky mosquitoes to feast on, and could chain smoke if the day allowed it, I was pretty sure my father would shake his head till it snapped and fell off, in disapproval. Justin was a free man. He was free and in his free-ness, he asked a naïve me out for a drink. I tried to picture myself in his company…and my father smiling blessings down on me. That picture just didn’t work.
Five years on
I would get annoyed when after waiting patiently for the man of the house to do it, I would have to kill the night suckers myself. I loathed having to balance on the kitchen counter to fix the bulb, and even worse when he would sleep outside the net, feeling all claustrophobic . I wondered what kind of a man he was. I wondered what kind of a man his father was not to teach him what my father taught me! What then would we refer to as protective, and the head? I honestly thought the head could cut, mend, fix, repair, calm down and well, beat up thugs! This man my father created in my head was bigger than superman. God would probably call him brother. But the man I met and married was a smaller man; a normal man. A man who would let me work and split the house costs equally. He won’t stop me from carrying our child through while he holds the door. This man weirdly treats me as an equal. Part of me likes that he puts me that high on a pedestal… the other me wishes he would take care of everything and have me worry about the next clinic day for my child, and what snack to pack in Pesh’s school bag. This man I married is so different from my father, and it surprises me how I have coped with him since I started dating him, five years ago.