How did she expect me to accept this person? Even now, how does she expect me to accept this person? The man I was trained, for 10 years or more, to run away from. The person who essentially would sentence me to a fate Boko Haram had for the Nigerian girls. I was completely perplexed, scared, angry, and riddled with guilt. Here he was, a tall slender dark skinned man with high cheekbones, wrecking of cheap cologne. What do I even say?
You see, I have two sets of parents: my biological parents, Mah and TheSpermDonor; and my adoptive parents, Grandma and Grandad. There was no family vetting or legal documents signed but my sister, MyTribe and I are basically Grandma and Granddad’s fifth and sixth child. We have lived with the G/rents majority of our lives. They supported us, taught us ideology, paid most of our school fees. Heck! Grandma is the one who gave me the sex talk for goodness sake! So when Mah introduced (or re-introduced) us to TheSpermDonor, it was a secret. She did not tell Grandma and Grandad. Keeping it secret ate at my insides. Eventually, MyTribe and I had to tell the G/rents and they were so disappointed.
This all happened after my sister and I left the capital to live with the G/rents in Kitwe. Initially Kitwe was super boring. All my friends were in Lusaka, and in this new town there weren’t people my age I could play with, and I was at the age where it was so uncool to play with my younger sister. I also really didn’t like the trek to Copperbelt because that’s where TheSpermDonor lived. In fact, he lived with his other family in the next suburb, less than a 5km (5yards) radius from the G/rents. So there were no kids to play with and even if there were, we weren’t allowed outside to play with them.
But soon it really didn’t matter. We became a stereotypical family; a mother, father, and two children. Grandad was every bit the father I wanted. Almost every Sunday, we would ride in the back of his lorry to Hungry Lion to have ice cream cones. It was our thing; his, mine, and MyTribe’s. He never swam but he kept the pool pristine so my sister and I could swim. He may not have taught us to ride bikes, but he did teach us how to change a light bulb or replace a fuse in a three pin plug.
Grandad was the first one to introduce me to tennis. Very early on he took me and my sister to the tennis club in Nkana West to learn. But at the time, MyTribe and I were more concerned with the Fanta and snacks that came afterwards. None of us knew that five years later I would fall in love with the sport and take it seriously. I actually think he wanted MyTribe and me to be the next Williams sisters. Every time they played, especially in the Wimbledon final, he would make us sit with him and explain how the point system worked.
Grandad loves golf and has won a bunch of kitchen appliances playing in weekend tournaments. I will never forget the day I woke up in the middle of the night and found him watching the golf US open. I sat next to him and taught me the game he loved so much. I now know the difference between an eagle and a birdie.
It is quite amazing that I was posed to have daddy issues, but I don’t. Even though I didn’t get UncleTisa, I got someone just as great. I got a dad who felt like he was ripped from the TV sitcom. He loves golf and tells dad jokes. Someone who would sneak cakes and sweets for us [me, him, and MyTribe] to eat behind Grandma’s back. He even has catchphrases: “No man, it’s not on!” when he was mad or irritated, and “Super!” is his response when things are good. I just love that despite TheSpermDonor, I still had a dad, one that was so super that his name begins with the word Grand.
The main thing idea I wanted to explore with this two part piece was who am I? Or rather whose child am I? I live in a place where you are your ‘father’s child’ but what does that mean. Everyone asks me, “Where is your father?”
TheSpermDonor is just that, outside of genetics there is nothing he has contributed to my life, besides heart palpitations and ulcers at the sight of him. Or is my father the man who taught me to have ambition, who bought me presents, or parades me out like his prized steed beaming with pride because I graduated from a top university in his profession?
Edited by Aunty Cousin
* Pictures from Google search