When Tolu asked how this Christmas was going to be I narrated every other Christmas I had spent with my family in Aunty Gina’s New York apartment. It was routine at this point. Daddy hands out passports that morning, we head to the Murtala Mohammed Airport and in what seems like a hundred episodes of Friends later, aunty Gina’s occasional chauffeur, Sam, gives us a nice ride in his citrus scented SUV. Sam always made sure to hand out a box of Ferrero Roche from aunt Gina and a six pack of Aurora’s citrus soap.
“Courtesy of my wife” he would add.
“How come we never get the diffusers or scented candles?” My mum had asked on one of the trips.
“Those cost a lot more…but because I like you I’ll get those next year”
“Better because I like how your car smells.” My mum had one of her satisfactory smiles like after she had haggled a bowl of fruit from one thousand Naira to five-fifty, she was a natural at these things.
So, this year I patiently waited but there was no trip to the embassy for a visa. Maybe, just maybe Daddy had other plans. Maybe Aunty Gina would meet us in Dubai like she had done in 2017, and maybe she would bring Aurora’s six pack of citrus scented candles. Sam did promise we would get some this year so I was hopeful. Sadly, hope is a fickle thing springing up from the same place that wishes come from. To say I was devastated when I heard the awful news would be an understatement, my heart was broken, shattered and squashed.
“No snow this year, we are going to the village” Daddy had announced so casually.
With my heart still ripped open I ran to my phone and texted Tolu informing him of the calamity that had fallen upon my family. Matter of fact, my father had lost his mind at this point.
“Would you look at that! The stereotype comes to play. All Igbo’s do go home for Christmas 😂”
Apparently so had Tolu, because if he didn’t lose his mind this would not have been his reply. Still puzzled by the recent development I decided to talk to my father in private and ask why we were all being punished.
“Daddy, are you serious?”
“About?” He replied with a mouth full of watermelon.
“Going down to the east” I cried, throwing myself on the sofa next to him.
“Oh come on princess! Your cousins will be there, you’ll have a blast. There’s going to be a wedding too”
“What cousins? Aunty Gina has no kids. And what wedding? Whose wedding?” I inquired, flustered at the thought of it all.
“I have cousins who have Children you know. They are your cousins.”
“Haba. You don’t even like your cousins Daddy”
“Ngwa that’s enough. I like them now and we are all trying to build our relationships”
“Well the girl isn’t wrong Chidi” mum interrupted, picking a slice of watermelon from the plate.
Of every argument I had ever engaged my father in, there was no winning this one. We were going to Onitsha on the 20th and that was final. My Christmas was going to be in hell.
Just Call Me Danny
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