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My Secret Keeper

About 5-6 years ago I met TL, he was and still is the only Nigerian man I’ve ever loved. We dated for almost a year. We met in Seattle, but he had to leave abruptly to pursue a once in a lifetime career opportunity. I could not fault him but I was heartbroken! I was willing to leave Seattle but he said no, because he didn’t want me to resent him if things didn’t end well for us. So we said we’ll try doing long distance.

On a trip to the East Coast for a friend’s marriage introduction, i planned a visit to TL before heading to Jersey. On this visit TL confessed to me that LDR was challenging for him and he couldn’t commit to seeing it through.

My world shattered. I CRIED the rest of my time there, I CRIED on the MegaBus ride into NY. TL was my buddy, he understood me like no one else. We got along so well it was weird. He was so worried about my welfare so he reached out to my bestfriend over it. He felt so bad about everything. For me it felt like he was a quitter! It felt like he didn’t think I was worth the work and I struggled with that feeling.

When I got in to Newark Penn Station and was waiting for my dad to pick me up, I was already upset, because I called him before I even reached the station to tell him I’d arrive just so he could get there on time…but in typical fashion he got there late and I started yapping at him.

I called you daddy, you are late, why? Next time just tell me you can’t come on time and I’ll catch a cab…

He just smiled and cracked that his one missing tooth smile and said o da ma binu ( alright don’t be angry)

As soon as I got in to the car, I just started CRYING!

He’s like what’s wrong? What happened? Talk to me, Is it a boy?

I nodded my head, and he said it’s ok. So gbo, ma su kun (don’t cry, you hear)

It’s alright. Ki lo sele? (what happened?) He asked me

I narrated everything, the guy I’d fallen in love with said he can’t make our relationship work.

He said, I know it hurts right now, but think of it as a blessing, he is letting you know and being honest with you instead of lying to you and stringing you along. That shows he is a good person. While this one didn’t work out another one will. So gbo, it’s ok. Ma ke, ma sukun mo.

I told him I had not told anyone about this, and I want to keep it that way. He said ok no problem.

I recorded that conversation because that was the first time I had ever discussed boy stuff with my dad. It was warm, inspiring, re-assuring and comforting. I plan to share that voice memo with my kids one day, especially my daughter.

When we pulled up to the front of the house he says oya nu oju eh (wipe your face) so no one will suspect anything. I said ok! Thank you daddy. We walked in together and acted normal. I put on a smile and ran up to my mom to give her a hug.

Today is Father’s Day and I miss my dad so much. I miss telling him things.

Rest well Ayo dot- Alasiri mi (My secret keeper)

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