Paternity Swindle #3: How Come My Father Is Different?


 


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I am the third of a family of five and have enjoyed being the only daughter for 24 years.  People have often said that I looked very much like my mother, but the only disturbing difference is that I am very light-skinned unlike my parents and my brothers.
That has not really given me a cause to worry because I may have taken after one aunt somewhere, even though none of my parent has mentioned so. We grew up not knowing so much about our extended family because my father was very dedicated to his business, which kept him out of the home most of the time.
As much as I could recall, school years from kindergarten to high school was fun with my brothers. We went to school together and came back home same way. Even when I thought I could take care of myself as a big girl in senior high school, my brothers didn’t buy the idea and that kept us even closer to one another.
I studied at the University of Lagos, which made me ever close home to Ebute-Meta, Lagos. When I met Rafael, my fiancé, my brothers were very happy and wanted us to get married soon. When it became settled that we would be heading for the Altar after my youth service programme in February 2012, my brothers started their preparations outside what my parents would be doing. It was an only opportunity and they wouldn’t mind walking me down the aisle together with my father!

By April 2012, after discussions with Rafael, I broke the good news to my parents that my fiancé and I are looking at October 2012, for our wedding. They answered coldly, leaving me rather confused. Two days after the discussion with my parents they called me for another ‘talks’, and this time around, it wasn’t something I had ever thought of, or planned to ever experience.


My father cleared his throat and spoke first. I was very apprehensive as he talked because it wasn’t anything that made meaning to me. I was afraid that they may have discovered something bad about my fiancé’ family and may not want us to continue with the marriage preparations, but I was wrong. Suddenly, my father spoke everything in one breath. He wished me well but would not accept that the wedding takes place in his house because he was not my biological father!

My mother remained silent. I looked helpless as this was coming from the ‘father’ I had known all my life. My father was through with his own part of the matter and left my mother and me to talk the rest, if there was anything left to talk. Yes ‘my father’ was correct, my mother accented. From my mother’s twisted explanations, she met my father (An Idoma man) five months after she separated from ‘her Yoruba husband’ (the father I had known) following a heated disagreement.
 By the time they resolved their differences, my mother said she was already three months pregnant. Her husband didn’t want to lose her again, so they agreed that she stayed back at her parents to have the baby then returned home to her husband after then. It was treated strictly in the privacy of the family and it continued that way. My two younger brothers were given birth to after me and ‘my parents’ allowed me to bear the same surname as my brothers.  My mother hadn’t been in contact with my father again and the closest she could get to tracing him was through a friend who had moved to Jos. Now my mother wants both of us to go in search of ‘my father’, and this sounds crazy and out of this world.

I see now that I have found myself in troubled waters, but my mother must give answers to why she refused to tell me that I was of a different father all along; she must also help me to understand how I can fit into a new family at this age. I am so confused why she didn’t allow me bear my real identity. The wedding arrangements have been suspended until I find my real father. My prayer is that he is still alive and that he accepts me as his long lost child.