by Vera Ezimora
It’s no secret that I love Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Look at the posts I’ve written about her. I rarely feel so deeply about a public figure, but Chimamanda is a bold, beautiful, intelligent Igbo girl, so what’s not to love? And she’s even from Anambra, too. If I reach far and grasp a few straws, I might find that she’s my cousin. Anyway, let me tell you about our meeting and subsequent love story. It’s juicy!
It went down at the Charles E. Miller Branch of Howard County Library. When I found out about the event, I immediately registered myself and Igwe, even though we already had a wedding to attend on that day. The event was set for 2:00 PM and honestly, at the time of registration, I did not know what kind of event it was exactly, All I knew was that my BFF was going to see there and I would finally see her with my own two koro koro eyes.
My plan was to buy her books that I did not have yet (We Should All Be Feminists and Dear Ijeawele or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions), have the books signed, and take a picture with her. Then after the picture, I would tell her that I was a big fan and would love to take her to lunch. That was the plan. How hard could it be, right? Toh!
However, at the event, we found out that in addition to the signatures not being personalized, she would also not be taking any pictures. Chei. No wahala. I figured my
woman-chasing moves lunch invitation would have to go out another time and another way.
The event was everything I hoped it would be. She answered several questions that ranged from her writing process to why she has refused to be on social media (her Instagram account is managed by her niece). I nodded in agreement to and understanding of all that she said. I was marveled by the audience, too, but that’s a story for another day.
It was a one-and-half-hour event that started at 2:00 PM, and at 3:00 PM, it was time for questions and answers, I threw my hand up in the air, hoping to be eventually called upon, but instead of eventually being called, I was called first. Before I knew it, there was a microphone in my hand and I was addressing my BFF in front of everybody. I don’t know what my exacts words were, but I basically told her that I have mentioned on my blog that she’s my BFF in my head and that my Sweet Potatoes keep tagging me in Chimamanda-related stories and saying to me, look what your BFF has done again. At the end, I said, I just want to know when I will get to take you to dinner.
The room of 300 people erupted in laughter and applause. In fact, dare I say that I received a standing ovation from some? There were some lovely ladies behind me who shouted Black Girl Magic and something about Naija. I hailed back, “My people!” Chimamanda laughed too. The moderator playfully rolled his eyes at me and said, “Next question!” implying that mine wasn’t a real question. I thought to myself, this guy must not know how far a determined Nigerian is willing to go. Ar the end, I felt like I had gained new friends. So many people came up to me and said they loved my proposal and hoped that I’d get my dinner date.
But let me tell you something, Sweet Potatoes, I don’t know what got into me and made me decide to ask her to dinner so openly. Never mind the fact that I actually wanted to ask her to lunch, not dinner. Although I have held a mic at many, many events, this time was different. The longer I spoke, the shakier my voice became. I could hear myself talking, and I couldn’t recognize my own voice. And then it felt like all the blood had drained from my body and now settled in my legs which were heavier yet weaker. When I eventually sat back down, I needed a minute to catch my breath and the air conditioner must not have been blowing enough because I was hot. Either there wasn’t enough oxygen in the room or my nostrils were doing a poor job of getting enough. I just needed more air!
By the time we stood in line to get our books signed, normalcy had returned to my body and I was now calmer. When I got to her, I became like a man determined to get his woman. I slipped her my card and told her I was serious about that dinner (again, I meant to say lunch). She looked at my name, then asked in Igbo, “Vera Ezimora … akwa imulu nnwa?” [Vera Ezimora … you had a baby, right?]
Aaaahhhh!!!! My people, that was me fainting. I felt like screaming at the top of my lungs, “Yes! Yes! That was me!Amulu’m nnwa!!!” [I had a baby!] And then I’d turn to Igwe and say, “And this is the guy whose sperm I used to muo the nnwa” [born the baby]. But I didn’t say all that. You guys, Chimamanda knows the activities of my womb! She knows what my fallopian tubes did!! If this isn’t love, I don’t know what is. Then like every other mom, I quickly pulled my phone out and displayed the proof of my motherhood. She said, “Ohhh, a girl…” And then I introduced her to Igwe who was cheesing like he was being tickled in his special place. He was starstruck – as was I. No shame in our game.
We waited till most people were gone before I timidly approached her for a picture, in spite of the no-picture rule. She gladly obliged me. She even stood up for the picture and said she had no choice but to take the picture since a friendship had been imposed on her. Bia, Chimamanda, that one is your own oh! I am your BFF and you are my BFF and we are now in a relationship. Or in the words of my fellow students during my high school days, we now go together. In Naija lingo, we are an item. Signed. Sealed. Delivered. Kpom Kwem. QED. End of discussion.
When Igwe asked if he too could take a picture, she said he was the man of her new BFF and so she had to take a picture. Besides, Igwe looked like a big man (her words). Igwe has been using her words since Saturday oh. Any small thing, he will tell me that Chimamanda said he’s a big man and that I am the one who does not know his value. If he continues down this path, I might dash him to Chimamanda. I have a strong feeling he would gladly go too.
If we did not have to rush off to a wedding, we would have stayed longer and maybe escorted her to her car
and then secretly trailed her to her house. On a serious note, what I feel for her is so much pride. I am superbly proud of her. It is good to see my Igbo Nigerian sister excelling. I love it. I am inspired. And the fact that she knows my womb is icing on the cake.
So, will we have this lunch (or dinner, if she prefers?) My answer is a solid yes, We have not communicated since we met, but I’m sure that it will happen. I don’t know when or how or where, but it will happen. And when it does, I’ll tell you.
P.S. Now that I have met and taken pictures with Chimamanda, don’t let me ever, ever refer to me as just a writer/blogger oh! I am now Vera Ezimora, Chimamanda’s BFF.
Op–ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija