Think about it: if you get married in your late 20s or early 30s or beyond, and decide to change your name, you’ll be getting rid of a name that you have been used to saying, filling out and signing for over two decades! You could decide to keep your surname but how many Naija women do that?
When a google search for my surname resulted in me finding Niyi, I assumed he was a relative. My surname is rare enough that I had never heard of or met another one in North America or even in Nigeria for that matter, so I was pretty sure this guy had to be a relative. He emailed back, and after we emailed each other about where our families were from, he said he had heard of us but that we weren’t related.
And somehow we moved from exchanging emails to talking on the phone very regularly. He sounded pretty good on paper: a couple of years older, he lived in the States and was there for school, he had siblings there too. But as we talked I found out that due to a truly unfortunate circumstance, he had had to take time off from school and he hadn’t gone about it the right way so his status in the US where he lived was not very good as he was only there on a student’s visa.
The big minus though was he had no conversation, and even thugh he insisted on us talking every night before bed, and usually during the day, he never had anything to say. He said he just liked to hear me talk, which was sweet, but I never got the feeling he was paying close attention to what I was saying.
Example: We’d talk on Monday night and before hanging up he’d ask me what I’m doing on Tuesday so he can figure out when we could talk. I’d give him my schedule in detail. He’d call me the following morning, usually within 8 hours of our last conversation, and he’d ask me what I was doing that day! That drove me nuts: wasn’t he listening when I told him what I was going to be doing?
I am pretty fearless when it comes to meeting people from the internet (and thank God I have never had any troubles in that regard). However, flying or taking the bus to where he lived wasn’t something I was ready to do on my own, and he couldn’t come here because he didn’t have the papers. A friend agreed to go with me to visit but then she pulled out so I didn’t end up going and meeting him.
Finally after a few months of lackluster conversation, I told him that his lack of conversation wasn’t working for me, and we should just be friends. He took it pretty well (probably because he saw this coming).
Funny enough, a year and a half ago he googled me and found my work email online. He sent me an email and I must admit that the temptation was there to try and rekindle something: a couple of years had gone by and I hadn’t met anyone special, and this guy liked me once upon a time. Also, how often do you meet someone with the same last name to marry? In the end, the fact that we have nothing in common meant we stopped talking once again. I know the next time we talk I won’t be harbouring feelings of “what if?”.