I arrive Lagos late, sweaty and not-so-fresh-looking. The rowdiness of Lagos is a total contrast to the city of Ilorin that wears serenity like a colourful coat.
Walking into my room at the hotel, I am tempted to collapse in bed and just absorb the freshness and beauty before me. I mean, it is not every day one comes home to a well-made bed with crisp white sheets.
I resist the urge and rush downstairs for my first class.
When I enter, I hold my head high, even though I am quivering inside. I hate being late to anything, especially a class.
I find a seat beside the Queen herself, much to my dismay.
Five minutes later, I have gathered my wits. I take stock.
There are twenty-two other people in the room, besides Chimamanda and Eghosa Imasuen. Twenty-two people, who — I did not know at the time — would become important to me in many ways.
I steal glances at the Queen.
She is beautiful. She is beautiful in a pure, unadulterated and simple way. She doesn’t have so much make-up on so you can tell that she has that kind of beauty where she’d look good in rags.
Chimamanda has a wry sense of humour. Translation: she loves sarcasm. This is the first connection I have with her. I am a fan of sarcasm and so hearing/seeing her dole out sarcasm in juicy bits, gives me a certain satisfaction.
The truth is, I came prepared to hate her guts. I had formed an opinion of her based on others’ opinions of her. Ignorance is not bliss; it is a prison. It is better to defer forming opinions about people we know nothing of until we have an idea what they have been through, their ideals and what informs their beliefs.
When you form an opinion of someone you have not encountered personally, you create a prison in your mind.
So yes, this is me admitting my myopia.
She is not a – how do I say this? – bitch. She is nothing like any of us expected. She is simply human.