I missed him. I missed him a lot. It seemed like everything corroborated to remind me of him, sometimes I caught his scent in the air even when I knew he was miles away from me. He rang my phone nonstop and his text messages flooded my phone but I never opened one of those messages. He came to see my mother and I ran away to seek refuge in my room. I wondered what he said to her afterwards but I never asked her and she never told me.
I heard someone call out my name as I walked home after I locked up my shop. I pulled up the scarf around my neck, it was an Icy windy evening. The air also smelled different, reminding me that I would be celebrating Christmas alone.
” Sly,” I called, waving at him.
He pulled his car closer to me and offered me a ride. We seem to run into each other often of late but I didn’t think anything of it. I pulled open the car door and got in.
” How’re you?” He asked.
” I’m alright ” I replied.
“Annie told me, want to talk about it?” He asked.
” Annie told you what?’ I asked.
” Your break up,” he said, ” You can cry on my shoulders if you want”
I gave him a quizzing look.” You know, Sly, isn’t it a bit strange that you suddenly appear wherever I am?”
He laughed.” I am not stalking you. It’s pure coincidence ”
I nodded my head.” Sorry. I’m cranky”
” Want to talk about it?”
” It hurts too much” I replied, ” Hey, where are you going?” I asked, when he took another turning.
” Hot chocolates” He replied.
” I don’t think it will help,” I said, shivering from the icy air the car’s air condition was blowing.
” At least it will keep you warm” He grinned.
” I know what you are doing Shark!” Annie fumed, drumming her long manicured finger nail my desk.” Is that why you called off things with me? because you wanted to seduce that little girl?”
” You haven’t stated your reason for barging into my office Annie,” I said. She was smarting because I called off things with her.
” Uche is in a bad shape and Dupe is on the rebound. Leave her alone! I heard you’ve been trailing after her like a biitch in heat. Stay clear off her?”
” Why?” I asked, taking a sip of my hot coffee.” Jealous? Dupe and I are both unattached at the moment. Who are we hurting?’
” You……you have no heart Shark! She’s not for the likes of you!” She shouted, standing up.” Your heart is made of stone! You are not capable of loving anyone, don’t do that to the poor girl! she has been through one heart break already” she marched towards the door, swinging her tiny waist in a sultry way.
” Yea?” She paused, turning around.
” Tell Mrs. Ahmed to bring me two cubes of sugar. Your presence has left a bitter taste in my mouth.”
” Ba.stard!” She shouted, banging the door after her.
I had time to reflect over my actions on the flight home and I could see how I had somehow gotten it wrong. My family should come first before anyone else. I always thought of myself first but Tade made it so easy for me! he should have at least stood up to me for once.
I got into the taxi and gave him directions to my house. I wondered again why Tade didn’t pick up my calls last night, he must have been very pissed with me. I wanted to apologize to him and tell him that I was in taxi on my way to the airport to catch a flight home. I felt a feeling of shame wash over me as I recalled his words to me when we had the argument.What did he mean by I left my home in the charge of another woman? did Funmi misbehave in my absence?. what do I even know about her?
I paid the cabbie, picked up my strap bag and walked into the Estate gate. I half_ heartedly answered the greetings of the security guys. Few seconds later I was ringing the door bell to my house, the door was flung open and Serwa stood looking at me. Her face and hands were covered in jam. I pulled her into my arms while she stood rigid.
” My baby, mummy is back. I missed you my love.”
” Ummn,” She muttered.
” Baby girl, why are you not in school today?”
” Miss Funmi is sick.”
” What’s wrong with her?”
” Don’t know.” She replied.
I closed the door behind us and we walked into the living room. Serwa’s toys were scattered on the floor and I almost tripped on one.
” Why are your princesses here? You know they are only allowed to play with you in your nursery or playhouse.”
Her small chin went up and she ran up the stairs. I was quiet surprise by her behaviour. Maybe she was angry with me I decided. I knocked on the guest room door before pushing it back gently. Funmi was on the bed, sleeping. Her long gold braid cascading all over the pillow her head was on. I tapped her gently and her eyelids fluttered open. She sat up, a stricken look on her face and her chest was heaving heavily.
” Hi Funmi, what’s wrong with you?”
” Mabel….Mabel” She said and started crying.
” What’s wrong?” I dropped my bag and sat down on the bed.
” When….when did you get back?” She asked, wiping away her tears.
” I boarded a flight last night ” I said, ” We need to talk but not now. What’s wrong with you?”
” I have a severe tummy ache,”
I pulled her into my arms. Patting her on the back gently, ” Sorry dear. You will be alright.”
Everyone seemed to be acting strange.Serwa was unusually quiet, Funmi seemed lost in herself and Tade had a stony expression on his face. Dinner was a very quiet fare, when we retired for the night, I put on the most sexy negligee I had. Tade had his back to me on the bed, I slided the tip of my finger down his spine but there was no reaction from him. I pulled him closer, pressing my b—–s against his back.
” Tade, baby. I’m sorry. I’m sorry for everything and for shouting on you over the phone”
“It’s alright.” He replied.
“I miss you baby,” I said, caressing his butt.
” I miss you too.Goodnight “He replied.
I blinked in surprise, threw back the covers and walked out of the bedroom. What was happening? it was unlike him to hold a grudge. I went downstairs and made myself a cup of warm milk, I walked to the sofa, made to sit and my eye caught something.Something wasn’t right, I bent down and peered at it closely. There was a faint red stain on it. Did Serwa spill Jam on it?
I drowned the warm milk, went back upstairs and opened Serwa’s door and I switchedswitched on the bulb. A scream caught in my throat as the vacant bed stared back at me. I ran back downstairs, I opened the door and ran to the backyard. I knocked on Funmi’s door, I shook it and realized it wasn’t locked. I barged into her bedroom, Serwa lay on her chest, while Funmi’s hand was on her lower back. I made to lift the sleeping child out of her arms but Funmi jerked awake. Her hand yanked off mine.
” What are you doing? ” Funmi asked.
” Serwa should be in her room. She shouldn’t be sharing the same bed with you.”
” She came to me” Funmi said.
” You should have sent her back to her own bed. I was worried when I didn’t see her. Give her to me”
” She should stay here tonight, I will warn her in the morning not to leave her bed again ” Funmi said.
I was suddenly irritated.” I will warn her myself, take your hands off her”
” What’s happening? ” Tade asked, padding into the room.
” Baby, Serwa left her bed and I want to take her back” I said.
” She will be upset if she wakes up in the middle of the night and she did not see me.” Funmi said.
” Leave her Mabel,” Tade said.
“What?” I asked in surprise.
“I said leave Serwa with Funmi” He said, walking out.
I followed him out and caught up with him.
” You shouldn’t have walked into her room Tade, she could have been indecent.” I said. “Secondly, you shouldn’t have talked to me the way you did in front of her”
He walked into the house and left me standing there at the threshold wondering what was going on.
I always dreamt of my wedding day as a young girl. I always imagined walking down the aisle on my father’s arm and my best friend beaming beside me as my chief brides maid. That dream will never come true now for me, as I had foolishly given my heart and pride to another woman’s husband. Why didn’t he stop when I begged him to? why did he touch me when he knew I won’t be able to resist him?.
” Funmi, are you alright? ” Mabel asked, her eyes searching my face. ” You have been acting strange of late, are you missing Nigeria?”
” No. I am fine.”
She nodded.” Remember I said we need to talk?”
” Yes.” I replied.
” What happened while I was away?”
” I don’t understand.”
“Something seemed to have taken place while I was away. Take you for instance, you are always lost in thought and you look different now. Tade is not talking to me and Serwa is always moody. So now you see why I am asking.”
We became a family while you were gone and now that you are back we don’t know if you will tear us apart, I thought. ” I don’t know about your husband but I think Serwa is angry with you. You should talk to her” I said, before walking out of the kitchen. My phone vibrated, I looked at the message box on the screen and clicked on it.
‘ Waiting for you at Groove park_ hurry.” Tade. It read.
To be continued..