I heard Serwa screaming for me, i wondered what she wanted as i flipped through a fashion catalog on the kitchen counter. I saw a gown i liked, i folded that part as a reminder. I was heading towards the door to see what my daughter wanted when i heard the buzz of my phone, i went back into the kitchen to answer the call.
” Hey baby girl, what time is that shindig? ” i asked, stirring the boiling tomato stew on the cooker. Serwa came into the kitchen wearing a long face, i removed the phone from my ear.” Mami Serwa go call daddy. Tell him to come take the trash out and tell him the stew is ready. ” Sorry Sweetie,” i said into the mouth piece.” I was talking to my little angel. So the party is at seven pm tomorrow. Cool, see y’all tomorrow! ”
Tade walked into the kitchen with Serwa in his arms. He placed her on the kitchen stool and raised up her gown. Her knee was bruised, he went out of the kitchen and returned with a first_ aid kit. I stared at the purple bruises in surprise.
” How did that happen Serwa?” I asked.
” I fell off my bike,” She moaned.” I was calling for help but you didn’t come Mama”
” Oh dear. Mummy was on a call”
” Sorry baby boo, daddy will make it better.”
Tade dressed it while she cried and wrapped her arms around his chest. I went to them and lifted her into my arms. I rocked her until she fell asleep and i took her to her room. I served the food while Tade took out the trash. He washed his hand and came to dinner. We ate in silence until i felt uncomfortable with the quietness.
” What’s on your mind?”
” Serwa” he replied tersely.
” What’s wrong with her?” I asked, browsing through an e.rotic site on my phone, the story i was reading the previous day was about a young couple who were trying out kinky stuffs.I wondered if Tade would be game for it.
” Mabel this is the third time she’s bruising her knee ” he said worriedly.
” Tade, she’s a kid. Didn’t you get your knees skinned as a child?” I asked.
” I will caution her to be more careful when playing. The food is good baby” he said.
” Thank you baby” i replied with a smile, ” I have to be at Rose’s bar opening night tomorrow. It’s 7 pm till dawn”
” Tomorrow is Serwa’ s play at school. Have you forgotten? ”
” No i didn’t. Rose will never forgive me if i am not at the opening of her new bar.”
” Serwa will be hurt if you are not there to see her perform.”
” What time is the play?”
” It is 5 pm_ 7 pm.”
” Wow. Silly me! I agreed to shop with Arianna for her wedding tomorrow noon and i also want to attend Rose’s opening. I will just be too stressed out to attend the play, i will have a talk with Serwa and i have to get her a new toy or something to appease her.
” Alright” he said. He was a very calm, peaceful and quiet man. He was so loving and understanding. He was a gentleman and i felt so lucky to have him.
After our dinner i woke up Serwa and fed her. Tade read her a bed time story while i brushed my teeth, showered and got into bed. Tade came in and switched off the light, he pulled back the duvet and got into the bed. He drew me closer to his strong muscled body, his nose was buried in my hair while his hand caressed my a-s lightly.
” Bell, since we couldn’t travel for Christmas because of your famous party we have to travel for easter.” He said.
” Hmmmn” i murmured, mentally planning what to wear to the shindig.
He squeezed my a-s, kissing my neck.
” Tade ” i said.
” Hmmn baby,”
” Not tonight please. I need my energy for tomorrow’s activities. You know how i get after s-x, i would want more and more until i have sapped out my energy” i said, but the truth of the matter was i had given myself several o—-m earlier in the day.
” It’s been a while” he said.
” This weekend is all yours baby. I promise to ride you sore”.
He sighed and shifted back.” Night Bell,”
” Night, my handsome Nigerian Man,”
” Hello dear,” i said into the mouth piece of my phone.” You sound so down, what is wrong?” I asked, Uche and i had been dating for only few weeks but i knew a lot about him. How his voice rises a notch when he’s excited about something but doesn’t want to share it. I also knew how his voice drops a notch when he’s sad about something.” Are you at home? i am on my way to your place now.” I disconnected the call and walked out of my room into our living room. My mom was knitting a shawl while watching a christian home movie.
” Mom, please can i borrow your car for few minutes?”
” Yes but be careful please.” She replied, ” Are you going far?”
” No ma”
” Sha be careful.” She said.
” Thank you Mom” i said, picking up the car key beside her.
I drove down to Uchenna’s gate and parked. I dialed his line and he walked out of his gate while the phone was still ringing. He opened the door of the car and got in.
” Uche, what’s wrong?” i asked.
” How are you?” He said.
” Let’s talk about you. You sounded so down over the phone and right now you don’t look yourself.”
” I got yet another letter of rejection. This is my third year of being unemployed, i am fed up.”
” Is that what got you so moody?” I asked, ” You will get a good job at the lord’ s own appointed time. God does not forsake his own, please keep up your faith dear.”
” Thank you” he replied.
” How do i cheer you up?”
” Keep me in your prayers”
” You are already in my prayers. So how else do i cheer you up? want to go see a movie?”
” No. I will be fine”
” I heard there’s a new comic movie in the cinema. Laughter is good for the soul and you need a good dose of it.”
He laughed. ” Says who? i only need to sleep it off”
” As your personal doctor, i say you need it” i ignited the car” Buckle your seat belt sir and enjoy the ride.”
” Yes Ma’am”
” Mummy, please can i get two hundred naira from you? i have an interview tomorrow but the money i have on me won’t be enough to take me to and fro.”
” Oloun Oba ngbo, i have no money on me. Go inside your room and pray about the interview ” She replied, turning a pot of Amala with omorogun.
” Mummy i have prayed and fasted, i only need the money to add up my transport fare”
” Are you deaf? i said i don’t have any money on me. I told your father to ask for salary increase but he has refused. You are a graduate and a woman, i can’t be using my money to feed your younger ones and also feed you too. Did you ask God to provide the transport fare before the interview?” She asked, portioning the Amala into little bowls.” I am sure you did not”
I walked out of the kitchen, seething in anger. My mother wasn’t your ideal loving and caring pastor’s wife or mother. She believed everything should be handed to her family either by God or the church members. She would often waylay well to do people in the church and seek for assistance even when she lacked for nothing. I made my way out of our five bedroom bungalow. I walked into the sunny afternoon, my shirt was damp with sweat by the time i got to Dupe’s gate. I let myself in and knocked on the door, Mummy Dupe ushered me in with a warm smile.
” Pele Funmi. The sun is just something else this days”
I laughed. ” At least it is better than rain o mummy. Good afternoon ma”
” Afternoon my dear, how is your mother?” She asked, walking towards the kitchen. She came back with a tray of cold mineral, biscuit and groundnut which she gave to me.
” She’s fine, Thank you ma”
She resumed her knitting.” Your friend is not at home o. She has become Willy willy, always disappearing”.
” Where did she say she was going ma?”
” She didn’t tell me anything o. She only said she wasn’t going far.”
The sound of a car driving into the compound brought a smile to the older woman’s face.
” Speak of the Angel” She said.
Dupe walked in with a yellow shopping nylon filled with things. ” Mom, i got you something ” she said, ” Funmi! It was just like i knew you were here, mom take.” she brought out a little white bowl of salad.
” Oshey. Hope nothing happened to my car sha?”
” Haba mummy! Funmi, come jare. Let’s go to my room”
I carried my tray and followed her. I sat down on the bed. She picked some nuts off my tray and threw it into her mouth. She emptied the nylon on the bed, she pushed some bars of chocolate towards me.
” Where did you go?”
” I went to see a movie with Uche.”
” So it’s Uche,”
” Yes it’s Uche, ” she replied with laughter.” How about we all hang out this Saturday?”
” I am broke”
” Who said it would be on you? what’s up with you?”
” I have an interview tomorrow ”
” Wow, congrats girl! the job is already yours”
” Amen.I don’t have enough fare”
Dupe dug into her purse and brought out three five hundred naira notes, which she placed beside me.
” Will that cover it?”
” It is more than enough. Thank you Dupe,”
” What are you wearing to the interview?”
” I want to wear my blue skirt with a black blouse”
She sighed.” Do you want me to be honest with you?”
” Yes, sure.”
” You should wear something classier, you will also be assessed by your look. Your hair is….”
” What is wrong with my hair?” i asked, touching my natural afro with my hand.
” Your hair is fine, don’t get me wrong o. Other applicants especially the females will most likely be on well tailored pant trouser and fitted shirt. Their weaves or braids, plus the make up will make them a better candidate. No matter how brilliant or intelligent you might answer an interview question, your look also matters. It could mar or make your interview”
” So indecent dressing will get me the job? ” i asked,” i have prayed about it, I will go there and answer the questions to the best of my abilities and leave the rest to God”.
” Alright. Guess what?” She asked mischievously.
” What? he kissed you…..isn’t that what you want to tell me?”
” By the way, shebi Uche is not working yet? Who paid for the movie and everything? ” I asked.
She laughed.” I did.”
I couldn’t help laughing.” You have become maga, maga for omo ibo”
She kicked my leg playfully while i continued laughing. I went for the interview the next day, the interviewer was a man in his sixties or thereabout. He spent less than thirty minutes with me unlike the other ladies whom he took his time interviewing. I answered all his questions correctly and to the best of my abilities but he never called me back.