The wind made a howling sound, blowing fiercely and causing the aluminum roof to shake as if it was being yanked off. The darkened sky made the neighbourhood to look greyish, turning morning into noon. The thought that it was going to rain was in everyone’s mind. School children hurried down the street, shop owners began to think twice about closing their stores, people heading to their different work places, arguing and fighting by the sidewalk, in disagreement about who called the motor cycle rider first. Those who couldn’t wait quickened their steps, hurrying towards the junction to get a motor bike ride, or board the Keke Napep or hopefully get a bus heading to their destination.
Edua strolled into the sitting room, switched on the light bulb, closed the opened windows, and sat beside her husband on the settee directly opposite the flat screen television.
“Aren’t you going to the shop today?” she looked at him briefly and directed her gaze at the television set.
Her husband had already taken his bath and eaten his breakfast. She wondered why he was still in a pair of blue shorts and a short-sleeve white tee-shirt. He should have changed into his work clothes by now. The sooner he left the house, the better for her. There were a lot of programs she wanted to watch and she wasn’t ready to share the television with him that morning.
“I don’t feel like going anywhere today. I came in late last night and I want to rest. My boys are capable of handling the current jobs at the shop. They will call me when there is an emergency,” he lifted his bare feet and placed it on the center table.
She groaned inwardly and eyed the DSTV remote in his hand. Her husband had a habit of monopolizing the television whenever he was home. She wished and prayed that one of his apprentice will call him that very moment.
“I think the rain is falling elsewhere,” he looked towards the closed window.
She placed her head on his chest. “But the wind has been blowing anyhow in the area since morning.”
“That’s nature for you. There was a day that I was in Ojota, it started to rain and I got drenched. I boarded a bus and by the time we got to Anthony bridge, the sun was blazing.”
She chuckled and nodded with understanding. She remembered witnessing something like that in the past year.
“It wasn’t funny. People were just staring at us as if we were aliens.”
She started to laugh harder. She could imagine how people reacted when they saw them.
“It was a crazy day,” he held the DSTV remote and flipped from one channel to the other.
She didn’t like the way he kept changing channels every sixty seconds and it was beginning to irritate her. “Leave it on the Telemundo or Zee World channel,” she suggested, although she knew he was going to protest.
“You and who?” he turned to look at her and eyed her. He doubted if he would ever be able to understand some women’s obsession to the likes of all these channels.
She hissed and folded her arms across her full chest. “When I get a job, the first thing I am going to buy is a television.”
Edet burst into laughter. He was more than sure that a television would be at the bottom of their list of things to buy by the time she gained employment.
“If my flat screen television had not fallen while I was moving my things out of my flat in Dolphin Estate, at least we would have placed it in the bedroom,” she complained.
The guy she hired to help her carry her things out of the flat miscalculated a step while carrying her television. It came crashing down on the tiled floor and the fall rendered it irreparable.
He gave her shoulder a gentle squeeze. “Don’t worry. I will buy another television soon. Then you can watch all the Telemundo and Zee World soap operas that you want.”
“Promise?” she met his teasing stare.
“Edua abeg free me. Buying another television is not on our ‘To Do’ list at the moment,” he turned away and focused on the Sports channel he was watching.
She hissed again and tried to get up. He grabbed her by the elbow, pulling her back to a sitting position.
“Where are you going?” he noticed her pale face. He could tell that she was upset.
“Leave me jor,” she tried freeing her hand from his firm grip. Since she couldn’t watch her favourite channels, she might as well watch some of the movies she downloaded on her laptop.
“I cannot leave you, biko. My Princess, my special Beauty Queen, the only one I love,” he placed a loving hand around her shoulders.
“Oya let’s watch Telemundo,” she reached out for the DSTV remote.
He placed the remote out of her reach. “Manipulation is the highest form of witchcraft,” he eyed her again.
“Now you are calling me a witch,” she accused him.
“I didn’t call…”
The door-bell rang, cutting him off.
“I hope that’s one of your boys. The television is all mine, hallelujah!” she raised her hands in excitement.
He hissed and got up, hoping it wasn’t any of his boys. He wasn’t ready to resume work that morning.
“It might be Kaosara.”
Her brows came together in a frown. She hoped it wasn’t Kaosara at the door. Their nosy neighbor had been a menace. The lady was a chronic borrower and beggar. If wishes were horses, they would have rented another apartment several months’ ago, but the money her husband was expecting didn’t come through. She picked up the DSTV remote her husband dropped on the chair and changed the channel.
“I am sure she is the one. That girl ehn…”
Edet sauntered to the front door and peeped through the door-hole. The person he saw standing outside their door made him gap in shock. He turned back to look at his wife.
“Hmm…” she placed her legs on the center table and propped her back with a pillow.
“Edua…” he called her again.
“What? Is she the one? Don’t open the door. Let her keep ringing the bell,” she concentrated on the soap opera she was watching.
“It’s your mum.”
She looked at him quickly. “What did you say?”
“Your mum is at the door.”
She blinked several times. Was it possible? “Are you sure?”
He looked through the door-hole again. “She is the one.”
The door-bell rang again. Edua got up hastily and hurried to the door. She peeped through the door-hole and saw her mother standing outside. Her heart missed a beat. What did the woman want? How did she find them? Her mother didn’t bother to attend the introduction or the traditional wedding or their church wedding. Her maternal grandparents called her and spoke to her at length, yet she stuck to her guns like a stubborn goat and refused to show up.
“What’s she doing here? How did she find us?” she glanced at her husband.
“Why are you asking me JAMB questions?” he returned her worried gaze. He had no idea how the woman found them. The last time they saw her was the day they went to her house to invite her for their wedding.
Edua took a deep breath, unlocked and opened the door. She folded her arms against her chest and frowned at the woman she called mother. Adesua sighed with relief when she saw the girl. A moment ago, she thought she had been ringing the bell on the wrong door. Her smile began to fade when she sized her up. The girl looked distractingly thinner and tanned. Gone was her glowing smooth fair skin, her irresistible beauty and mind blowing physique that drove many men crazy. Now she looked ordinary, like every girl next door.
“Can I help you?” she noticed the disapproving look in her mother’s eyes.
Adesua met her unfriendly stare and cleared her throat, “Can I… at least, can I come in?”
“No,” her emotionless tone didn’t surprise the woman. She had no intention of allowing her mother into her home. As far as she was concerned, Adesua Ayenkegbe wasn’t welcome.
“I know that you are upset…”
“That is an understatement,” she interrupted the woman. “What kind of mother shuns her only daughter’s wedding?”
She looked away and sighed heavily. “I… I wanted to punish you.”
Edua gapped in astonishment. “Punish me?! For what? What did I do?” the ache in her heart magnified.
Adesua met her daughter’s sad and displeased gaze. “I know I made a mistake. I should have been there for you.”
“Mistake my foot!” her voice hit the roof.
Edet joined his wife by the door and pulled her into the apartment. “Please come in,” he addressed his mother-in-law.
“Thank you,” she walked in and closed the door behind her.
“Keep your voice down. The whole house will hear you,” he cautioned his wife and made her to sit down beside him.
Adesua cringed at the sight of the apartment. It reminded her of the place she rented when she relocated to Lagos with her daughter after the burial of her late husband.
“Please sit down,” Edet feigned a smile.
“Thank you,” she forced a smile and took a seat beside theirs.
“Can we offer you a drink? Soft drink? Fruit juice? Water?” he suggested.
“No, no thank you,” she declined and glanced at her daughter who was still glaring at her.
“What can we do for you?” Edet asked her after a moment of silence.
Adesua directed her observant gaze at her son-in-law. She had not gotten over the fact that her daughter settled for a mere Motor Mechanic. He was beneath their social class. He wasn’t in their league at all. How was he going to take care of her? What happens when the children start to arrive? She was determined not to stand by and watch her daughter suffer. She was going to do everything humanly possible to try and convince her to partner with her in her thriving business.
She cleared her throat. “I… I am so sorry. I apologize for not attending the wedding,” she looked from one to the other.
“Apology not accepted,” Edua lashed out.
Edet pinched her on the thigh.
“Ouch! What was that for?” she glared at him.
He eyed her and remained tight-lipped.
Adesua cleared her throat again. “I am actually happy for both of you.”
They turned to look at her. The doubt in their eyes was evident.
“I wish both of you a blissful life together,” she got up slowly, “I came with a wedding present. It is outside.”
Edet and his wife exchanged stares. They were not expecting anything from her. The wedding gift was a surprise to them.
“But, if you ever want to start over, I have a lot of clients who will pay through their noses to spend time with you,” she addressed her daughter.
Edet frowned at the woman and got up quickly. So did his wife.
Edua felt like throwing her out of the house, but, composed herself. After all, the woman was about to leave. “Thanks, but, no thanks mother.”
“I know a lot of girls who came back, even after marriage and giving birth to children,” she stressed.
“Don’t count on that. I am a happily married woman now. Nothing is going to change that,” her tone remained firm.
Adesua laughed mockingly. “You call this happy?” her eyes darted about the room, filled with disgust.
“Small beginnings mother. We will strike gold sooner than you think.”
“I pray you come to your senses soon, I will be in touch,” she smiled at her daughter, then glanced back at Edet. She noticed the angry look in his eyes. She could tell that he didn’t appreciate her attempt to cajole his wife. She dropped an envelope on the center table and headed for the door.
Edet went after her and shut the door. “Your mother needs help,” he turned to look at his wife.
Her gaze fell on the brown envelope on the table. “Tell me about it. I almost threw her out of the house.”
He chuckled, “I know. I saw the look on your face. On a more serious note, you need to pray for her. She is completely lost.”
“It is only God that can save her,” she picked up the envelope and opened it.
“What’s in it?” he walked up to her.
She brought out a set of car keys.
“Wow! Okay, okay, this wedding gift might make it easier to forgive your mother.”
She punched him on the shoulder. “You are not serious.”
“Come, let’s go check the car out,” he grabbed the car keys and hurried to the door.
Edua ran after her husband. They made their way out of the building and found a new navy blue Toyota Camry parked outside the building.
“Wow! It is a 2016 model. Your mother no dey fall hand sha,” he ran his hand over the vehicle.
“Let’s take a ride. It’s being a long while since I have driven a very good car,” she suggested.
“Okay Princess,” he opened the driver’s seat and hopped in.
Edua jumped in after him and shut the door.
“Where do you want to go?” his excited stare observed her happy face.
“Anywhere darling,” she winked at him.
“Okay. Iet’s go to Mr. Biggs come back. I think I get small change for my pocket. How does ice-cream sound?”
“I am so game. Let’s go there.”
Edet started the engine of the vehicle.
“Oga Edet! Madam Edua! Na this be your new car. Ah! We go wash am o!” Kaosara hurried to the driver’s window.
The couple exchanged glances.
“This car is so fine. God must butter my bread this year,” she peeped through the window.
“Kaosara we dey go out. Later now,” he tried to discharge her.
“Wait, wait, drop me for junction. I want to buy something under the bridge,” she moved to the back seat door.
Edua placed a hand on her forehead and shook her head.
“Should we drop her?” he glanced at his wife.
She remained silent, trying not to think about anything, yet several thoughts flooded her mind.
“Oga Edet, make una open the door now,” Kaosara pulled at the locked door.
“Do we have a choice? Once I get a new job, we are definitely moving out of this house.”
Edet began to laugh. “I hear you. First, television, now a new apartment.”
“There is nothing God cannot do,” she folded her arms across her chest.
He continued to laugh. Kaosara climbed into the vehicle and sat down majestically