“Mu – mummy . . .” Efe stuttered as she looked at her daughter and back to her mother-in-law. “What are you doing here?”
“Ahan Efe, is that how you would greet me and your daughter after not seeing us for the past few months?” She said, balancing Eluwa on her hip. Efe shook her head and apologized. She rose to her feet and took her daughter from the older woman’s arms. Her daughter smiled broadly and made excited sounds and clapped her hands together.
“At least your daughter knows how to welcome someone.”
“Mummy, I’m sorry nau. It’s just that I wasn’t expecting to see you. It’s a huge surprise. Please seat down ma.” As she did so, Efe looked around and saw a few of her colleagues were not interested in what was happening while a few others were stealing glances at her. Some mouthed, ‘Is that your baby?’, ‘She’s so cute.’, ‘Your mum?’. Efe answered them with a nod, smile and shaking her head. Efe didn’t want Amanze to see them here. She thought of how she could arrange for them to get to the apartment she shared with Pamela.
“So mummy how did you get to Calabar?”
“I took a flight. Your father-in-law didn’t want me stressing myself and Ulunma by taking a bus. He sends his greetings. I hope we are not disturbing you at work. I told them at the reception that I wanted to see you and a man directed me here.”
A man? “It’s fine mummy. I actually have a lot of work to do now and I’m sure you must be tired. It would be better if you and Eluwa go to my apartment and when I’m through with work I would come home. I cooked yesterday so there is food in the fridge. Hope that is okay?”
She shrugged. “It’s fine.”
Efe inwardly sighed and quickly made arrangements for a cab to come to the office and take them home. She gave her mother-in-law the keys to the apartment and promised to be home as soon as she could. Unfortunately, Pamela wasn’t at the office, it was her CDS day. Efe made a mental note to update her on the turn of events.
“You have a beautiful daughter Efe.” A colleague said after her guest had left.
“And that’s your mother-in-law? She try o! To travel all the way and bring your daughter here. . . She must really love you.”
Efe forced a smile and nodded as she thought Daniel’s mother would soon be her ex mother-in-law if there was anything like that.. “Yes, she really loves me.”
“Lucky you. My own mother-in-law can be very annoying. She criticizes everything I do. Even if it’s the soup that I cooked for my husband she would have something to say. My husband likes my cooking but she doesn’t . . . Who am I to please?”
Efe wasn’t in the mood for the conversation.
“Anyway sha . . . It is well. See you jere.”
Efe waved her good-bye and sat at her desk.
Lucky me? I’m sure she came here to talk about the divorce. Is this the sign I asked God for? Why can’t everyone just leave me alone and mind their business? Efe suddenly felt guilty over her line of thoughts. She knew the older woman wanted what was best for her. She was just tired of everyone telling her what was best for her and her daughter. What about Daniel? Were they talking to him as well? Were they telling him I was best for him? Or was he still bent on kicking her out of his life? A terrible thought came to mind. What if they wanted to keep her daughter? Her palms balled into fists.
She would never let that happen.
It was a few minutes past eight when she got home. The apartment smelled of soup and she could hear the high tunes of the cartoon characters on TV. Pamela had said she wouldn’t be returning home but would come straight to work from her parents’ place. Efe was worried about her. She had been acting odd for the past few weeks and any-time she asked if everything was okay she got the same reply, ‘I’m fine.’
“Welcome my daughter. How was work?”
Efe bent low to kiss her daughter’s forehead. “Fine ma. How are you? Hope you were able to get some rest.”
“Yes. We just finished dinner. Should I set yours up for you?”
“No, don’t bother. I would change and dish it out myself.”
The older woman clucked her tongue. “I will dish it for you. Your cooking is wonderful! I enjoyed eating my dinner. Where did you learn to cook like that?”
Efe chuckled, glad that her time in Calabar had been spent well. “I learnt from a friend of mine that owns a buka.”
The older woman looked amazed. “Wonderful. Oya go and change and eat.”
Efe did so and returned to eat her food in silence. Her mother-in-law hadn’t said her reason for coming and Efe wasn’t sure she was ready to bring the topic up. It was when she had put Eluwa to bed that her mother-in-law stated her reasons for the surprise visit.
“Efe. My daughter, you know I see you as my own daughter.”
“I have known you since you were small. I watched you grow up to be a beautiful and independent woman. Your mother would have been so proud of you. I know you see me as a mother as well . . .”
Efe nodded again.
“I’m happy to be one to you. Please listen to me. I know you think I’ve come here to change your mind or say reasons why you shouldn’t leave my son. If I look at you as a daughter then I should also identify with the pain you’re going through. Biko, I want you to be happy. I want the both of you to be happy. If the two of you can’t be happy together . . . Then feel free to leave him.”
Efe wasn’t sure she heard right. “Mummy, are you saying I can divorce Daniel?”
“You don’t mean it.”
“I actually do. He told me yesterday.” Ebuka told her. He had dropped by ta her office to say hello and then conversation had diverted to Daniel. Adesewa knew she was partly, if not majorly, at fault over the rift between husband and wife. Never had she thought she would have ‘home-wrecker’ as part of her portfolio. If she and Korede started seeing each-other, how would she tell him of her sordid past? What would he think of her?
“Ade, are you okay?”
She nodded and licked her lips. “Yes, I’m fine.”
“Are you sure? You just zoned out after what I told you about Daniel. Are you still into him?”
“What?! No! I’m just thinking it through. I feel it’s my fault they are having this issue.”
“Common. It’s not totally your fault. They had their own issues. Don’t forget it was Daniel that cheated on you in the first place-”
Adesewa cut in. “And then he got married and I thought the best way to avenge myself was to sleep with him on his wedding day and leave my lingerie in his pocket so I could hurt his wife for stealing him from me.” She closed her eyes. “I shouldn’t have done that.”
“Yeah, you shouldn’t but there’s no need in beating yourself over it. I knew Daniel was having doubts about marrying Efe. He was still bent on winning you back. He didn’t love and I don’t think he would ever love her . . . The way he loves you.”
Adesewa opened her eyes and frowned at him. “What are you trying to do Ebuka? You want me to feel pity for him and go back to him? What’s your plan?”
“I’m sorry. I guess I was just trying to see if you were still crazy about him. I’m sorry.”
She covered her eyes and took a deep breath then dropped her hand on the table. The coffee her secretary had prepared for the both of them would have turned lukewarm. She wasn’t interested in drinking it any-more. Ebuka’s news was already a bitter taste to her.
“Did Daniel say what he plans to do?”
Ebuka shook his head and downed his coffee before saying anything. “He’s not sure what to do. He’s confused. He sent her out of the house just before she started NYSC. He wants to divorce Efe and he wants to keep her. Like I said, he’s confused.”
Lord, please help them. Help them make the right decision; not based on their own emotions or thinking but on what You want them to do.
“It is well.” Was all she could say.
“And what about you? I can see your business is booming. What about your social life? Are you seeing anyone?”’
Adesewa raised her brow.
He laughed out-loud.
“I’m not trying to be nosy if that’s what you’re thinking. I just care about you. Even if we can’t be a couple it doesn’t mean I should stop caring. We’re friends after-all. Aren’t we?”
“Sure we’re friends. My social life is fine. Work keeps me preoccupied most of the time. What about you?”
“I’m taking my time. Don’t want to rush into anything and end up rushing out.”
“I totally understand. So when are you going to take up the invitation to attend my church? You’ve been posting me for a while now.”
He laughed. “If I agree does that mean you would consider me again?”
“My answer remains no.”
“it’s fine. I was just joking anyway.”
He rose to his feet. “I need to get going. It was good to see you again. You’re looking great.”
“Thanks Ebuka. You too.”
He winked at her and took his leave.
Adesewa sighed, Daniel and Efe heavy on her mind.
A couple walked into the store holding hands and the guy laughing at whatever the beautiful woman had said to him. A fleeting thought of himself and Adesewa came to mind but he banished it immediately. There was no use going back to the past. It only brought pain and anger.
Bible study session wasn’t happening that week. The leader of the bible study wasn’t available and the someone else was taking it. Daniel didn’t feel like sitting through someone else’s teaching. He was seated at the ice-cream place Mitchell liked. He wondered if Ulunma would like the place as well. These days he felt bad for having dumped her at his parents’ place. It wasn’t like he had abandoned her or anything . . . He just needed to sort out his life first.
Efe’s lawyer had contacted him a few days ago and asked how soon he could sign the divorce papers. Daniel was amazed at how fast she wanted to be out of his life. Well, it wasn’t as if he had treated her well since they said ‘I do’. He had tried calling her but each time he dialled her number he cut if off before he rang. What did he want to tell her? He had nothing to say to her.
He picked up his phone and checked his messages.
Daniel: I’ve missed you and all your preaching at me.
Mitchell.A: Awww. . . I’m flattered. How are you doing? How’s your daughter? Work and all?
Daniel: We thank God. All fine.
Mitchell.A: Cool. So have you finally decided to go back to your wife?
Daniel: I’m still praying about it. *SIGH* I don’t love her.
Mitchell.A: *Shocked face* What’s your definition of love?
Daniel: LOL. Is this a trick question?
Daniel: Errm. Deep emotions. Attraction. It’s just there when I see the person. Heart flips. Stomach twisting. You get?
Mitchell: Wow. Is that how you see love? Interesting . . . To me love is more than all those feelings. It’s a decision to commit to someone. Just like God does towards us. Don’t worry we can discuss more when we meet.
Daniel: Which is?
Mitchell.A: Later this evening. Let’s say 6 ish. At that ice-cream place I like so much. You’re getting me ice-cream today. 🙂
Daniel: See this madam o. Okay nau…As you wish 🙂
Daniel stared at the messages and checked the time. It was six-fifty and he hadn’t heard from Mitchell yet. It was strange ‘cause she wasn’t one to be late. He tried calling her again but her line was busy. At least it was better than a few minutes ago when he was just getting a reply that her phone was switched off. He decided to wait a bit before calling but she beat him to it.
“Na wa for you o! I’ve been trying to call you since.”
She coughed. “I’m sorry. Something came up and I might not be able to make our meeting.”
Daniel frowned. Her voice didn’t sound right. Had she been crying? “Are you okay? You’re not sounding yourself.”
“I will be fine. Just minor things.”
He wasn’t convinced. “Can I come over to yours?”
He felt her hesitation over the phone. She sighed and said it was okay for him to come. He decided to buy her a cup of ice-cream and some snacks before heading over. Worry filled his thoughts as he manoeuvred his way to her house with the traffic that was building up.
“I’m here.” He said once he parked not to far from her house. He got out and leaned against his car while checking updates on his phone. It took her a few minutes to come out but when she did Daniel couldn’t believe his eyes. She looked pale and thin despite the blue kaftan she donned on.
Wasn’t it just a week ago he had seen her? When had she become like this?
“Mitchell, what happened to you?”
She folded her arms against her chest. “I wasn’t feeling too well for sometime but I’m getting better now.”
If she was getting better and still looking like this, he couldn’t imagine how she looked like when she was ill.
“What exactly is the problem?”
She looked up at him. Her eyes sad but her lips tilted up in a smile. “I can’t really explain it to you Daniel. It’s a long story but I’m better now. I smell doughnuts. Yum!”
He blocked her way and grabbed her by the arms. “Explain it to me. It’s not like I’m dumb and I won’t understand what you’re saying. Talk to me nau.” He added when he saw her hesitate.
She swallowed hard. “I’m dying.”
♡ Bible Quote for the Day: Jesus, overhearing, shot back, “Who needs a doctor: the healthy or the sick? Go figure out what this Scripture means: ‘I’m after mercy, not religion.’ I’m here to invite outsiders, not coddle insiders.”
Matthew 9:12-13 MSG