She was having a talk with the young man when she thought she heard her name. She had to be sure so she halted the guy in mid sentence with a raise of her hand as she cocked her head to listen.
She heard it now. Still very faint but unmistakably the falsetto voice of her mother. Damn! She had to rush to go answer. If her mum should step out of the house and find her way to the side to meet her like this, there’ll be hell to pay. Not just for her but for this brave visitor of hers who was crazy enough to come check her at home.
It was a little louder now so they both heard it. Dorcas seemed to push the young man to hurry along and signalled him that she’ll be seeing him later even as she rushed into the house to meet her mother who was already screaming her name again..
“Ma!” She shouted back with a trace of defiance as she ran into the house to meet her mum in the sitting room seated on the three seater couch. The mother was taking a nap when Dorcas got the call and surreptitiously stepped out of the house.
“Where are you coming from, Dorcas?” The mother asked in irritation. “I’ve been calling you since. Where did you go to?”
“I was just outside, ma. It was kind of hot inside and I was getting restless so I thought to step out of the house and get some fresh air.”
The mum stared at her in a way Dorcas always felt very uncomfortable with. It was like she was looking into your soul. Ripping apart every layer of lies until she uncovered the truth there somewhere. It was really disconcerting.
“When you were feeling restless, why didn’t you take up your books to start reading? Or don’t you get to read again because you’re on holidays?” The mother asked.
“Anyway, I’m just saying my own o!”
The mother went on.
“I know all the guys have their eyes on you but they only want to deceive you. No man wants to marry a liability anymore so you had better focus on your education so you can get good grades and a good job. I’m just saying my own.”
And the fact was that Dorcas’ mum had genuine reasons to be scared.
Dorcas was due to be twenty in a few months so normally, she should not be keeping her daughter under her thumbs but even though the young lady had a small bosom (she was a size 32), at the other end, it was a different matter entirely and the elderly lady knew from the looks she always caught men giving her daughter that she was one of the most lusted-after girls in Osogbo.
Dorcas was the kind of babe that you would say has a pleasant face but she just stopped short of being pretty. Her hair was quite long and she had a lovely dark skin with milk-white even teeth. She wasn’t exactly proud of the size of her boobs but she knew she had killer hips and a very generous mound behind her so she played on her strength by developing the kind of walk that would put her behind in full swing. And the result was that half of the men population in Osogbo where she lived couldn’t take their eyes off her when she walked past. They practically gaped. The other half just seemed to glance at her uninterestedly in the open but they fantasised about her in secret. They were the older men of the town.
She was coming from the market a few days before when she met the young man she was chatting with. The guy was quite good-looking and very charming with words. She didn’t understand how he charmed her out of her name and phone number that day. After that first meeting, her figure was all he could think about. After some persistent calling, he finally got her address and despite her warnings, he was crazy enough to show up at the house of a woman that would have bitten him till she tasted blood had he been caught. Dorcas liked his boldness. She was being charmed by his words until the sound of her mother’s voice broke the spell. Her mother’s voice was a real spell breaker.
“So where’s my phone o? Her mum voice cut off her thoughts.
“I don’t have it, ma.”
“Ehen. I need to make an urgent call. Do you have credit on your phone?”
Dorcas wasn’t fooled though. To her mother, urgent calls meant she was seriously missing someone or worried about the person.
“I don’t, ma. I only have enough to flash.”
“Is that so?” And the mum gave her that look that she always hated for a couple of moments before breaking off the stare.
“Help me call my line let me find my phone first. Then I’ll need you to go buy me recharge card.”
Dorcas was already dialling the number and then waited for the phone to ring.
It rang somewhere around where the mum was seated so she helped to search around the couch. She probed until she found the phone and handed it to her mother.
“Thank you.” The mother said. “Now take Two Hundred Naira out of the Three Hundred Naira change I have with you and go buy me recharge card, please.”
“Which one should I buy, ma?” Dorcas asked and immediately regretted it.
“What stupid question is that? How many networks do you know me with? When all you silly girls of nowadays start thinking about boys like this…”
Dorcas didn’t wait to hear the rest of it as she was already out of the house wondering what made her ask the truly stupid question.
Her mother sat back and sighed. Her mind wandered to different places through time. She was really a battle scarred old lady. Her husband had died five years before and she usually remembered him with mixed feelings. She had been married to him for almost three decades and she was battered all through the marriage until his death through the bullet of escaping armed robbers.
On the fateful day, he had handed her a severe beating for daring to challenge him for wanting to go drinking with his friends that evening. He had beaten her so bad that he left her with one eye swollen shut. Even presently, the eye still hurt her from time to time. So it must have been karma that her husband got the bullet in the eye as the robbers were firing at will while trying to evade the cops.
His drinking buddies rushed him to the hospital to save his life but a few minutes after midnight, he was confirmed dead.
Later that morning, their compound was a beehive of activities. The new widow was inconsolable. She cursed her departed husband for not heeding her warnings, she cursed the armed robbers for not finding better things to do with their lives and for turning her two kids to orphans, she cursed the police for not curbing crime and arresting the robbers, she cursed her late husbands friends for being irresponsible and not staying with their own families, she cursed the government, she cursed everyone she believed was remotely involved in the tragedy. Even her distraught son who had rushed in from University found it hard to console his mother. It was pathetic watching as she wailed with tear flowing from even the badly swollen eye. The constant beatings her husband meted out to her was a well documented fact that everyone around knew about. So they felt sorry for her even though some of the ladies there didn’t have any sympathy for the late husband. He was a brute and that was all there was to it. The burial had been painful and quiet but life had gone on. Her son had returned back to the university leaving his mother and his teenage sister to help heal the wounds of the loss.
“Here is the card, ma.”
She snapped out of her thoughts. She didn’t even hear Dorcas enter. She collected the card and proceeded to load it.
“When last did you hear from your brother?” She asked Dorcas.
“Err… Like last week. I called him.”
“What did he say?”
“Nothing much. Just asked after school and all that sha. Asked after you, ma.”
“Hmmm… That’s why I didn’t want him to marry that girl. I’ve not seen my son in like a year now. When we tell you kids of these days something, you’ll never listen. Anyway, let me call him first. I want to see him.”
She dialled the phone and waited for the connection.
Sam looked from Andrea to Eddie and back to Andrea. They were both looking so embarrassed. He actually had to admit to himself that he enjoyed the look of discomfort on Eddie’s face.
“Well, well, well… You guys are having a family meeting of such magnitude and you wanted to leave me out?” Sam said with a smile. “Anyway, I forgive you both. I’ll try to catch up. Go on.”
He sat down and stared at Andrea.
“What do you want me to say, Sam?” She asked.
“Let’s just say that as much as I hate to, I’ll have to agree with him on this one.” He said this while nodding in Eddie’s direction.
“I think we should start thinking about kids. I like kids and I’d like to have mine so what do you say to that, babe?”
Andrea was really lost for words. She had anticipated this issue and had actually broached the issue of kids but she couldn’t believe she was on a hot seat thrashing out the issue before the two of them! She always prided herself on having everything under her control but this was way out of control. It was time to go for broke.
“No!” She blurted out.
“No???” Sam exclaimed in shock. Even Eddie who had been embarrassingly quiet couldn’t hide the panic in his face. “What do you mean by ‘No?’ You should at least give this a good thought, you know? I mean…”
At just that moment, his phone rang. He picked it up to look at the caller ID and rolled his eyes.
“You know what, Honey? I need to pick this call. You stay right there. I’ll be right back. We need to finish this. Excuse me.”
He headed for the kitchen to take his call.
Andrea turned to face Eddie with a glare that could have melted metal.
“I’m sorry, babe. That was tactless of me. I should have waited till we had our privacy. Just thought it was the right time.” Eddie looked really contrite.
Andrea visibly relaxed.
“Yes you should have, Eddie. But it’s okay.”
“Good to know we’re cool. So about that issue…” He looked to make sure the kitchen door was still shut.
“What you just said now, I meant that ‘No,’ it doesn’t apply to your Eddiekins now, does it?”
He flashed her his most charming smile and Andrea returned it with a charmer of her own.
“Of course it applies to you too, sweetie. It applies to the both of you. You two are just being selfish!” Her countenance changed to anger.
“Wait Andrea. I’m just sayi…” She cut him off with her raised hands.
“Let me finish what I’m saying goddammit!”
Eddie went mum.
“Did you guys care to think of me and my growing career before coming all macho to ask for kids? Not once. When they start coming, you guys in typical guys fashion will find all kinds of silly excuses to stay away and leave my life on the precipice. Three months before childbirth and four months after, I’m a sitting duck. For at least seven months, I can’t do nothing. So after it all, I have to start from scratch and I’m talking about something I find so much joy and fulfilment in.
“But then, I may have a proposition. If you guys insist on kids, then fine by me. We can do kids. But on some conditions that I’ll spell out. Now listen; for whoever I’m expecting his child, he’ll have to take a leave or resign three months before the child arrives. I’ll need him to run business errands for me, drive me to see clients, go shopping for me. He’ll be there when the child arrives and we’ll be sharing the same room for a year. He can resume his job five months after the baby arrives. We’ll have to take turns changing the diapers and carrying and petting the screaming baby to sleep. When the kid starts school, it’ll be the responsibility of the father to take them to school and I’m totally fine with picking them up. All these conditions I’ll be writing down and whoever is interested in going first can sign and then we can get this bloody circus rolling. If there’s anything I missed out, I’ll add it when I’m drafting the agreement. When Mr Macho in there is done with the call he’s taking, kindly pass on my terms so that you clowns can tell me who wants to go first. In the meantime, I’m going to my room now and I honestly don’t want to be disturbed right now.”
With that, she left a stunned speechless Eddie as she headed for her room.
When her mum ended the call, Dorcas knew all wasn’t well. Her mum was staring straight ahead at nothing in particular. She was brooding.
“What did he say?”
Her mum replied her without taking her eyes off the nothing in particular she was staring at.
“It seems that witch is turning my son into another thing. No plans to come see me, nothing. I warned the stupid boy but he wouldn’t listen. Seems I’ve kept quiet and played gentle too long.”
And with those words, Dorcas saw the contemplative look turn into the stubborn look her mum always wore when she had her heart set to do something. That ‘something’ from Dorcas’ experience wasn’t only going to be ugly but it would take death only to stop her.
“Come with me, Dorcas! I need to go and pack some stuff. I’m travelling to Lagos.” The mum was on her feet.
“Erm… Mummy! Did you tell brother that you’re coming?”
“No, I didn’t.”
“So how will you know where to look for him? Lagos is big o. Or do you know where he stays?”
“No, I don’t. When I get to Lagos, I’ll call him at the park to tell him I’m around. I want to know whether he won’t come and pick me. That’s when I’ll finally decide my son is a bastard and that the witch has totally taken over him.”
“So you’re going tomorrow morning, abi?”
“No. I’m going today. This afternoon. I want to get there in the evening and if possible by night.”
“Ha! I don’t know about this one o. I’m not sure if it’s a good idea.”
“Shut up and come and help me pack. I know what I’m doing. Your brother needs to be taught a lot of sense. And if he’s under any influence, I intend to break that influence and break that witch too if I have to. I must see how he’s doing today and that’s that.”
“Okay, ma” Dorcas responded in resignation.
“I don’t have to tell you to take care of yourself and watch the shop while I’m away. And I must not hear any nonsense about any stupid boy loitering around. Do you hear me?
“Good. Now that the question is over, let me go and get ready. By the time I’m done with that witch, both her and Samson won’t know what hit them!” She declared.
Of that, Dorcas had no doubt whatsoever.
You can keep up with the story of the lady with two husbands by clicking and liking the link: http://www.facebook.com/Andrea.ThePolyandrist.
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