“What are you doing here?” Eddie finally found his voice.
“I spend so much time in the kitchen so I guess i should be the one asking.”
Senami replied with an awkward smile. “Besides, I came to clean up the dishes mama used. You know I don’t like keeping them till the next day because of cockroaches and rats.”
“Erm… I guess you’re right.” Eddie replied with a sigh. “I’ll leave you to it then. I’m off to my room.”
He started to leave the kitchen but he paused beside Senami by the doorway.
“About everything that’s happening right now…” He started with a slight stutter but then paused.
“I understand, Eddie.” Senami replied with a smile.
Eddie nodded and left the kitchen. Senami stood for a while longer as she willed her heart to stop beating. She exhaled as she went to clean up and do all she had to do in the kitchen. She then turned off the lights as she went to bed. When she got to her room, she lay on the bed and stared into space for a while. She then picked up her phone to make sure she didn’t have any missed call. She had missed five calls and all the calls were from one person. It was this guy in her church that had taken so much interest in her. She had started to find him interesting and she actually found she enjoyed his calls and company. If she had seen his missed calls the night before, she would have called back but on this night, she didn’t feel like talking to him. It’s funny how much could change in twenty four hours she thought to herself. The coming days promised to be crazy she knew so she had to brace herself for it. Her plan was to stay away from Sam’s mother as much as possible and get as close to Eddie as much as she could. That was the plan after all. She dreaded the coming days and she looked forward to it at the same time. She felt this tingling sensation on her inside that she was already strangely getting used to. She had had those feelings so many times before but it kicked harder tonight than it ever had. She mouthed his name as she held her pillow tight and curled into a ball.
Somewhere in the distance, thunder struck.
Contrary to what everyone expected, that week went by with no serious event. Everyone seemed to have a valid reason to keep away from Sam’s mother. Especially Sam. He only spent two nights at home that week and when he did come home, he came in very late and left very early. He kept on saying that it was a very busy week without actually complaining. Andrea saw through it all but she never said a word. She shrugged through it all like it was a normal occurrence. She also seemed to be busy that week as she seemed to be chasing one deadline or the other. In spite of it all, she had to admit she liked the way Eddie played his part. Although she was shocked on Tuesday morning when Senami had dressed up to step out of the house with Eddie as he left for work. She had called him after to ask what he was doing and he had explained that he needed to do it to get her away from the house so as to keep some considerable distance between her and Sam’s mother. And who knows, it would be nice for my fiancee to get around, he had joked. Andrea had not found it the least funny.
On the Sunday which marked a week since the arrival of Sam’s mother; Andrea, Sam, Eddie and Senami were seated at the dining table that morning having breakfast as they spoke in hushed tones. They were all dressed, and for obvious reasons they had all decided to go to church that day.
“When’s mama going, Sam?” Andrea asked in a voice barely audible enough for all at the table.
“I don’t know.” Sam responded with a grunt.
“You know that’s not good enough.”
“What do you want me to say, Andrea? I’ve not spoken to her.”
“She’s been here for a week. You ought to.”
“Well, I’ve been busy.”
“Of course you’ve been busy… busy keeping away from her. You have to make her understand that she can only be here for another week. We can’t go on like this.”
“You give me a little time and I’ll iron this out.”
“Then today is perfect. While we all head to church, you can wait behind and have a lovely mother and son talk with her. You ain’t gonna burn if you don’t go to church today.”
Sam glared at her and was about to say something when they heard the un-mistaken sound of a door shut upstairs. They all started to rush their meal.
“Good morning, my children.” Sam’s mother greeted when she got downstairs.
“Good morning, mama.” They all chorused.
“Come and join us, ma.” Andrea said.
“I’m not hungry yet. I can see you’re all ready for church.” Sam’s mum said.
“Yes we are, ma.” Eddie replied.
“That’s very good.” The elderly lady replied as she sat on a chair. “Children of God should always go to church.”
The table was quiet for an awkward moment then Sam’s mother broke the silence. “I’d like to have a word with you, Sam.”
As if on cue, Andrea and Senami stood up simultaneously.
“No, no, no!” Sam’s mother exclaimed. “You don’t have to get up on my account. We can always talk in my room.”
“Not to worry, mama, we’re full anyway.” Senami replied.
“Besides, Sam’s been busy all week so it’ll be great for you to spend time with him, mama.” Andrea said as she packed the dishes with Senami.
“I have a call to make, please?” Eddie said as he pushed his chair back to get up and leave the table.
In a matter of seconds, it was just mother and son left at the table.
“So, what is that you wanted to talk to me about, mum.” Sam asked
“Samson, I need to ask you a question before I start. Do you now have another mother somewhere else?”
Sam rolled his eyes. “Of course not, mum. Why on earth would you ask something like that?”
“Because you’re treating me as a stranger, son.”
“How am I treating you as a stranger?”
They both kept quiet for a while as Andrea and Senami stepped out of the kitchen and both went upstairs. Sam’s mother didn’t say a word until she was sure she heard a door shut upstairs.
“I’m not stupid, you know? Even if the others in this house are avoiding me, should you, my own son, who I bore in my womb for nine months, be avoiding me too?” Sam’s mother said.
“Mum,I’m not avoiding you. You know I’ve been so busy. I thought you understood that. So much to do at work and so much pressure. I was actually planning to go to work from church to finish up on some stuffs I was doing. Please understand me, mum.”
“No problem. I’ve heard you. It’s all left to you. I wanted to…” She was cut off by Sam’s phone ringing on the table. Sam picked up the phone and looked at the caller ID. He threw his mum a quick glance then he picked the call.
“I’ll call you back, okay? Later.” He ended the call and said, “You were saying, ma?”
Sam’s mother smiled to herself and shook her head. “Men.” She muttered.
“What’s that about?” Sam asked.
“So you think I was born yesterday, son?” His mother replied with a grin.
“I’ll advice you to be very careful. I may not be very fond of this woman you married but it doesn’t mean I’ll condone irresponsibility.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about, ma.” Sam said trying to look clueless but only ended up sounding guilty.
“A word is enough for the wise.” The mother replied with an air of finality.
“So to my question; you’ve been married for…” She trailed off as Andrea, Eddie and Senami came downstairs as they prepared to leave for church.
“… I hope we can be back in time cos I have this show I really need to watch by noon.” Andrea was saying while Eddie simply smiled and Senami shook her head. She sometimes felt Andrea was just a lost cause. Her first time in church this year and all she was bothered about was some stupid show.
“We’re off to church now, ma.” Andrea announced.
“Is there something you need before we leave, ma?” Senami asked.
“I’m fine, my children.” Sam’s mother replied. “Remember to pray for me though.”
“We will, ma.” The three chorused. With Sam’s mother’s back to her, Andrea gave Sam a stern look to remind him of what he had to do and she made sure he caught it before she turned to leave.
“Go well, my children.” She turned to see them go.
Senami, Andrea and Eddie filed out of the door in that order as Eddie guided Andrea’s waist as she stepped through the door and he followed and shut the door after them.
When Sam’s mother turned to face him, he noticed her expression had turned a little dour and he wondered what could have just triggered it. Before he could ask her what was wrong, she fired him a question of her own.
“When will I start seeing my grandchildren?”
“Don’t err me. I didn’t want you to marry that girl but you have. All I can do is to pray for you now. Now that you’ve married her, when are we going to start seeing the fruits of your union?”
“Very soon, ma. we’re working on it.”
“In my one week here, I’ve not seen you do any work on it. You leave so early and you come back late or not show up at all. When you do show up, you lock yourself in your room and the cycle starts again the next day.”
“I promise you, ma, this time next year, a lot will have changed.”
“Look here my son, if you need my help in any way with this…”
Sam cut her off. “Please, let’s drop this, ma. I’m not interested in this talk. When we’re ready, babies will come.”
“You’re not ready?” The mother asked in a mocking tone. “What do you man by that? Do you know what you’re saying? What are you waiting for? You’re waiting for me to die before you’re finally ready, right?
Sam slammed his palm on the table rattling the cutlery in the process.
“I don’t like it when you talk like this!” Sam screamed. “I’ve told you babies will come when we’re ready for pete’s sakes. Let’s leave it at that.”
“I’ve heard you then.”
“So how’s Dorcas and her school?” Sam asked to cool the tempo and steer their conversation to safer grounds.
“You have her number. Call her.”
Sam rolled his eyes as he buried his head in his hands.
“I forbid you daughter!”
“But he’s the one I love. He’s the one I want to spend the rest of my life with, Papa!”
“He’s a nobody! A nobody! I’m giving you the chance to get married and end up with a prestigious family but you choose to end up with that…that… no do-good gangster. I raised you better than that. No way I’m allowing you waste away like that!”
“But papa!” Andrea tried to protest.
“You’ve been warned. My choice for you is that Herr Doochima’s boy. I won’t have this nonsense talk from you again!”
“Doesn’t my happiness count anymore, Papa? It’s my life, my happiness!”
“If you insist.” Mr Metzger said in german. “I hope you find that happiness without a cent of my money. Because if you defy me, I’ll cut you off.”
“One thousand bucks for your thought, dear?” Eddie asked Andrea while they were driving to Senami’s church.
“Huh? Sorry, what was that? Andrea said looking confused.
“I was asking you a question but you seemed so far away.” Eddie said.
“Really?” She asked looking at Senami and getting a nod in return.
“Sorry. Just thinking of some things. Don’t wanna bother you with that. So what were you asking?”
“I was asking if you really wanted to get back home on time to watch cable or you wanna go somewhere?” Eddie said.
“You have somewhere in mind?” Andrea asked.
“I could think of somewhere before the end of service today. Hoping the spirit will inspire me.” He replied with a smile and the ladies laughed.
“When that spirit tells you where we should go, kindly let me know.” Andrea said.
“Will do.” Eddie replied.
“Do you think Sam will really ask his mother when she’ll leave?” Senami asked.
“I expect him to. He had better. This has got to end.” Andrea said.
“I don’t expect him to to be honest.” Eddie said. “A miracle is all we need now and that’s what I’m going to the church to pray for. There’s always this bond between mother and son that is not easy to break that way. Trust me, I know. There’s no way on earth he’s going to ask his mother that question. I can bet my life on that. No way he’s doing it.”
“When are you travelling back, mum?”
“When are you travelling back.”
“Are you asking me to leave?” Sam’s mother felt like she had been stabbed.
“You know I’m not, mum. We’re big boys and girls here. We can take care of ourselves. But Dorcas is alone at home and I think she’ll need you there so she doesn’t fall into any mischief. That’s why I’m asking.” Sam tried to reason with her.
“No problem. I’ve heard you. Infact, I’ll go pack.”
“Wait, mum. You don’t have to go today.”
“Why? I came to check your well-being and I’m happy you’re fine and doing well. I can now leave.”
“I don’t like how you’re taking this. Okay, let’s do it like this. You can go next weekend. I need to shop for some stuffs that I can send to Dorcas and some stuffs for you too. Will that be fine by you?” Sam asked with a patronising smile.
Sam’s mother sighed and replied;
“Okay then. Next weekend.”
“Thank you, ma. Since that is settled, I guess I need to go out now.” Sam said.
“Before you go, I need to ask you another question.”
“What now, mum?”
“Do you sense anything funny going on between your wife and Eddie? They try to hide it but like I always tell you, I wasn’t born yesterday.”
“They’re just close friends, ma. Nothing more.”
“Really? Friends? I’ve seen the way they steal looks at each other. They think i don’t notice but I do.”
“Mum, there’s nothing between the two of them. They’re just close friends.”
“I’ve heard you. Just be careful. As for me, I’ll keep an eye on them this next one week i have left here. And that Senami is not even holding on to her fiance well.”
“Just leave them to their business, please.”
“I’ve heard you. But I know what I saw.” She got up from her chair. “I won’t just sit idly while that girl is cheating on you under this roof. Didn’t you see the way he held her hips when they were walking out the door?”
“I know you’ll want to defend them but you don’t know anything. I’m sure there something going on between those two and I’m going to prove it. Let me leave you to go where you want to go. I need to get upstairs now.” She left Sam at the table.
(Meanwhile, in Osogbo. The young girl peeked out the door. Looked left and right to make sure no one was around and when she was sure the coast was clear, the young guy rushed out of the house and walked quickly away. Unfortunately for both of them, just at that time, for some inexplicable reason, the nosy neighbour just happened to step out of her house at that exact moment. And she saw the young guy. She suddenly turned back in the house like she forgot something. She hoped she had at least enough credit on her phone to make the call she needed to.)
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