Lara and Titi are standing beside Titi’s fiance’s car in the church driveway, gisting. A young man exits the church and approaches them.
“Hello again ladies.”
“Hello Pastor” They both chorus.
“Sister Titi I came out for you to properly introduce your friend.”
“My mistake, pastor meet my very good friend Lara, Lara Mathews. Lara, pastor Smith Asante, associate pastor.” Titi does the introductions with a speculative smile. They both shake hands.
“Nice meeting you” Lara said.
“My pleasure.” He said. “Sister Lara do you have a contact card with you? He asked.
She hesitates “Sure” she hands him her business card, he studies it.
“It says here you are a multilingual translator, beautiful. That gives you and I more to talk about. I will call you. Ladies, excuse me, I have another meeting I should be at.” He said.
“Ok” Lara said.
“Ok pastor, take care pastor.” Titi said.
He walks away. When he is out of earshot Lara turns to Titi.
“What was that about?”
“I don’t know, pastor came to introduce himself.” Titi replied.
“Why?” Lara drawls out.
“I don’t know, but its a good development. Let me gist you more about him, he works with DPR, and in case you didn’t guess he is Ghanian, expatriate salary!” Titi explains excitedly “and he is very single and very hot!”
Lara laughs softly “Titi you never seem to amaze me the way you can reduce a man to his bank balance, his looks and availability. Anyways, Ik and Fabian are coming out. Remember; no matchmaking.”
“Off course, I’ll just let things happen naturally.” Titi promises in a falsely contrite voice.
“He is asking for your number, should I give him?”
“Nope. Change the topic.”
They change the topic as the men get closer.
Later in the evening.
Ireti walks into her mom’s room. Lara looks up from the work she has spread out on the table. She gets up and joins her daughter on the bed.
“Have you packed your school bag, cross checked your homework? She asked.
“Yes and yes. I’m ready for tomorrow.” Ireti replied. A younger version of Lara in looks, speech and mannerisms.
“So how was your weekend, how is grandma? Give me all the juicy details.”
“Grandma is fine, the weekend was same as usual. The high point was seeing uncle Tunde. Grandma gave me an envelope to give you.” Ireti hands Lara an envelope from her pajamas pocket. Lara opens it, while Ireti watches, reads through the letter, hisses, tucks the letter back in the envelope and tosses it on the table.
“What does it say?” Ireti asked curiously.
“Nothing for you to worry about.” Lara replied.
“Is it from my dad?”
“Yes it is.”
“Sweetie its nothing for you to be bothered about.”
“Is it about him wanting me to visit?”
“Yes,” Lara drawls out. “And who told you about that?”
“He called me through Grandma’s phone, he told me. He said he will call and speak with you.”
“Ok.” Lara gets up and returns to the table and her work, pushing the offending envelope away.
“Mom” Ireti drawls out.
“Yes baby, give me a second let me proofread this last paragraph.”
“Can I go?”
“May I go?” Lara corrects gently. “And no you may not. We talked about this before.”
“But I’m almost ten years old, I’m a big girl. You said when I’m older.”
“Yes, but ten years is still very young.”
“Ireti if you are going to be naughty I will send you to your room for the rest of the evening.” Lara snapped.
“Ok.” Ireti mimics zipping her lips. “Can I change the TV channel?” She asked
“Sure, but if its a loud program you have to go to the sitting room.”
“I’ll reduce the volume.” Ireti surfs through and settles on a cartoon.
“I’ve been expecting your call.” Lara said as she answered the call.
“Yea, I decided to wait a day after you got the letter before calling.” Femi said over the phone.
“You know what my answer will be.” Lara replied tiredly.
“Lara its been two years since I’ve seen my daughter.” Femi protested softly.
“So come see her. Come to Nigeria.”
“You know I’m busy.”
“If you are that busy, there’s no point she coming over.”
“I will make out time for her.”
“No, capital No.”
“She’s my daughter too!”
“Don’t even go there, don’t even think it! She is my daughter, yours only biologically.” Lara replied heatedly.
“I could sue you for joint custody…..”
“And I will make sure you and your mother never see Ireti again till she is eighteen.”
“Whew, Lara, chill.”
“Ireti is not traveling out of this country without me till she is an adult, and never, ever threaten me. Goodnight Femi.” Lara disconnects the call.
“Lara, where are you, can you do lunch now?” Chichi asked excitedly over the phone.
“Ok, Titi is on her way, let’s meet at my boutique. I have big news.”
“I can tell. Give me a hint?”
“Ok, on my way.” Lara dashes to the room to check her appearance and to pickup her purse. As she is about to lock the door her phone rings, she glances at the screen, an unregistered number. She ignores the call and locks up. The call comes in again as she is about to drive out, she decides to take the call.
“Hello?” She answers in a questioning way.
“Yea my name is Smith Asante, calling for Lara Mathews.”