What was discussed outside, I didn’t know and didn’t care. I was too relieved to have my children back. I busied myself with preparing them for bed, there were sleeping with me that night. I had asked Amaka to see to my mother-in-law and step-children, while my mother made dinner should anyone want some.
The kids were exhausted and promptly fell asleep. I joined the adults in the living room, they were mid-discussion. I came in when my father was telling them they had to leave the next day, that I was just managing to make ends meet and it would be unfair of my in-laws to burden me with their presence. I wanted to scream I wanted them gone immediately, but I was too tired to say anything. My parents left shortly after that and we all went to sleep.
The next day I called my boss and told her I was going to be slightly late. I made sure I drove them to the buspark. I paid their fare and waved them off, ensuring they were no last minute hitches that might necessitate them going back to my house. With a relieved sigh I went back to work. Hopefully by the time I returned home my life would be back to normal. Or the normal I had been plunged into since Ken’s death a year ago.
“Guess who I just ran into?” My sister Susan squealed into the phone. I had to move the phone away from my ear because she was so loud.
“I don’t know.” I replied dryly. I had just forced Daniel and Ada to have a siesta and I wanted to follow suit.
“Guess.” She prompted.
“No Susan, I can’t. I’m tired, your nephew and niece have been running me ragged all day!” it was a Saturday, and the kids hadn’t given me a moment of peace all day.
She laughed. “How are my darlings?” She asked fondly.
“Terrorizing their mother! I almost feel sorry for Amaka if this is what she has to contend with every day.”
She laughed again and I yawned. I was tired out. Doing chores with over-energetic children underfoot was extremely tiring.
“Anyways, guess who I ran into today?”
“Emeka who?” I racked my brain for any Emeka I knew and came up empty.
“Emeka your secondary school sweetheart!”
Huh! Who was she talking about? Emeka…. Oh! Emeka! My first boyfriend, I remembered him. He had left for the States to further his studies immediately after secondary school to further his education; he hadn’t been back in the country since then as far as I knew. “Oh, you saw him where?”
“At his parents, he’s back in town.” His parents and mine were neighbors.
“Oh, how nice.”
She chuckled. “He recognized me immediately, well, I did too and he asked of you.”
“That’s natural.” Emeka and I dated in Secondary school, we were also neighbors so it was natural that he ask of me.
‘He’s so fine!” Susan went on as though I hadn’t spoken.
I rolled my eyes despite we were on the phone and she couldn’t see me. Everyone was ‘so fine’ for Susan.
“Anyways, I gave him your number.”
“I’m sure.” I mumbled dryly. I wouldn’t be surprised if Susan had also brought him up to speed on the happenings since he’d left town.
‘…And he said he’ll call you. So I just thought to give you a heads-up.”
“You’re so kind.” I replied sarcastically.
“Lol sis! Stop being such a fuddy-duddy, you’re just twenty-nine!”
Where was she going with this? “What does that have to do with anything?” I asked her.
“You sound older and older every time I speak with you. Lighten-up! Ever since….”
I knew what she had been about to say. “Yeah, ever since Ken died, I’ve changed, I know. Susan, Ken’s death opened up my eyes, opened me to reality, you and I know all the truths that have been unraveled with his death, and who knows what else is out there that I’m not yet aware of, so, excuse me if I’m a lot less excited than I was!”
That was a rant, a full blown rant, but I just felt like I needed to let off steam.
“Yeah sis, I know. But I want you to be happy, to live again. I feel your pain, but joining you in the doldrums won’t help you. So, I remain your entertainment. I have a date, which I need to prepare for; I just wanted to tell you Emeka will be calling you, so you aren’t caught unawares.”
“You have a date, who with?”
“Really Susan, I’m impressed, you’ve been going with Nobert for a while now.” I teased. Susan had short attention span with guys, with most everything except fashion and cosmetics, that’s why she was a successful freelance makeup artist and fashion stylist.
“I like him, I really do.” She giggled.
“Oh my stars! Is my sister in love?” I teased.
She giggled some more. “No Miriam, not yet. I like him a lot but we aren’t there yet.” She said seriously.
“Yeah, early days. So, I’ve got to run, we’re hanging out with his friends, and I want to look my best.”
“I trust you to knock them out.”
“Later sis. Love you. Give the kids my love.”
“Have fun.” I lay back on the bed and attempted to sleep.
I loved Susan to the heavens and beyond. She was so free-spirited; she brought sunshine into a room by stepping into it. My parents had her when I was seven, according to my mom, she and dad had agreed on two kids, my brother and I and had actually closed the birthing door when Susan happened.
Susan had been such a delightful child we all had spoilt her silly, she was a good selfless person, and very talented too. I doubt there was an art she couldn’t master.
My ringing phone startled me out of my reverie, an unregistered number. I knew instinctively it was Emeka. This was confirmed when I answered the call and heard a familiar male voice say; “Hello”