……Emeka was having a conversation with Daniel. I got to the living room door and stopped short in shock.
I was plunged into that day many years ago. Emeka had returned to Nigeria for a brief vacation and I had greeted him with the news that I had a new boyfriend; Kenechukwu. He had been disappointed for when he was leaving for school we had childishly promised to wait for each other. We had argued, then he had tried to convince me, and …….. Oh my God! It couldn’t be……
I did a mental comparison; the fair skin, the dark hair, slight dimple, ….. Oh my God! No! It couldn’t be. There must be another explanation for this. Ken had been light chocolate in complexion, and his mother was very fair. So, I hadn’t given a thought to it, but….. No! My mind must be playing games on me. This was like a mirage sighting on dry land. He looked up and caught and held my gaze. I snapped out of my reverie and smiled brightly at him, my smile masking all the tension and apprehension in my mind.
He returned my smile and got up slowly. “Hi Miriam, good to see you.”
“Same here Emeka. How are you?” I moved into the room. Daniel turned around and smiled at me, I smiled back. My smile concealing my inner turmoil.
“Where’s Ada?” I asked Daniel.
“She’s in grandma’s room, they are putting on make-up.” He made a gross face and I laughed genuinely. Daniel and Ada were typical boy and girl. While Dan liked all things masculine; sports, clothing, girls, etc, Ada liked all things feminine; from make-up, to clothes, to shoes. Lol! I had my work cut-out for me in the future.
Ada’s location worked perfectly for me, I needed Daniel out of the living room, I didn’t want anyone looking closely at he and Emeka and drawing undue conclusions.
“Go and stay with them and ensure she doesn’t stress grandma.” I said to him.
In my minds eyes, I saw those memes of African parents sending their kids on unnecessary errands to get rid of them. Lol, this was me now.
He went grudgingly. Bless his soul, Daniel was such a sweet child, very obedient and sensitive to my needs.
“The young man and I were just bonding. He’s a good boy, you did a fine job.” Emeka said after Daniel had left the living room.
“Thank you.” I replied sitting down in the sofa nearest to me. “So, what’s up, are you back for a holiday or finally?”
“I’m back for good. I’ve been feeling homesick, and I got a fantastic offer and I’m back!”
“That’s nice. I hope you don’t find this rude, I know you’ve told me what you do, but, I’ve forgotten.” I grimaced in apology.
“No worries. I’m a software programmer.”
“Oh, ok. Yes, rings a bell. Don’t mind me; old age.” I joked
He laughed out loud. “I remember your sense of humour.” He mused.
Susan chose that time to come into the living room. She practically snuck in as though hoping to catch us doing something sneaky, lol. No chance of that happening.
“Hi Emeka, can I get you refreshment? What would you have?” She said.
“I’m good, thanks.” He replied.
“Apologies, where’s my manners. We should get you a drink.” I joined her in persuading him.
“Ok.” He acquiesced.
“What would you like? We have soda, malt and some beer.” Susan offered.
“Soda is fine.”
“One soda coming up.” She flounced off, like really flounced off. Susan was such a drama queen, her theatrics knew no limits.
My dad joined us in the living room, and I left him and Emeka to gist manly stuff while I want in to conclude on the cooking before Susan gets experimental and something goes wrong. Not that it’s ever happened but there’s always a first time, and I didn’t want to have to deal with the kids having running stomachs, not to mention that we had a guest.
He left soon after the meal, and I dragged my family home, it had been a good visit, it was nice to see Emeka again, albeit unsettling but I refused to think about it. I promised the kids they could go over for the weekend at my parents soon and they were overjoyed. I was also happy about the visit. Them out of the house meant I could rest more, sleep a few more hours in the morning without them bouncing all over me. Other parents had difficulty waking their kids in the morning, I had my kids jumping over me at the crack of dawn. Lol.
Emeka tried to re-establish the friendship between us, but I refused. I wasn’t comfortable being around him. I didn’t want any funny issues to arise. Besides, I hadn’t processed the possibility of ‘that thought’. I was a fresh ‘widow’, wasn’t looking for a relationship, I wasn’t even sure I wanted a new relationship. Being single had its perks, I didn’t want to have to start again, begin dating again, yuck! I was past all that, to old, and I have baggage. I have kids. Anyways, not thinking about that. How can I be thinking about dating when I have bills to pay? Kids to cater for? Ah! No time.
It had been over a year since Ken died. The weekend the kids went to my parents, I seized the opportunity to clean out my room (more like cleaning out Ken’s stuff). It was a bittersweet cleansing ritual for me, I hadn’t removed or gone through any of Ken’s stuff since he passed. Couldn’t bring myself to then; too emotional.
I was down to his shoe boxes, Ken had a thing for shoes, and he had quite a lot of them. I opened each of them, mentally tallying up a list of people to gift them with when I found one that didn’t have any shoes in it, but held a lot of papers…….