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”
“Hello” I responded.
“Am I speaking with Miriam Ikoku?” He asked.
“Yes, this is her, Miriam Okoro now.”
“I’m sorry, my bad. Susan told me you’re married now, I should have asked for your married name.” He apologised sincerely.
“It’s fine, I understand. I have girlfriends who still refer to me by my maiden name.”
“I’m relieved I’m not the only one who’s made such an error. This is Emeka, Susan gave me your number.”
“Hi Emeka, how are you?”
“I’m very well, and you?”
“Great. So, I’m back in town for a few weeks and I thought I’ll look you up.”
“So how have you been, I heard you lost your husband about a year ago, accept my condolences.”
‘Thank you, God has been faithful.”
“You have kids, how many?”
“Two; Daniel is seven and Ada is two.”
“And you? Are you married?”
“Unfortunately, no. so how have you been coping?” He tried to change the subject back to me.
“Why haven’t you married yet?” I brought the discussion back to him. Since my husbands’ death, I had gotten weary of talking about ‘poor lil me’ . People need to give me a break and talk about something else.
He sighed. “Three years ago, I was engaged, she died. Road accident.” He replied quietly.
Immediately I felt bad for prying. He clearly wasn’t over it from the tone of his voice. “I’m sorry for your loss.” I whispered. Wait a minute, why were we whispering? I sat up in bed, we needed to ‘re-formalise’ (if there was a word like that) the discussion.
“It’s fine. Was a long time ago.”
“Ok. So, you just visiting, or?”
“I’m just visiting, been a while I’ve seen my folks.”
‘It’s really been a while. Twelve years?”
“Yeah. You have a good memory.” He chuckled. “Although my folks visited a few times.”
“I would love to see you Miriam, can I come visit you, it will give me a chance to see the city further.”
Huh? Come and visit me, why? After ‘uncle Pius’ visit, I’ve been wary of men visiting me at home. “Tell you what, I’m bringing my kids over to their grand-parents tomorrow, you can pop over then.” I quickly improvised, ignoring his offer to visit.
“Ok, that should work.” He replied after a while. “So, I guess I’ll see you tomorrow?”
“Yeah, sure.” I agreed. Daniel and Ada were always up for a trip to their grand-parent’s.
The next day, I doubt Daniel and Ada heard anything that was said in Sunday school. It had actually been a while since we had gone over to my parents, recently, it had been my parents coming over to ours. We drove straight over from church, they could barely contain their excitement, and my parents spoil them rotten.
Amebo Susan, immediately she saw us began to grin. She took in my dress and her grin widened.
“What?” I asked her.
“Nothing.” She replied in false innocence.
“Yeah right.” I muttered, passing her to go into the kitchen and help with lunch preparations.
“I like your dress.” She said following me.
“I like it too. I replied sarcastically.
She laughed. “Why are you grouchy?”
I ignored her.
“Aren’t you too old to be using your parents’ house as a cover to check out a guy?”
“Yes nau! He called you yesterday, and today, you’re here. Dragging my lovely neice and nephew along as a cover for your meeting.” She laughed longer.
Please can someone help with where I can return my younger sister!
Our doorbell rang. “Uuhhh!” She shivered excitedly. “Is that him?” She ran out of the kitchen to get the door. She returned a while later even more excited than when she left.
“He’s here!” She announced excitedly. She loosened the apron from behind. “Shoo! You can go.” She shooed me out of the kitchen.
I dashed to the bathroom and quickly looked myself over, passable. I wasn’t dressing up for nobody! I made my way to the siting room, I could hear their voices before I got there, 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……