(An edited & longer version. Signed book)
✍️ Sha Ron ✍️
I looked up at my aunt slowly and I wished the ground would just split into two parts and swallow me up, “Aunty” I answered slowly.
She came over and checked my hand, “thank God it’s not fatal, let’s get lunch ready, your uncle must be hungry and you know how Nancy can be when she wants food too”
Oh my… Thank goodness! I released a breath I didn’t remember withholding through my lips and swallowed hard, what should I do? Go for Thanksgiving or Testimony?
Jen, snap out of it and take lunch to the dining table! My head commanded and I followed the instruction immediately.
Lunch wasn’t as fun as it used to be. I didn’t see Chris around.
Lisa found it hard to eat because she felt very nervous and uncomfortable with the prying looks everyone gave her. I wasn’t left out on sending her ‘who the heck are you’ look.
I had to settle with feeding Nancy, I can’t even lift a spoon to my mouth. I totally lost my appetite and the food I just cooked looked sore to my eyes.
“Lisa, you don’t have to feel uncomfortable here, this is as well as your home now, I don’t want you to feel otherwise, okay?” My aunt said out of pity for her.
She nodded and forced herself to eat more, but I saw her fingers shaking when she clutched the spoon tightly, I felt sorry for her though I’m jealous that she’s a girl in Chris’s life.
My heart tightened when I thought about the fact that she might remain there forever. Isn’t it better? Anyways, Chris and I aren’t supposed to be together no matter what, this is a good way to end our foolish relationship.
I managed to eat a little to avoid my uncle and his wife looking at me as if they were spying on me. I cleared the table when everyone had eaten to their contentment and went inside my room.
I curled myself on my bed and wetted my pillow with tears, how could he do that to me? After all the promises and everything we shared, how am I supposed to be okay again? He should have told me that he’s done chasing the winds.
This simply means he has a girlfriend and he lied to me that he has only ex’s and he took advantage of my feelings for him, how could he do that? Who knows if I’m pregnant already? I questioned myself again.
Why do I still feel something for him after all I had witnessed today? How can my heart still yearn for him? Why do I still want him? Am I cursed? What should I do now?
I buried my face in my pillows and cried my eyes out silently, when I heard the door click open, that’s when I knew I didn’t close my door and I had to look for a way to wipe my face and comport myself, it seems all the inhabitants of this house doesn’t know how to knock.
“Sister Jennifer, are you crying too?”
That’s exactly who it should be! This little girl doesn’t have a single manner and I guess I will be forced to beat the living hell out of her before I leave this house.
“What do you want now?!” This is the first time I’m raising my voice at her and I don’t like it though she deserves it.
“My… I… I just want to stay with you…mom said she wants to talk with Dad” she mumbled, holding her lower lip and looking down on the floor.
“Come, baby… I’m sorry, okay?” I lifted her to the bed, it’s even better to use her and distract myself from weeping all day.
She warbled on and on and I smiled and gave her a high five on everything she said, that helped until I lifted my face to see him standing on the doorway, my eyes watered.
Heaven knows I tried so hard to hold the tears back but I remember vividly our first time being intimate… he’s my first love after all.
“Nancy, come here” he called his younger sister, she ran to him at once while I bent my head between my knees to hide my tearful eyes.
He sent her away by telling her to go and watch her favorite station on the television. She ran off immediately when he told her that a cartoon network was airing.
He locked the door before he came to sit with me on the bed, “Jenny?” He called softly and tried to touch me but I swatted his hand away.
“Please, just go, I don’t want to talk now” I said in a shaky voice. The funny thing is that my heart doesn’t want him to go, I just wish I could turn back the hands of time.
“You have to hear me out first, I…”
“Can you please leave me alone?! I told you I don’t want to talk and I don’t want to hear about it, do you have a problem hearing or what?!!” I looked up at his face and tears flooded my eyes, I couldn’t keep my tears in check.
“Jenny, I’m very sorry that this made you cry, it’s not what you actually think…”
“Go to hell with whatever you think I should be thinking it is! I don’t care anymore, after all, we had only be sinning and I just feel sad I’m the only one that’s been punished by God now!!”
“Jen, you are shouting, can you please calm down and listen to me?” He pleaded holding my hand, I threw punches at his chest angrily but he still caught my hands and held them tight.
“Just leave me alone and go to hell, do you want to tell me another lie?!” I struggled to free my hands from his hold.
“You don’t even trust me, what is love without trust?” He said close to my ear and freed my hands, he stood up reluctantly from the bed, shook his head in disbelief and left my room.
I think he did the right thing because I was at the verge of shouting and we would have to explain ourselves to his parents if eventually I do that.
I went to the door and locked it, I went inside my bathroom and sobbed, “he’s talking about trust, what relationship is built on lies? He should think of a better excuse to make so he would go and meet his new wife because this very one is cheap”
I went back into my bedroom and brought out the phone my uncle bought for me out of my drawer where I had left it ever since the night it was given to me, I switched it on.
I waited for a while for it to boot and refresh before I went through the phone book to search for my mother’s number. I dialed it and waited for her to pick it up because it rang.
“Hello! Onye?” My mother’s voice came in after some time, she will never depart from her dialect.
“Mama, it’s me, Jennifer,” I said, making my voice as bright as possible. I don’t want too many questions.
“Ah! Ugomma m, Omalicha nwa mama ya! How’s my brother doing? My daughter oh, I thought you have forgotten your mother because of sweet city life” she cheered, sweet city life indeed.
“Mama! Everyone is fine, how’s Papa and Nnanna?” I asked after my father and his younger brother’s welfare, Nnanna is the last child of my father’s parents, he lives with us.
“We are fine too, I called my brother many times so I could talk with you, but he keeps finding excuses to avoid us talking and the last time he said he bought you a phone” she said seriously this time.
“Yes, I’m actually speaking with you through the phone he bought for me, I miss you Mama” I told her.
“I miss you too, asa nwa m! I hope you are doing well?” She said in a low voice as I heard other voices and I imagined my father trying to snatch the phone from her when he realized she’s talking with me.
“I am alright, I… I want to come back home and I don’t know how my uncle is going to take it. Can you please call him and tell him that you would want me to come home” I said, biting my tongue.
“Ah ah! O ya ka iji nwayo ekwu! I miss you over here and I was already thinking of an excuse to give him so you would come back, I will do just that, but…why don’t you want to go directly to him and express yourself? Onwe ihe mere? What happened?” She asked worriedly.
“Mama, nothing happened. I just want to come home and I don’t know if he will accept if I have no tangible reason, he listens better to you” I said sharply.
“Mmm… okay, I will talk to him about it and I will be waiting for you here, your father wants to talk to you” She said in a final tone.
I knew my father must be there, he cleared his throat first but he didn’t say anything and I had to do the right thing, “good evening, Papa”
“Adanna ya, kedu ka imere? How are you doing and how’s your uncle and his family?” My father asked.
“I’m very fine and everyone else is doing just fine” I replied making sure my voice is as cheerful as ever.
“Okwa oto onwedunu onye le-acho ghu ofu?” He asked with our language, I smiled at that. I have really missed my hometown so much but am going to miss this place even more when I leave. Will I ever get over it?
“No, I’m perfectly normal, Papa. No one looked for my trouble” I assured him, a smile played on my lips but my heart hurt and I wonder how I was able to control my emotions, I must be growing stronger.
“I heard you saying that you are coming back, when exactly is it so that I will cook your favorite food for you? I’m the only one that knows how to do that, your mother doesn’t cook it well, so tell me”
“Asili nwoke! You haven’t finished the one you cooked since last week and you are talking about cooking another one, you think I will allow you to waste another foodstuff here!!” My mother’s voice vibrated on the phone.
Now, I realize how much I miss them. I always admire my parents’ kind of love. At their age, they understand each other and behave as if they just got married yesterday.
People might think it’s kinda old school love or local, but I can’t remember seeing them arguing in a harsh tone and neither have I heard that my mother or father did anything without informing the other.
It must be Barbie dreams if I think I will find love built on trust, respect and care like my parents these days but I wish to have such love. I didn’t even imagine in my weirdest dreams that my heart is going to feel something for anyone, but it did and from the very beginning, I knew it found the wrong person and I pray it heals.
I feel sad and am angry with Chris for what’s happening but I still want to believe him, I want so much to listen to him and accept whatever he’s saying because my heart yearns for him.
This is really going to be hard for me but I want to make use of this opportunity and escape more hurt in the future, I hope he understands and if he doesn’t, what do I care? Jen, you really care! My head reprimanded.
“Jennifer! Are you still there?!!”
OMG! I have already forgotten I was on the phone.
“Papa, when I talk to uncle about it, I will get back to you, my regards to everyone” I said and disconnected the line hastily.
I stared at the phone for a while and I remembered the night it was given to me, I’m not sure I will be able to handle this, I threw the phone on the bed, took a sweater and walked outside.
Luckily, there’s no one at the parlour and it’s already getting dark when I went outside the house. I told Musa that I wanted to go outside the gate. He asked too many questions but he opened it anyway.