I debate his question in my mind for a while. Is it wise for me to invite two people I barely know to my house?
“Sure!” I replied. “I must warn you though that we won’t eat rice today. Do you or your dad have any allergies I should know about?”
“My dad hates boiled eggs but as far as I know, he’s not allergic to them”
“Okay. So noted. What about you?”
“I have a slight reaction to peanuts”
“Alright. I have to make a quick phone call. Could you tell your dad what we’ve decided? Thanks. I’ll be back soon”
So my dad and I drove to Ebube’s house, about 3 streets away. While I was driving, it occurred to me how odd this was. First, I found the girl I’d dedicated 10 months of my thoughts towards, she starts crying in church, my dad comforts her, she invites us over to her house. How well do I know her?
3 chance sightings does not any kind of relationship make. For all I knew, she could be planning to drug us and use us for nefarious purposes.
Then we alight at her house, a duplex and she gives me a saucy grin like she knew what I’d been thinking. And thus, reservations cast aside, I watch her open my dad’s car door and lead him inside, her arms around his shoulders, his around her waist. What had really happened in that church?
David, my little brother, had asked to spend the afternoon with a friend of his who lived on the next street. I had agreed. Although the older man looked like a nicer version of Father Christmas and the younger one looked in turns perplexed and cute, I wasn’t about to be alone with them for a very long time. Better safe than sorry.
We get into the house. I switch on the lights and the fans then I go to the freezer and take out some of the chin-chin I’d made for the house and put it in a large glass bowl, being careful not to mistake it for the one I’d kept aside for my brother, an unopened tin of Danish cookies, a bowl of cashews and almonds, three apples cut and arranged attractively with a huge dab of peanut butter on the side (which was to have been my afternoon lunch), some of the cake Amara generously gives me every time, freshly squeezed pineapple and watermelon juices and some bottles of yoghurt with accompanying glasses.
The young man comes to help me, exclaiming as I’d expected that it was all too much for a simple snack.
Maybe it is, but very soon, the guest list will increase by two and I like to be prepared.
I thank him as he helps me take everything to the living room and I go to the freezer to bring out the catfish peppersoup and the egusi to thaw.
Then I come into the living room and I immediately engage the older man in conversation, making sure not to leave the son out of it. We discuss the weather, the state of Nigerian roads, recent government policies and I forget to look at the clock and wonder why my surprise guests are not yet here.
When the clock strikes 2:30pm, I realize we’ve been talking for almost 2 hours, the top batch of the Danish cookies has been halved, the cashews and almonds have finished, there’s hardly any chin chin left, the watermelon juice has been drained as has the yoghurt, we’ve snacked on and finished the apples and peanut butter and the crumbs of the cake mock me.
So, I make my excuses and I go into the kitchen to start microwaving the peppersoup.
The afternoon passed so quickly. When I saw all the snacks she had set out, I had expected that we’d end up not eating most of it and that she might be trying to lull us to sleep. Not so. When she entered the sitting room, I noticed with fascination that she also loved spreading peanut butter on apples. Then we talked, and she made my father laugh and eat more than I’d seen him eat in months. Before I knew it, we’d packed away most of the food and I was falling further in like than I’d expected to. Strangely, the conversation had not veered into the personal at all.
Then, she stood up to take the empty bowls, bottles and plates to the kitchen, I followed her, carrying some of it. We got to the kitchen, dropped it and she smiled and thanked me. I was just about to ask about her personal life when the doorbell rang.
“Could you help me get that?” she asked.
“Sure”. I reply. Then I open the door to the last person I’d expected to see.
http://chynanu.wordpress.com/2016/03/09/pendulum-11/ – the groundbreaking final episode of Pendulum. It ended the way I wanted it to!
http://temitopeog.wordpress.com/2014/09/15/aunty-respect-is-overrated/ – My thoughts exactly.
The Destiny Trust.
As lifted from their website (http://thedestinytrust.org):
“We give children the chance to be the best they can be; to pursue purpose and lifelong happiness no matter the circumstances of their birth.”
With services ranging from educational and self- empowerment, rehabilitation and care, family empowerment and emergency shelter, they have impacted the lives of over 650 people in Nigeria.
To get involved, please visit their website – Http://thedestinytrust.org
P.S- Today is Chike’s birthday (March 10th) I’m collecting prayers and well wishes for him. Please drop some. Even if you read this afterwards, please drop a prayer. Thank you.
P. S. 2- This post was to have been posted yesterday but I had data issues, culinary responsibilities (4 soups to make) and a 20 minute tussle with Nonso over the remote control for the TV. So, I’ll post tomorrow.