Jo heard the click sound made by the door when it is closed. She need not turn to know who just entered her room. She was all wrapped in duvet from her neck down to her toes with her back turned to the door leading into her room.
‘What is wrong, Johanna?’ Her mum’s voice made her confirm her earlier assertion and the sudden depression on one part of her bed suggested her mum was sitting behind her. Jo didn’t change position nor did she raise her gaze to look up at her mum whose pair of brown eyes appeared to be staring down at her.
‘Nothing.’ Jo replied keeping her voice as low and as depressing as possible. She actually was so depressed. She got rejected by Marcus. He made it known to her on their way home when they left Idris at the hospital that whatever they had in the past should be buried and forgotten when she tried to bring up seeing him in the hospital with some new girl. She felt pathetic when he said that.
‘Why don’t you sit up and talk to me?’ Ebiere persuaded patting Jo slowly on the back.
Jo sat up after laying mute for a while, her legs stretched with the duvet covering the lower part of her body from the waist.
‘I don’t know what to think but you, coming to my room and acting all worried about me like you sort of care is kind of creepy. Like when was the last time you did that? Two years ago? Three years ago? Oh, my bad,..’ She gasped, holding her chest sarcastically as she looked at her mum in the eye. ‘You never did! ‘ Jo said in some sort of accusing tone. It was evident she was weighing her anger on her mum.
Ebiere accepted Jo’s accusation by smiling. Smiling at her daughter’s way of approaching whatever kept her depressed in bed.
‘You should talk to me.’ She said simply ignoring her daughter’s castigation.
Her mum’s offer was tempting. So tempting Jo wanted to let it all out that moment but she wasn’t letting her desperation cloud her judgement.
What if this was the only chance she has to let her mum know how she actually feels?
‘Oh, Great. Tell you about it when it’s not like you are really concerned or anything? It’s pretty obvious I’d tell you this minute and you’d be busy planning your trip to China tomorrow morning the next minute forgetting about whatever I tell you this moment. You don’t have to act like you are worried about me. This is how I’d been living living my life all these years and it’s not like anything is going to change.’ Jo spewed out with no regret whatsoever.
‘Johanna, I’m not leaving you again in the name of business trips. Whatever business I’d be doing would be right here with you my dear. I’m sorry about not being a good mother to you in the past. I had my reasons, yes but you don’t have to be a victim of whatever decision I made. I’m going to set things right between us. All I need is your help and support.’ Ebiere’s eyes pleaded as she grapped Jo’s fingers curling it around hers.Her mum’s declaration warmed her heart.
She was glad she would come back from work from now on with the assurance that her mum would be home waiting for her after which they’d have series of female chitchats.
‘Is that a promise?’ Jo asked ensuring she wasn’t daydreaming as she tightened her grip on her mum’s palm.
‘I promise.’ Ebiere smiled up at her daughter. Jo sighed relievingly with a happy smile on her lips
‘Okay, so what’s that big thing that hit someone as strong as you like that?’ Ebiere changed the topic as she adjusted herself on the bed curling up her legs in some monk-sitting position.
‘If I tell you what it actually is, you might just see me as pathetic and hopeless.’ Jo said not sure whether it’s a good idea letting her mum know about her unquenchable love for Marcus.
‘And why would I do that?’ Ebiere spread her hands to complement her rhetorical question. ‘Is this about some guys?’ She asked raising her eyebrow excitedly.
‘As long as it doesn’t involve you chasing some guys which is rather too impossibe to be a reality anyway judging by how gorgeous you’ve grown to be then I’m all ears. Tell me about those male doctors who are swooning over you giving you no rest of mind and don’t exempt the consultants too.’ Ebiere propped her chin with her palm as she looked at Jo intently with undivided attention.
Hearing her mum say that about chasing some guys, she changed her mind about telling her the truth. She might just misinterprete her love for Marcus which might end up ruining the mother-daughter relationship they are trying to rebuild from the ground.
‘Never mind Mum, it’s…’ She tried to say but her mum cut in.
‘Look at me sweetheart,’ Her mum started, releasing her palms from her chin and folding it on her knees.
‘Guys would fight over you. It’s expected since you are this pretty but whatever the case may be, you don’t have to think about that too much. It’s not worth keeping you in bed like that. Just make sure you don’t make the mistake of leading someone you don’t love on for whatever reason. Trust me when I say I know exactly what the consequences of that is.’ Ebiere said and watched how attentive Jo was. It appeared she had been craving for this much attention from her all these while.
Jo flung her arms around her mum’s neck abruptly while she knelt. Ebiere was stunned by the sudden show of emotion but got over it after a while and she patted Jo’s back while the latter still clung to her neck mummuring;
‘Please, don’t ever leave me here again. I need you now more than ever…’
It was bad enough Tori had to leave Tobi’s mourning family after much persuasion on Tobi’s part for ‘home’ (if it is even possible to call it that anyway) to meet Angry Cleo waiting to complain about how Tori’s stuff doesn’t allow ‘free-flow of movement’ in the sitting room or is it how Tori’s shadow on the couch scares her when she wants to go to the kitchen in the night?
But what was worse is Tori waking up this morning to worry about what to do with her grandmother who chose not listening to her as a hobby. Tori got home late and it wasn’t possible to see her grandma. She had called and told her they’d see the next morning.
Wondering who Cleo is, right?
Cleopatra was Janice’s supposed friend. The one who stays in the room Janice asked Tori to stay for the meantime with the assurance that she’d let the owner know about Tori’s stay which ended up being false.
Janice never really told Cleo about Tori.
Cleo had appeared in the house with all her things a week ago to find a new occupant in her room. She had flared up threatening to hold Janice responsible for any ‘missing thing’ in her ‘almost empty’ room. Tori had moved into Janice’s room after Cleo’s outburst but not fully because Korede comes once in a while, and Tori sleeps on the couch in the sitting room whenever he does.
Steering clear of Cleo did not stop Cleo from nagging and complaining about Tori’s presence in the house. An aggression transfer method Tori learnt was because she got sent out of her boyfriend’s house after the duo broke up. Tori wondered why she really had to be her victim then.
What Cleo did yesternight was what made Tori contemplate deeply on accepting Tobi’s offer of moving back into his house which she knows is a bad idea but was better than putting up with Cleo.
Tori had got home late in the night only to find the door locked. After knocking and waiting for Cleo to open the door which she refused to for something close to an hour since Janice’s was on call and Cleo was the only one home, Tori had called Janice on phone to explain the situations of things to her. Janice had in turn called Cleo which was why Cleo opened the door minutes later without uttering any word of apology making Tori get pissed the more.
Why was she expecting an apology anyway when it was clear she did it intentionally?
Tori knew she would been in her own place if she hadn’t spent that much on Tobi’s birthday gifts but amazingly she didn’t regret her action. A part of her told her it was worth it.
Tori rose from Janice’s bed and stopped pondering on her laughable life as she got ready to meet her grandma.
‘What!’ Tori’s jaw dropped when she got to the airport and her grandmother said she was leaving already.
She was surprised when she called her grandmother and she told her she was at the airport. She wondered what she could possibly be doing there because all part of her shunned the idea that her grandmum wouldn’t be going to Ilorin by flight.
Like where would she get the money?
It was when she got to the airport and saw her ‘strange’ richly dressed ‘Aunt’ that she knew where the money for the flight came from and also guessed the person leaving by flight was her Aunt and not her grandma like she had initially thought but when her grandma announced she was the one leaving, Tori’s jaw just dropped.
‘You came here to see me but you are leaving already when you had barely seen me!’ Tori snapped at her grandmother adding to her initial show of surprise.
‘I never said I came here to see you. You don’t want me here so why would I come and see you?’ Her grandmother said making Tori feel a bit disappointed for no exact reason actually. ‘And you shouldn’t snap at an old woman like that.’ Her grandmother snapped back
‘It’s fine you didn’t come to see me because I don’t even know where you’d stay. I am having troubles with who I’m staying with and that’s why I said you shouldn’t come. Don’t make it sound like I’m a terrible granddaughter in front of…’ Tori throw glances at Ebiere as she snapped back at her grandmother.
Her grandmother twisted her mouth playfully. Ebiere couldn’t help smiling at how cute the duo looked doing that.
‘And must you go back by flight? It’s not necessary.’ Tori added wondering why her grandmother was being wasteful.
‘It wasn’t my idea. I had to take care of something urgent and Ebiere insisted and now, if you’ll stop your defensive argument and questioning, say hello to your Aunt.’ Yemi said to Tori before slowly adding, ‘Ebiere, that’s Tori.’
‘Good evening Ma and thanks for taking care of her.’ Tori greeted turning to Ebiere.
After spending a few minutes with her grandma, Tori left the airport in her Aunt’s car. Sitting right beside her aunt at the back seat while the driver was at the driver’s seat.
‘You and your grandma are one funny duo.’ Ebiere started during the drive. ‘You seemed like a really wonderful granddaughter.’ She added
‘No. I’m not and I won’t be until that woman starts enjoying what she worked for if not for anything. I have to be successful for her. She deserves a good life.’ Tori said pouring her heart out and they were both silent.
‘I guess your mum is proud of you.’ Ebiere said breaking the silence.
‘Did you happen to know my mum? Grandmother never really told me anything about her except the fact that she died a few months after giving birth to me.’ Tori seemed interested.
‘Let’s just say you looked so much like her.’ Ebiere smiled at Tori. ‘I’m so happy I got the chance to meet you.’ She added holding Tori’s palm and Tori just surrendered her palm to her touch.
Her touch was so comforting.
Okay, the way her aunt looked at her is awkward. She was all shaky and nervous like she was trying so hard holding her emotions back and her eyes brightens whenever she looks into Tori’s eyes but Tori didn’t know why she felt so comfortable with her.
More than she felt with Tobi’s mum.
Isn’t that suspicious?
Well, maybe she felt so comfortable with her because she is the first relative she had the chance to know after her grandma.
‘Hmmm…’ Tori broke the silence. ‘I can’t help noticing grandmother call you Ebiere. Isn’t that supposed to be Igbo? Grandmother is Yoruba.’ Tori questioned. That was the only method of breaking the awkward silence between them and also the only method she thought could stop her aunt from giving her those weird stares.
‘That’s because my father is Igbo and my mum is the one that comes from your grandma’s side.’ She said batting her eyelids and Tori felt like she was avoiding eye contact.
‘Let’s not talk about that now. I heard you tell your grandma you are having troubles with who you are staying with, why don’t you come stay with me?’ Ebiere asked looking expectantly into Tori’s eyes.
Tori was mute. She knows she needed to move out badly because of that Cleo and right here is an offer on a platter of gold and it’s even better than Tobi’s offer because this person here is just like her aunt.
She was supposed to be thinking of being on her own but here she is contemplating on accepting this offer.
But how could you possibly stand on your legs when there is no ground to stand on? Just accept this offer, dummy!
That was a part of her screaming at her.
‘I have a daughter and I’m pretty sure you guys would will get along pretty well. She gets bored easily and she will be so glad to have you over’ Ebiere tried to convince her the more.
Someone to talk to aside her aunt, not bad. Tori thought.
‘Your grandma told me you didn’t know much relatives which is just similar to how my daughter had lived. This is a chance for us all to bond. Just say yes because of her if not for anything?’ She gripped Tori’s hand and Tori just had to nod.
It’s heartbreaking to think that love might just not catch up with you. That night, after Smith walked out at the bus station, I sat down there for hours wondering how this situation had come Read more…