I decide to visit Tafo and Edi. I would be going on my terms and not because one lady thinks she can boss me around. Besides, Mrs. Edichie (Snr) has been a great woman to me. I’d go because of her.
I get to their house at Ikeja just as Tafo is driving out. I notice the bump almost preventing her from reaching the steering.
“Congrats. How many months?”
I don’t wait to hear her response as i walk into their three bedroom apartment. I go straight to the guest room.
I kneel down to greet her, noticing how lean she looked. Was this fall she had pathological? I hope she just slipped on a wet floor or tripped over a step.
She smiles at me, her face wrinkling up beautifully. Beauty runs in their family, pure beauty. No wonder Edi… No, don’t go there Koko.
“My daughter, thank you for coming. Finally. You don’t know how long i have been waiting to see you.”
I hug her, clinging to her briefly. She could have been my mother-in-law. Now, it seems it would be a certain Mrs. Akorede, Jide’s dead mum. And that’s if we move beyond nice outings and mutual admiration. Mama Edichie smells like a mixture of garlic and honey.
“Mama, have you been fine? What have the doctors said about your health?”
“Something about cancer. I don’t know the details but Tafo should know. I thought she would have told you.”
I smile. A bitter smile.
“So you would soon have a grandson.”
She hisses loud and long. “That child is not for my Edward.”
I’m about to reply when I hear Edi calling for me.
“I would be back mama Edichie.”
Seeing Edward after a long time is both saddening and relieving. I had given up on even being just friends with him. I don’t know how a man can be so fixated on one woman. So… Faithful. And what was mama Edichie saying about Tafo’s pregnancy?
“How are you? You look good and well taken care of.”
“Thank you Edi. God takes care of me.”
“That’s what they all say till they bring home one fine young man.”
His laugh is still like melodies to me. Still hearty. He does not look like someone who doubts the paternity of his wife’s pregnancy.
“Where was Tafo going to?”
“She has an appointment at her antenatal clinic.”
“I thought antenatal clinics are over before 4pm.”
He shrugs before walking into the kitchen to get a glass cup.
“Care for some juice?”
I nod, settling into one of the chairs at the dining table.
“Who is he?”
“Look, i know you are beautiful and successful and bold. It won’t be easy for guys to ignore you.”
I mumble under my breath, “yea right. You successfully did all these years.” I am not sure if he heard or not and i really do not care if he did.
“Koko, it was going to be your sister whether i liked her or not. Family business. Father practically threatened me. So, forgive me for the years i turned away from you. I did not want you hurt.”
“Wow! You are saying all these now??? After you married my sister and she is carrying your child or who knows whose child it is? Maybe Ovie!!!”
Uh oh. That was not the plan.
“I’m sorry, i should not have said all that. I am certain the pregnancy is yours.”
“It is not. Mama is calling for you.”
Okay. Okay. There is something fishy going on in this house. How come everybody is comfortable saying such? What have i walked into? Who then made the 9months investment? And why is everyone, well, except mama Edichie …happy?
“Kokoma, i know there is a man in your life. I just wish it was Edi… I wish it was him. I’d probably still be alive.”
“But mama, you are alive.”
“No. Your sister killed me a long time ago. Even if the family business had to be kept, why could it not have been through you? Why?”
She starts to sob. I am confused. I have many questions.
“Mama, if Edi is not responsible for this pregnancy, who is?”
“Hmm, you know him. Ovie.”
Wow. So my outburst was not totally off course. How are they still in close contact? I thought he was married. Well, the news of his marriage was strange. Still, what was Edi looking at?
“She says my son is infertile. That he cannot impregnate a hen. She insults me, telling me how the Edichie wealth cannot protect me from ill health. And my son, i think she has emasculated him. He only drinks. Gets drunk and keeps drinking. Only sober enough to keep money coming from his place of work.”
That thing about every man, no matter how perfect looking, having his vice(s) came to mind. An infertile drunk. Just great!
“Mama, are you sure about what you are saying?” Symptoms of dementia start fleeting through my mind. Or maybe she is just suffering from delirium. I mean, cancer pain could be that bad.
“Ask Edi himself. He still loves you.”