“Daddy Daddy…” filled the air as my kids ran into my waiting hands. As I kissed them tears rolled down my eyes. Everybody in the room felt the joy and love I shared with my kids except one. She could feel the pains in me, the struggle am going through by just having her in the same room with me.
Today was supposed to be our anniversary instead am here trying to look for an excuse to travel back to Maiduguri where I know I’ll be safe from hurt.
My mother came in last and as I try to squat to greet her like I have learned from my association with the Northerners, she grabbed me half way down and hugged me. “My son, how are you? You are looking thin o! abi are they not feeding you people over there?” she started with her barrage of questions.
“mama am fine like I told you yesterday and I eat very well”
“so why are you then look like papa Julius?” she said.
That made all of us laughed including Shade. Papa Julius is my parents next door neighbor. The man can eat food made for twenty people at a go but he is still as thin as a broom. So anytime we want to say someone is thin or lean we make reference to Papa Julius. But the truth is that am not even slim or thin. I just don’t have fats like my mother would want.
Shade greeted her and took the kids to their rooms to change from their church wears. Ijeoma has return back to the kitchen. I and my mother sat down to catch up and when I say catch up, I really mean to answer her questions.
“How is Maiduguri? Hope this madness has not reach your side? Infact it will never reach your side in Jesus name. Never plans by the devil to harm you shall fail. Never body that says my child will not see peace they too will not know peace. “, she ended her questions with prayers.
“Amen mama”, I said with smile on my face.
“your friend James was here two days ago and brought food stuffs for us, please thank him went you see him”, mama said.
“Aww that’s nice of him, I will talk to him later”, I lied to my mum. Hiding my pains and feeling.
Up until now I still can’t explain what will push the two people that I love so much do what they did. What would make Shade go that far, what would make James go that far. I want to know and yet I don’t.
I know she is a lady and a beautify one at that, she has told me countless times how her colleagues and other men made passes at her and she has refuse them, so why now? I really can’t believe what I saw, it was like those stories you hear about but thought it couldn’t happen to someone you know or even you for that matter.
‘mama how is papa? I asked my mum
“he is fine o. he doesn’t want to come back maybe he has seen a younger lady over there” she replied and we all laughed including Ijeoma who was returning from the kitchen with plates on her hands to set up the dinning. The kids returned back to the parlor dressed in shorts and t-shirt. Lola was jumping and down on me, while Kemi collected my phones just the way her mother use to do. My mother and Shade up set the table while Ijeoma brought the food from the kitchen. It was fried rice and chicken, my favorite. I sat on my dad seat which is the head of the table while my mum sat opposite me. I was asked to lead the prayers before we eat.
“God we thank you for this food. For rest and home and all things good. For wind and rain and sun above. But most of all for those we love. Bless this food to our use, and us to ty service. Fill our hearts will grateful praise. Amen.” I said raising my head to a stream of eyes looking at me with laughter in their eyes. Ijeoma couldn’t hold hers as she let it out. Even Shade was smiling too.
We ate our food even with the little tension in the room between me and my wife. Apart from my sister who noticed it earlier no one else did. Which was a blessing and a relived for me, because I wasn’t in the mood to explain. Shade and I needs to talk but I don’t know how the conversation will be like. I still love my wife, that’s why this has been difficult for me.
I remember in the opportunity I had to cheat on my wife. It was a promotional night for one of the commanders. He was promoted to Lt. colonel. Members of the media were invited, some of us do have friends within the military ranks. The night was filled with drinks, music and women. There is this lady that has been giving me the clearest of green light. She should be in her mid-twenties and very pretty. Infact was the target of most of the men civilian and military alike. She noticed that I lived only and don’t mix with the “crowd” as we usually call those of our colleagues that goes out to drink and sleep with the locals. She started by bringing me food, and helping me to do some domestic chores. Sometimes we go to market together other times we just take a stroll to a nearby football field to watch some match. People have even started calling us couples but then we know there was nothing between two of us except mutual respect and pure friendship. That faithful night we were together and since she and I don’t drink alcohol we just collected bottle of soft drinks and start mingling with friends. It was getting late and I decided to greet the celebrant before we took our leave. I just left her for like thirty minutes and by the time I return I noticed something was wrong. She was acting funny; her bottle water has been replaced by a disposable cup which the content I suspect will be alcohol because that was what the other guys were taking. I noticed at the far corner of the officer’s mess some of my not too good colleagues who have been making rude comments about my relationship with Hadiza were laughing. I guess they have a hand in what was wrong with Hadiza. Immediately I put my arms around her and sauntered her out of there. Funny enough I don’t know her home so I took her back to my place. She was really drunk and rambling on by the time we got there. Immediately we gone inside, I led her straight to the bathroom, put her head under the shower and put it on. Her cloths were drenched but the time I took her back to the room. I removed her cloth and wrapped her in my blanket. I didn’t fail to notice she was putting on a pink bra which hugged her perfectly shaped breast. She was blessed just like her ancestors before her with flat tommy, Her fair skin glows as water trickles down from her very long curly black hair.
In her state of drunkenness, she was mumbling some words like ‘I love you, why can’t you love me back’,