Udom could hear Safiyah’s laughter as he alighted from the car. Taiwo got his briefcase and walked right before him.
She was here. The woman who almost drove him crazy in her father’s house while they were growing up as children.
“I will miss my boyfriend so much!” Udom overheard Safiyah’s voice, telling Kokomma about a lot of things.
He didn’t understand how Kokomma easily got along with Safiyah so well. He used to to know her as a bitch who snubbed and had no time to converse with anyone below her. Maybe she has changed, maybe London has changed her.
“Oh, my husband is home…” Kokomma said in a rush immediately she saw Taiwo.
“I have to warm food for him.”
“Don’t you work?” Safiyah asked.
“I am a teacher at the barracks school down the road.”
“Yeah.” Kokomma said with a smile.
When Udom walked into the sitting room, and Safiyah saw his face again, her heart skipped a bit. Even after many years, he hadn’t change. He was still handsome, tall, hairy and that bulky lovely eyes of his still sparkled like fire.
He looked down at her, his eyes adjusting, And suddenly he remembered that little girl’s face. The innocence on her face when they first kissed behind the dog house.
Struggling to catch her breath, Safiyah blurted out, “welcome Udom. Such a long time!” She said.
“Safiyah!” Udom exclaimed, pretending to be surprised to see her. “You’re now a big girl.” He said and gave her a warm hug.
“How is Zara and your mom?” He asked with a smiling face.
“They are very well thank you. I hope your land phone works, I will have to speak to them soon.”
“Oh yes, it works…” he said.
“Thank you so much for letting me stay here, papa wouldn’t let me stay at my own place, even though I really wanted to.”
“It’s fine, you’re my sister from another father, this is your home too.” Udom said as he pulled his boot, “Have you met Koko my wife?” He asked.
“Yes, such a sweet woman you’ve got. She gave me the most delicious rice and sauce today.”
“She is a great cook.” He giggled, “just have it in mind that for your one year stay in Uyo, you won’t be eating masa and all that Hausa foods.” He winked at her.
She smiled, “I can cope. I mean, I am used to it. I stayed without masa and kwilikwili for over four years in London. Our nanny Hajia Aisha had to teach me how to make Masa.”
“Oh, Hajia Aisha still stays with you people?”
“Yes. Since the day I was born, she has been my nanny. Papa almost married her, remember how it caused a fight and my mother said no second or third wife?”
He laughed, “we were little then.”
“Yeah, my mother is such a jealous woman.”
“Yeah, every woman is. I mean, no woman wants to share her man with anyone else.” He retorted calmly and flung his boots to the door. “Have you seen my son and how cute he is?” He asked with a smile.
“Such a sweet boy. You’re lucky to have a son.”
“Did you see my mom?”
“Yes. But she wasn’t just in a good mood at the time we met.”
“Oh, maybe she was pissed.”
“Maybe.” She shrugged.
Kokomma strode out of the kitchen with a bowl of food, “welcome ufan, food is ready!” She said.
“Thank you my love, our guest said you served her the best sauce, thank you my wife.”
“Thank you too my darling.” Kokomma said.
Mma hated Safiyah for no reason. There was something about Safiyah that Mma didn’t like, and she couldn’t just say it. On the day Akaniyene turned 3months, Mma announced that she was leaving for the village.
“I miss farm work, here there is no farm, no goats and no hen.”
“I can arrange that for you, who will take care of Akaniyene when my wife starts work?”
“I will always visit. And besides, Nsemeke is here now.”
“Mma, I don’t understand why you chose the village over township. I have given you all the comfort you deserve as my mother. There is TV, there is a comfortable room and your grandson to play with. But you prefer goats and hens…”
“Semi! Kutang ikor mme ami Ntede akop?”
“I have stayed here for three months, I will visit often now for the sake of my grandson.”
“Not for my sake too?” He smiled at her.
“You brought in a woman into your home. It is wrong.”
“She is like a sister to me.”
“Indeed. See, look at me,” Mma pushed Udom toward herself. “You can climb on the tallest tree to see what’s beneath you, but you won’t see anything. But what I as an old woman sees sitting down, you won’t see it. Send that girl away!”
“Don’t call me! You and Koko just made a mistake you will forever regret. Wed Usen Mfin nim, I have told you, that girl isn’t a good woman.”
“I grew up with her, her father helped me.”
“That doesn’t mean that you have to help everyone who helped you. He won’t take his help back. He doesn’t even have the power to change you from what you are now. Send her away!”
“Mma, What did Safiyah do to you?” Kokomma asked as she changed Akaniyene’s napkin.
Mma kept mute. “I am leaving by weekend to my house.” She said.