Today’s Sunday, my favorite day of the week when I’m at my house but my worse when I’m at Moms’. Why? you’ll ask. Well, you’ll know in a bit. The noise from the living room had woken me up so as I grumbled to my bathroom, I heard the familiar voices I have been dreading to hear since I got here. Mom’s relatives are here! Oh no! I thought they won’t come at all since I didn’t see them yesterday. There’s Iya Bola, Iya Asake, Mama Eko, Mama Ibadan and Mummy Leke; all of them big women (literally). All five women are my inevitable contemporary nightmare. They never miss Christmas at Mom’s which is a tradition they had started to keep her company as well as assist her with the festive cooking ever since Dad died. Initially, I saw it as a good intention cos they had to leave their homes and come to stay with Mom on the 24th and 25th then, they would go back and return again on the 30th to help her with the cooking for the new year. Not like Mom needed the help really but, it was something they started and it sort of stuck. Now I call them my nightmare because, the only thing they usually hammered on during their stay is the need for me to “find a husband and settle down”.
As if they can hear my thoughts, the door to my room barged open and all five of them wobbled in, in the fullness of their weights and the next thing I hear is,
“Lola O! Omo da da! (good child)” Mama Eko the leader of the gang hailed me in her familiar boisterous way while the others were raining prayers and blessings on me
“Ah! Mummy! Ekaro Ma! I politely knelt to greet
Mama Ibadan the second in command took over,
“emi yin a gun (may you live long)
owo yin ama po sin (may you continue to be wealthy)
olorun ase oko fun e (may God give you your own husband)
Olorun ase omo re fun e (may God bless you with good children)
ni oruko Jesu! (in Jesus name’)
“Amin!” we all chorused
I was amused and upset cos I know what would follow next. I thanked them and told them I needed to use the bathroom but they didn’t budge. As if they didn’t hear me, they sat down on the bed and Iya Asake started her sermon.
“Lola, kilo se le na? (what’s happening?) We have been waiting for the day you will bring good news that your wedding date is ready but till now, nothing. Time waits for no one o! Hian!”
Iya Bola that has six children all of which are married chipped in, “Even, at this your age, you should have three kids by now and later, you can add three more like me”
I had to say something so I spoke up with a serious face with the hope of scaring them away, but they weren’t deterred.
“Ese my Mummies but, I’m not ready to be married yet. Asides that, I don’t like children. They’re a huge stress. If I have to take care of even one, I won’t be able to take care of myself the way I like”
At that, they looked at each other in surprise before bursting into laughter. They laughed to their fill before Mummy Leke who is more educated and has only one child, cleared her throat and said calmly,
“Lola, children are gifts from God and no matter how much stressful it is to raise a child, they are the insurance that God plants in our lives to take care of our old age. You’ll never know until you experience it. Look at me, my husband is dead but I have Leke who built me a house and flies me abroad whenever I want. And look at you, look at how you’re holding this family together! You are very stubborn but you are a gift to your mother. You shouldn’t hate children that way my dear”
I sighed. What a speech! But, I’m not moved. So, I made another attempt to bail myself out.
“Mo ti gbo Ma but I’m okay being on my own without a husband. At least, I have my own house, cars, a business that’s thriving and a secure job. I’m complete and I’m not complaining.”
Mama Eko shouted, “Ha! Oponu! (stupid girl) Who has been brain washing you Lola? No woman is complete without a man! That is why God created everything as male and female. No matter how accomplished a woman is, she still needs a man! Abi you have turned Lezzy ni?” She looked at the others and they all slapped each other’s arm laughing.
I turned red with anger and then went into the bathroom and locked the door. They can stay there and laugh off their fat asses, I’m not having that conversation anymore.
It was the close of service in Church and people were coming to greet my family or rather me specifically cos after the usual, “God bless you Mrs. Peters” they said to Mom, and “Hope you enjoyed service Mummies” they said to my aunts, they would turn their full attention on me and bombard me with questions. Since I went off to University, I had stopped attending service here except on occasions like Christmas. It got really exhausting and I excused myself from the group to wait in my car. As I was walking out, one of the pastor’s wife was walking towards me and on recognizing her, I tried taking another door but she called my name, so I went back.
You see this woman, I don’t like her. She’s very judgmental and she has a knack for scolding young girls about the way they dressed, walked, or even laughed in church. She used to scold me a lot as a teenager and had asked me several times if I was still a virgin because, according to her, I have the look of a temptress. There was even once she made me cry home because of the short dress I was wearing. It wasn’t like I enjoyed wearing short dresses back then but, I was growing taller everyday and my clothes were getting shorter. My parents couldn’t afford to be buying me clothes all the time so I had to manage what I had to church and this women right here made me suffer for it. So today, I’m ready for her. I’m gonna make her cry.
I turned around and greeted her, “Good afternoon Deaconess Peace”
“Oh Lola! It’s good to have you worship with us again, once in a year as usual” she said and smiled charmingly
I noticed the sarcasm in her statement and waited to hear more before I strike back
“Quick one though, your gown, it’s really short and I noticed it caused a lot of distractions during service. You should wear something longer next time. You know, you’re a threat to some sisters here. What with your shape and beauty. We don’t want to cause husbands to cheat on their wives now with you being a single sister do we? I hope you understand” she smiled nervously
Oh yes! exactly what I wanted her to say. I went for the kill.
“You know what, I think you need Jesus in your miserable life. So all through service, instead of you to look up to God, you were looking at my ass! You’re just a frustrated housewife with a low self esteem who goes about picking on young women who’s achieved more than you’ll ever dream of achieving in your lifetime. The next time you see me, run or else, I lock you up for even sniffing the air I breathe. Now piss off!” With that, I walked away, smiling triumphantly. The shock on her face just served me a sumptuous lunch.
Thankfully, Darey brought his sienna car so, there was room for everyone to ride home together. I think I’m beginning to love Sundays at Moms’.
The living room was full. Everyone was eating and gisting about life in general while Mom was really ecstatic cos I was also having a meal of Amala and eforiro for the first time since the five days I’ve been home. Tinu and I still ignore each other but we exchange polite words in front of my aunts cos if they got a whiff that we weren’t on talking terms, hell will break loose.
My leg was healed so I was really comfortable as I ate my cat fish while pressing my phone then I heard Darey talking. I didn’t catch the beginning of what he was saying so I had to pause and listen attentively.
“… Tinu made loving a woman easy for me. I didn’t have to pursue her around town and for that, I appreciate her everyday.”
Everyone laughed and “Awwwed” as the two love birds blew kisses to each other. I feigned talking on the phone and left the living room to my room. My chest burned so I went to the bathroom, washed my hand and then dialed Jeff’s number. He had put it on roaming so I could reach him. He picked on the second ring.
“Hey Sweet pea!” he said
“Hi. How’s the meeting going?”
“Going great. How are you?” he sounded concerned
“Don’t worry. I need more wipes from the Victoria Secrets Store. Get five packs for me”
“Lolly, what’s wrong? Your voice is trembling. What happened this time?”
“Why the hell are you so intrusive! Can’t you just take a simple instruction and let me be?!” I screamed
“Look, I’ve known you long enough to know that when you’re upset. you ask for things that you already have like the wipes. You bought a carton last month when we visited Dubai, remember? So tell me, what’s making you upset?”
I was so pissed I hung up on him.
He was right. He knew me that well and it’s annoying. I just wanted to let of some steam and there he is acting Mr. caring. Did I ask him for the concern? Oh please!
I lay on my bed thinking about tomorrow. Tomorrow’s Xmas and the activity in this house will be crazy. I better start planning on how to escape.