I opened my eyes to the sight of Adesuwa working on my laptop. “Morning babe” I muttered and she turned towards me.
“Good morning dear” she moved close to me kissing me on the lip. “What are you doing?” I asked, “Mrs. Haruna asked me to get this stuff typed” she answered raising a notebook up.
“How long have you been awake?”
“For an hour now” she answered not taking her eyes off the laptop. “It’s mom’s birthday today” I blurted and Adesuwa raised her brow in shock.
“I can’t” I argued and she shook her head
. “No way, you have to call her. She’s your mom, she might be annoying and all but she did carry you in her womb. You owe her that respect to at least wish her a happy birthday”
“I don’t want her troubles. Dad told me he would throwing a early morning surprise for her and I declined”
“I’m trying to avoid a lot.”
“Henry I don’t want to look like that bad person here and if I know your mom enough, she’ll definitely blame me for keeping you.”
“You’re not keeping me”
“She won’t see it that way. Trust me Henry
. You have to call her. What happened to ‘Iya ni wura, baba no jigi’? (mother is gold, father is silver) ”
“Now” she demanded and I rolled my eyes dialing her number then I placed the phone against my left ear. “It’s busy, she’s definitely on a call.” I dropped the phone and she glared at me.
“You’re not even putting an effort”
“She’s on a call. She must have a lot of people calling her, I’ll call her later”
She didn’t take her eyes off me.
“I’ll call her later”
Dad came into the office rather early while Adesuwa and I were working on the project we admired from Port Harcourt’s finest hotel.
“It’s your mom’s birthday” he began before I could even greet him.
“Good morning Sir” Adesuwa greeted, “Good morning Adesuwa” he greeted then fixed his gaze back at me.
“It’s your mom’s birthday”
“I heard you the first time and I didn’t forget”
“Have you called her?”
“I forgot” I answered and Adesuwa opened her eyes in shock. “I thought you already did” “I said I was going to”
“But you didn’t”
“How convenient Henry, are you trying to make me look like the bad person here?” “I don’t want her saying things that would ruin my mood” I answered and she picked up her phone from the desk.
I knew she was mad at me.
“I better leave you two alone”
“No” Dad answered. “I think it’s better for you to stay dear. Since you’re becoming part of the family; I think you should hear this. Maybe you can convince him”
“I’ll be throwing a party today for his mom at the house later in the evening.”
“I’ll be busy”
“Come on Henry! I know you’re angry at your mom but you should learn to forgive and move on. Your mom is annoying but I’m still married to her”
“He’ll be there” Adesuwa assured touching my shoulder and I turned over to her chuckling.
“Thank you Adesuwa” Dad replied and I turned over to him. “I haven’t even agreed”
“Do not underestimate the power of a woman Henry. I’ll see you both at the party”
“I…I … didn’t say… I was” Adesuwa stammered and Dad chuckled so did I. She thought i was the only one that would be dragged to the party.
“See you two later” he chipped in leaving the office.
“I’m not going oh” Adesuwa complained.
“How convenient Adesuwa, you want me to go and you don’t want to”
“You’re not the one she hates” she whines.
“I’ll go if you go”
“Your mom hates me, she might embarrass me or throw me out” “She won’t. I’ll be there to protect you” i answered and she shook her head.
“Let’s negotiate on this”
“Negotiate ke? This one is not negotiable” I answered and she laughed faintly.
“You’re evil” she mouthed, “I love you too babe” I replied.
I got a call from Dad just as I walked into the lobby of the hotel. It was a busy Monday, I wanted to see Fatai and it was also Mom’s birthday.
“Hello Madam where you dey?” He asked and I laughed.
“Good morning Dad. I’m at the hotel”
“Which hotel is that one again?”
“May hotel” I answered laughing. “Perfect, where are you I’ll meet you there”
“I’m at the lobby”
“I just left Henry, I’ll be there in five minutes or ten”
I found a seat to sit. Dad sat close to me afterwards. “Hey dear” he smiled at me. “Are you here for your brother?” He asked and I shook my head.
“What are you doing in a hotel then?” He asked and i laughed. “I came to see someone”
“A man?” He asked and I smiled. “This one that you’re blushing, Tosin who is he?”
“He’s a friend dad and I don’t want to have this discussion with you”
“Does he have a name?”
“At least nah, give me briefings about him” “Daddy, next topic please!” I requested and he laughed.
“How are you?” “I’m fine dad”
“My twins, how are they?”
“They’re in school but they’re fine” “I miss them a lot sha,” “Dad you most times visit them”
“I miss them at the house. I miss their troubles and the house has been too quiet these days.”
“It’s mom’s birthday, that was why you wanted to speak to me” I began and he gave a gentle nod. I didn’t understand why he was beating about the bush.
“Your mom is sad that you didn’t call”
“I wanted to”
“I had second thoughts, she doesn’t deserve it” “Tosin,” dad called out, he sounded disappointed.
“I thought you were a lot more mature than this”
“Mom doesn’t deserve my wishes. Right now I’m living as though I have no mother.” “It was your choice to leave”
“I left cause I had to just free myself from her strong grip. Dad you need it too”
“You want me to file a divorce against your mom.”
“No. I just want you to stand up for yourself”
“I’ll be throwing a party later in the day. It would mean a lot to your mom if you’re present with the twins”
“I’m not coming dad, don’t insist”
Tosin called me in the morning to let me know she was coming. She didn’t sound too well when we spoke on phone. I begged for mom’s assistance in case she comes.
“If she comes let me know” I instructed Joan for the fifth time. “And for the hundredth time, I will. Why your body dey hot like this?”
“His girlfriend is coming na” mom answered and I heard laughter from corners of the kitchen. Even those that pretended they weren’t listening were also listening.
“She’s …. she’s …not my girlfriend” i answered and Joan laughed.
“Because you haven’t asked her out nah” one of the chef yelled and opened my mouth in awe. “Look at all this people oh, everyone get back to your job. No more interruption” I stated and Joan left the kitchen.
She came in almost immediately. “She’s here, she’s here!” She yelled and I rushed out almost immediately.
There was no one. I walked back in and Joan laughed along with mom. “So it’s your boss you’re pranking shea?” I asked and she laughed even more.
“If not that you’re my friend, I would have fired you right now” I hissed and mom laughed. “Look at the way he ran” Mom pointed out and everyone laughed.
She tried it a second time and I fell for it. I refused to fall again.
“She’s here” Joan walked in when I was blending some fruits. “You fooled me once, fooled me twice, I don’t think I can be fooled again”
“You said that the last time”
“I swear to God, if I dey lie make ogun kill me” she snapped and I shook my head.
I went back to slicing some pepper and carrots. Suddenly I felt a hand over my eyes. “Joan’s hands are not that soft” I smiled, “Tosin” I guessed and she took off her hands laughing.
“Nice guess” she answered. She had hair net on.
“Joan’s hands are not that soft?” Joan asked, “Seriously?” She asked leaving and I laughed.
“Eka’aro Ma (Good morning Ma)” She greeted in Yoruba and mom smiled. Mom likes her a lot and has insinuated a lot of times that I ask her out.
“Iyawo mi, ba wo ni? (My wife, how are you?)” “Mo wa ma (I’m fine Ma)”
I turned over to mom. I didn’t understand why she would have to refer to her as ‘My wife’. I was too embarrassed, that was way too intimate.
“Awon omo ko? (How are the kids doing?)” She added and Tosin smiled. “Wo wa. (They’re fine)”
She answered now turning towards me.
“What are you doing?” She asked pointing at the carrots.
“I just wanted to make vegatable sauce”
“I see” she answered.
“I’m sorry about what mom said. The whole ‘Iyawo mi’ thing” I apologized and she waved her hands. “It’s nothing”
“It’s embarrassing” I insisted.
“Well parents exist to always embarrass you” I added. “How are you feeling? Earlier on when you called me you sounded sad”
“I was, I needed someone to talk to”
“I’ll meet you after I’m done, or I could just…”
“It’s mom’s birthday” she blurted out and I nodded. I understood what she meant, since we’ve been talking a lot about her mother.
“I haven’t called her yet”
“That’s bad Tosin”
“I have my reasons”
“Your reasons don’t justify anything, Tosin we’re talking about your mother. You’re a mother, how would you feel if your twins wake up someday and they don’t give you birthday wishes or even call or visit”
“Fatai have you been listening to me?”
“Yes I have. Your mom, even though I haven’t met her before but from what I’ve gathered, she’s being childish and if you’re trying to play on her terms, it will put you on the same grounds with her. Bunch of kids avoiding themselves, why don’t you try to be the bigger one?” I asked and she shut her eyes rubbing her forehead.
“You don’t know my mom the way I do.”
“Even though I don’t, you’re not taking this matter the way you should. Surprise her, give her a call or visit her”
“There’s a party this evening” she added, “I don’t want to go”
“Go” I advised and she shook her head. “I don’t want to be embarrassed, that woman might have something evil planned out for me”
“She’s a mother, she can’t be totally heartless”
“Follow her nah” Mom suggested and I turned to her. “Ma’ami that’s extreme”
“No it’s brilliant. Follow me” Tosin agreed.
“I can’t, I’m not a family member neither am I friend”
“You’re my friend and more than ever I’ll need one to face mom. I’ll go if you go with me” she proposed and I gave a deep thought.
“Taye and Kehinde would be happy too. Please” she continued.
“Fine. I’ll go” I answered and she hugged me.
“Thanks” she pulled away then looked me in the eyes. She had this wide smile on. I was lost in her amazing smile.
“Would we go together?” I asked and she nodded.
“You can meet me at my house” “I’ve never been to your house”
“I’ll text you” she answered chuckling. “Thanks” she added, “For what?” I asked and she shrugged.
“For being a good friend” she answered kissing me on the cheek then she left.
I was smiling uncontrollably then I heard someone clear his throat. I turned back and the chefs were laughing.
“Fatai, I know you like that girl, just date her already” Mom snapped in Yoruba and I turned to her. “I like her but it’s not that easy”
“What’s not easy?” Mom asked and Tosin walked back in. I turned to her worried she might have heard what I said.
“Were you there all this while?”
“No. i didn’t tell you the time. Meet me at the house by four” she added leaving.
I spoke to Mr. Henry and he permitted to leave the office earlier than I should. I went home, ironed one of my short sleeve shirt then I tucked it in a black Chinos trousers.
I followed Tosin’s direction and I got to the estate where she lived. I knocked on the gate and a guy opened the gate.
“I’m looking for Tosin”
“The lady with the twins?” He asked and I nodded. He pointed to a building and I walked towards it. When I got to the door I gave it a gentle knock.
The door opened and Taye and Kehinde hugged me, it was almost as though they were expecting me.
“Where is your mom?” I asked and I walked in. Tosin walked in with her bra on, apparently she wore a gown halfway.
I quickly looked away. “I’m sorry” I apologized.
“Why didn’t you tell me Uncle Fatai was around?” Tosin asked, “You can look now” she said and I turned towards her.
“I’m sorry for…”
“It wasn’t your fault don’t apologise. What’s there that you haven’t seen before? Stop acting like a silly virgin!” She snapped and I laughed.
“The dress is nice, you look really nice” he added and she turned her back. “Help me zip up” she demanded and I pulled the zip up quickly.
We got to the house, it was a beautiful duplex. We walked in, I saw Mr Henry with Adesuwa. They were both shocked to see me there.
“You didn’t tell me you would be coming over” Mr. Henry said and I laughed.
“I begged him to come with me. I need him to help me with mom, I can’t do this alone” Tosin answered and Mr. Henry laughed, “I know the feel, trust me” .
“Are you two…” Adesuwa asked and I laughed looking at Tosin. “Nah.. we’re not” I answered and Adesuwa gazed in unbelief.
“Have you seen mom?” Tosin asked and Mr. Henry nodded, “And she didn’t annoy you?”
“Yes… Mom is drunk” he affirmed walking away with Adesuwa.
“Mom is not the type to get drunk, the last time she got drunk was…” She stalled. “Watch the kids for me, I’ll be back” she said leaving.
A while later, she came back still looking around. “I haven’t seen mom” she said to me. “You sound worried”
“Mom doesn’t get drunk, I just want to…”
“It’s totally normal to care. It shows you’re human” I noted and she chuckled.
“See who the cat dragged in” I heard a woman say, Tosin shut her eyes then she turned to her.
“Mom” She called out, Taye and Kehinde jumped on her happily.
“Happy birthday grandma” they both chorused and she touched their cheeks and kissed them.
She stood up looking at Tosin.
“So you finally came”
“I’ve been looking for you”
“You didn’t search well, or maybe you weren’t really looking for me”
“Mom?” She scoffed.
“Are you sure I’m even your mother?”
“Mom I came here to simply” I held her hands, she was already raising her voice. “Okay” she exhaled.
“Happy birthday Mom,” she wished and I nodded. That was the only right thing to do.
. “And who’s this?” She asked and I smiled.
“Good evening Ma, my name is Badejo Fatai”
“My daughter’s boyfriend?” She scoffed, “No, I’m just a friend” I answered.
“What if he’s my boyfriend?” Tosin snapped, “What will be wrong with that”
“Nothing” she answered moving close to me. “Do you have a job?” She asked, “Mom” Tosin muttered in a warning tone, “It’s okay Tosin, I do Ma” I answered.
“Where do you work?”
“I work as a chef at the hotel” I answered and she laughed. “You could have just said no when I asked if you had a job. My dear that’s no job to take care of my daughter and her two kids.” She snapped and I nodded smiling.
“Jesus, mom!” Tosin yelled.
“What’s wrong with you?” She asked, “Tosin it’s okay”
“Fatai It’s not okay, this woman is sick”
“She’s your mother don’t call her sick” I snapped. “Please let’s just leave” she added, “Wait”
“Let’s leave, please I already did my side of the deal, I came here, God sees my heart that I tried my best.” She dragged the kids out and I followed her.
I watched Taye and Kehinde walk into the car, she was about to get into the car when I requested that we spoke for a while then she closed the door.
“That’s why I didn’t want to come”
“You didn’t have to react that way” “How else would I have reacted? Did you hear what she said about you”
“She said it to me not you”
“I felt hurt by it, that’s Mom for you. She looks down on anyone that isn’t rich. She didn’t even appreciate that I came”
“I’m pretty sure she does”
“How do you know? Why are you even supporting her?” She asked and I laughed.
“Thanks for coming anyways” she appreciated and I nodded. “It’s fine, what are friends for?” I asked and she laughed.
“It’s really not that difficult you know?” She chipped in and I wondered what she meant.
“What do you mean?”
“Telling a girl you like her. I heard you saying it’s not easy”
“Jeez! I can’t believe you heard that” I slapped my palm on my face, embarrassed.
“It’s ok” she held me hands down. “It’s really not that difficult, you just go ahead and tell her you like her” she advised and I chuckled. The shy part of me was starting to come out.
“What are you trying to say?” I asked, “I’m saying that I like you too” she answered kissing me on the lips.
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