I bet quite a lot of us have that someone in our past we find)t almost impossible to let go of. First, it starts as a simmering romance that morphed into a sizzling romance; then comes the realization that this is one relationship you dare not shut the door on after it fizzled out fred is a man I have such a relationship with.
I was on one of my rare visits to Fredâ€™s dream house when I met his mother. In her midseventies, she looked regal and reserved as she sat on the sofa, watching television. She had obviously taken a lot of care to look â€˜presentable!) Fred was out, she said, but would soon be back. I knew my way around the house by now, so I helped myself to a bottle of vintage redÂ wine. If thereâ€™s one thing to be said of Fred, he enjoys his money and spares no expense.
As I opened a bottle of vintage red wine, I purred like a cat – who no like better thing.! Fredâ€™s mum, who hadnâ€™t said much, laughed nervously when I asked her if she wanted a glass of wine. â€œI tried as much as possible not to drink that much alcohol,â€ she told me, â€œexcept when I drink with Fred.â€
I arched my brow and she explained: â€œDeep down, Iâ€™m a village woman. Fred is my only son – I have two other daughters. Iâ€™ve always been closest to him and I spoilt him all the time he lived in the family house. We all did. He wasÂ so cheeky. But, he was a very brilliant scholar and did well for himself, and thanks to a couple of scholarship awards, he was able to study in the best universities abroad.
â€œWhen he came back from abroad with his new wife, I used to travel all thoseÂ miles from the village, at least, thrice a year just to see them. Fredâ€™s father, a primary school teacher, passed on just before he came back to Nigeria and Iâ€™m sure that was why he lavished so much love and material things on me and his siblings who were married. But, we certainly werenâ€™t the gin-and tonic types!Â â€œHis wife plied usÂ with expensive lace materials and guinea brocade.
Sometimes, her generosity made me feel uncomfortable. She would invite her parents round on an evening of each visit I made and take all of us to dinner. I often felt awkward on such outings. Fredâ€™s mother-in-law was probably my age, but her hair (or was it an expensive wig) was always well styled. I wore locally made boubous and my home applied hair dye didnâ€™t often disguise the gray successfully.
I felt like a frump – and the food was something elseâ€™ Fred suffers from ulcer, so he has to watch what he eats and it wasnâ€™t in my place to tell his wife the bland food she always served wasnâ€™t particularly up my street! I couldnâ€™t cook meals I would love to eat in her kitchen as the electric cooker was out of my depth!â€
The more she opened up, the sorrier I felt for her. Fancy not being able to open up to her son on how she felt! I went to the kitchen and shook my head at what the cook had prepared – as exotic as it was, itÂ wasnâ€™t a meal for a village mum. I asked her if she wanted something special to eat.
She looked guarded until I explained that I had this special â€˜bukaâ€™ place that boasted of amala and pounded yam dishes with stews and soups just like the village woman made it. Quickly, I sent my driver to the joint. He knew the place like the back of his hand. Fredâ€™s mother settled for amala with gbegiri (bean) and ewedu soup. Did she want fresh fish, snails, goat meat or cow leg with her food.
Her eyes rounded excitedly as she made her order. I then asked the cook to set the table with a finger bowl so we could wash our hands and dig in. He were in the middle of this scrumptious spread giggling like happy village people when Fred walked in.
HeÂ Â looked amused but happy that his mother was obviously enjoying herself. He declined our offer to have some of the delicacies because of his ulcer, but he did taste the fish. He left to have a quick shower and his mum confessed she didnâ€™t know you could get food as local as what we just bought in Lagos. â€œFirst time I would feel at home in Fredâ€™s houseâ€, she confessed .
â€œIn my world, Iâ€™m quite happy in the bungalow Fred build for me, and my friends are of the same mould as me. We never had the privilege of shopping in super-markets or going on fane holidays abroad.Â The only time I visited Fred abroad, it dawned on me how different our lives had become, His flat was packed with trendy furniture and big family portraits of him and his family. And his friends were the jet-set types, always bragging of their financial success, holidays and nights-outs.
Growing up in the village, Iâ€™d never really had a career except for a short stint as a primary school teacher. I just loved being a wife and mother. I also did petty trading from time to time and still do to ward off boredom.
â€œIn fairness to my son, despite his sophisticated life-style, he was always glad when I visited as he couldnâ€™t always come to the village himself. Itâ€™s a pity that he couldnâ€™t make a go of his marriage. I tried as much aJ.. possible not to interfere in the way his wife ran the home and Iâ€™m glad we have remain friends to this day. Sheâ€™s a lovely lady- a bit of an â€˜ajebotaâ€™ but she took good care of the home.
Iâ€™m glad they still remain civil to each otherâ€. Fred eventually emerged from his room looking like an advertiserâ€™s delight for an expensive shower gel! His mother made to leave the room but I included her in the conversation.
Shyly, she told us she always preferred a malt drink and when she eventually relaxed, I offered to let my driver take Fredâ€™s to the â€˜bukaâ€™ joint for when next his mum visited, and he agreed, I haveÂ feelings the poor woman would look forward to her visit now she could be herself andâ€even visit more often.
Much as we would love to have a quiet session in the bedroom, I told Fred I didnâ€™t feel up to it. Somehow, it appeared his old womanâ€™s eyes were everywhere.Â On my way home, I called at the teaching hospital where one of our regular participants recently had a baby. She got married about five years ago and was hoping her second child would be the boy her husband desperately wanted. She beamed with pride as soon as I showed up and that answered my question with regards to the sex of the child.
â€œBut, I went through a harrowing experience having our sonâ€, she whispered as soon as I settled in, munching some of the fruits at her bedside. As soon as the nurse was out of the private ward she was in, she explained: â€œMy baby was breech and the consultant was almost glad of the fact.
You know, this is a teaching hospital. Before I knew it, heâ€™d summoned some medical students who filled the room. I was already in labour, and there they all were, peering curiously between my legs Iâ€™vÂ ever beenÂ Weâ€™re being tested on breech birthsâ€™, a female medical student breathed excitedly hold my hands and breathe deeply.
Wonderful! By the time I finally pushed my son into the world, more prying eyes had joined In-talk about keeping your privates public! The fact that I had the son we both wanted made my public display worth it! But, I still cringe when any of the students I recognize look inâ€.