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Mixed voices!

– the funloving, but hardworking single parent

By Treena Kwenta
Hi readers! I do my bit to play the Good Samaritan, whenever I can and extend largesse to people, but I draw the line when it comes to being  nice and generous to those who I know do not wish me well.

At Uka’s daughter’s traditional wedding, the food we ordered was brought before the caterer employed by parents of the couple arrived at the venue. Since we were at the back of the hall, it was easy for our caterer to set up and serve us and our guests, right there beside us. She had two young men to serve our guests, while nanny served the gals.

It’s embarrassing when guests you take along to a function are not served because the organizers don’t know them. I’ve been a victim of such treatment several times in the past, simply because the person who invited me wasn’t vigilant enough to ensure that I was served. So, the servers just passed me by. One didn’t go there because of food and drinks, and one may not feel like eating the food served, but it hurts your pride when guests around you are served while you’re left out.

Whenever the gals throw a party, we’re on our feet most of the time, ensuring that everyone (high and low) who came, got served food and drinks.

At Nkechi’s traditional wedding that Saturday, we made sure that the handful of friends we invited sat close to us, so we could serve them without any hindrance.

I was glad when our caterer showed up at the appointed time, but since the caterers for the event hadn’t come yet, I suggested to the gals that we should wait until the official caterer comes and the other people are served, before we started eating..

My view was rejected right away, to my secret delight, as I was so hungry.

I was surprised when I overheard Tayo telling  nanny that she would have to accompany the other two servers who were loading  their trays with food and drinks, to another part of the hall. “Do we have our guests in that area?” I asked.  “We should ask them to come join us here, so that serving them would be easier.  There are still some empty chairs in the next row.” “All our guests are here,” replied Boma.  “The food is meant for Belinda and her relative.”

“Say that again! We’re giving our food to Belinda and her relative? Why?”

“Ah, ask Tayo. Belinda rang her just now to say that her pregnant relative was very hungry, and since the official caterer hadn’t showed up yet, could they both be served from our food?” “Are you kidding? You mean I contribute money for catering here and Belinda had the nerve to say our food should be served her?  I can’t believe my ears. Shouldn’t Tayo have sought our permission first since it’s a collective effort, before agreeing to feel Seb’s fiancee?” “She did.”

“When?  I wasn’t asked, otherwise, I’d have expressed by disapproval right away.”

“You were eating when Tayo asked us, and you grunted. I suppose she took that to mean an approval.” I turned to Tayo on the other side of me and asked her if indeed she was going to share our food with Belinda.

“She asked us for that favour and I asked around if we should comply or not. When it was your turn to answer, you grunted. I took that to mean you don’t mind. I’m just about to send the food over to her and her pregnant relative. If you think we shouldn’t, then I won’t. If the pregnant woman faints and then dies from hunger, well, so be it. That would remain in your conscience for life and further block your way to Paradise.”

“Tayo, that won’t send me to hell. I sympathize with the pregnant woman. See, let’s send only one plate of food, and nanny should go give it to her. Nanny will then tell Belinda that we had just a plate of food left.”

“Sorry, I can’t be part of such a mean decision. Look, my dear friend, Belinda is your ex-husband’s fiancee, and she may go on to become your children’s step-mother. It’s in your interest to be nice to her.”

“Why? My children are grown and on their own now. They don’t live with her. I can’t see how my refusal to feed Belinda will reflect negatively on my children. I don’t know why you’re anxious to please a woman who’s constantly trying to put a wedge between Seb and me.”

“You’ve just helped a woman who was trying to humiliate Liz. Was that loyal of you?”

“Oh dear, we’re just going round in a circle,” I groaned. “Okay, send the food over to them.” “But why didn’t Belinda approach Treena?” asked Becky. “It’s through Treena that she got to know the rest of us. That’s a slight. It may be the real reason Treena’s sending the food over.  It’s she that Belinda should have rung for help, not Tayo.”

“Becky dear, for telling the truth, you’re blessed forever,” I said with feeling. Until Becky made that comment, I hadn’t really seen the matter like that.

“If you ask me,” said Liz, “I think Belinda acted that way, in order to wind up Treena a bit. She had no business ringing up Tayo.  It’s Treena, who she’s known for years and who’s her fiance’s ex-wife, that she should have asked for a favour. That woman is demonic. She wants to cause a division among us.” “Liz, my darling,” I said with joy, “you’re blessed forever.” “Let me receive my own blessings from Treena too,” said Boma. “Let’s tell nanny to tell Belinda that the food is from Treena.  How about that? That would show her that our friendship here is solid and she cannot cause a split. I didn’t even know that she had Tayo’s number.”

“Boma, you’re blessed forever,” I told her.  “Tayo did you give her your gsm number?”

“Nope. She could have got it from Seb’s phone. Isn’t she always seizing his phone when she wants to block calls to him? See, Treena dear, I’m sorry for not thinking deeply about the matter before saying her request should be granted. She’s a crafty one. Boma’s suggestion is very good. That is if you agree that we should send food over to her.  Let’s say it’s from you. Agree?”

“Oh yes! I don’t mind at all. There’s surplus food here. Would it be good if I went with nanny to see her?”

“Does she deserve that honour?” asked Liz. “Send the food over with the message that Boma suggested. It’s good.”

As nanny and a server left with the food, the official caterer and her team rushed in through another door and began to set up their coolers, plates, etc. Soon, drinks and finger foods were being served. You could see the relief on the faces of the guests who must have been hungry and thirsty. It was past three o’clock.

Meanwhile, the groom had been taken to his high chair, and the bride’s friends and aunties  had been asked to go bring her out.

While we were waiting for her, two traditional dance troupes, one from Rivers’ State, and the other from Delta State, entertained the guests. Clarissa and the groom’s mother got up to dance with their respective troupe. Uka and the groom’s father didn’t dance, but joined other guests to ‘spray’ money on the musicians and  dancers. The groom’s father sprayed his wife, but Uka kept away from Clarissa, and he sprayed members of the dance troupes and other guests, and also the groom’s mother. The groom’s father generously went and sprayed Clarissa. I felt sorry that Uka snubbed her again. Mind you, this was not noticeable as her relatives and friends surrounded her and were spraying her almost non-stop.

My phone buzzed. It was Belinda. I went outside to take the call. “Mrs.  Kwenta, thank you so much for the plates of delicious food. When I went to pay my respects to your friends, you weren’t there. I thought, maybe you couldn’t make it. Thank you so much.”

“You’re welcome, Belinda.   I hope you’re enjoying the ceremony.  Are you a relation of the bridegroom’s?”

“Er, in a way, yes, I am, but not directly.  The groom’s father is related to er, er, Chief Vic on his mother’s side. You know of course, that Chief Vic’s late mum was from Akwa Ibom/Cross River/ River. The groom’s father is a first cousin to Chief Vic. That means my son Simon and the groom are cousins. When I learnt of the wedding, I made it a point to be here since Simon’s in the U.K.”

“So, you’re representing him? That’s good.”

“Ah, if the Ikorodu side of Chief Vic don’t want to recognize him, at least, these people count him as one of their own. They usually invite him, through me,  for family social functions. He and the groom were born five months of each other, so, his mum and I are friends.”

I asked her when she came in from Accra.

“Accra? I’ve not been in Accra.  I’m in Lagos.” “What about Seb? Both of you were supposed to have travelled out to Accra so that the branch of the company over there can be revived.”

“Coco is seeing to all that, I think. We didn’t travel out to Accra. I used that ploy to get him to send that silly home-wrecker, Patricia or Patience, back to Jos. We didn’t travel. Oh dear, you’re not supposed to know this.  Well, you do now. I’ll have to get back inside. Thanks again.”

I couldn’t make head or tail out of what she said. Seb has been in the house in Ikeja all this while? A headache was coming on, so, I quit thinking about it. Tara.


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