BY TREENA KWENTA
Hi Readers! I got a little insight of the relationship between Seb and Belinda while the three of us, along with Edmund, were paying a visit to Tayo’s mum in Abeokuta. Make no mistake – they are fond of each other, enjoy being together, and above all, understand each other well.
Belinda had her hand on Seb’s arm almost throughout the journey; massaging/caressing it as if giving him the strength to drive. ‘when she withdrew her hand, it was to feed him titbits – mints, snacks and water, or to lean on his shoulder. From time to time she or Seb would look back to ask me if I was alright.
They were a delight to watch – like they were teenage lovers. Was it staged for my benefit? I don’t think so. Seb was genuinely enj6ying all the attention, and they joked all the way through.
As we were driving through Abeokuta to get to papa’s village, Edmund made a sign to us that he was going to stop. Seb ignored him, drove past him, and continued driving, but Belinda made him stop and we turned to go join Edmund where he had stopped outside a farm house, off the main road. He was nowhere in sight.
“Now what?” asked Seb in a vexed tone. “Why did you make me turn and come here?” he asked Belinda.
“My dear, we were driving in a convoy, remember? He signalled to us that he was going to stop, so, we should stop too to find out if he’s alright. I’m sure he would do the same if we had stopped. He may be in some kind of distress.”
“And that’s my business? Here’s his vehicle neatly parked. His corpse is not inside it, so, the idiot must still be alive.”
Belinda laughed. “But you can’t deny that this Lexus is simply heavenly. He must be very wealthy. What did you say he does for a living, dear?”
“I’ve never acknowledged his existence to you, Belinda; let alone discuss what keeps him alive. You’ll have to ask him that.”
“Oh, darling, darling,”gushed Belinda, rubbing his arm seductively, “you do have this something about the poor man, don’t you? I wonder what it is. Snap out of it. He seems harmless enough, and he’s extremely courteous and polite. He seems to hold you in awe. What have you done for him to earn that?
Be nice to him. Who knows, he might be useful some day. You can’t tell. Ah, here he comes. Hello there! Are you alright, Edmund?” she called out to him gaily. Then in a low voice, she asked Seb if she got the name right. He nodded, and surprise, surprise, he did obey his madam and he wound down his window to ask in a gruff voice if Edmund was okay.
“Thanks uncle Seb,” Edmund answered politely. “And madam too. Thank you so much for stopping. Mama likes the special bush meat they prepare in the farm house here, so, I stopped to get her some. They”re filling up my coolers. They prepare mouth-watering local dishes on this farm. I also bought some eggs and fruits. I’ve got some flour and baking ingredients in my boot. I’m going to spend the weekend baking and cooking for mama.”
“She’s lucky to have such an accomplished nephew like you,” said Belinda with some deference in her voice. “You can cook and bake? Ha, that’s just great now. Where did you learn to do all that?” “Mainly from Tayo. You know that she and Treena’enrolled in cordon bleu classes while abroad, don’t you? They both cook and bake very well. I’m sure uncle Seb can testify to this.”
I don’t know why he had to say that, but Seb made to comment on that, and instead told him that we had to continue the journey since we we going to return to Lagos that day. Thereupon, he wound up his window and we zoomed off.
Belinda sighed as she returned to her duty of rubbing his arm. “My dear, I would have liked to sample the bush meat he spoke so spoke highly of, you know.” she told Seb.
“Bush meat will increase the uric acid in your system, to the detriment of your health, my dear.” said Seb with relish.
“Oh no, darling. Just this occasional one won’t do any harm. We don’t eat it every day any more. I do miss it. Can we stop on our way back, please love?”
“I can’t guarantee that. But keep up your hopes.”
“Or, I can get Edmund to give me some from his cooler. I’m sure he’s bought a lot of it.” , Seb glared at her, but said nothing. She laughed.
I must have dozed off at a point, because when I woke up we were passing through the gates of Tayo’s family house. The two guards rushed forward to welcome us.
“”’Hey,” cried Belinda, “can you see that? Edmund is already here. Did you know that, dear.? How did he do it? Hm! That jeep must fly like ~ plane. I just love it! Don’t you, darling?”
Seb grunted and we alighted from the vehicle. Edmund, looking relaxed, came out of the main building, with mama hanging on his arm. I rushed forward to grab her in a hug. She looked frail but well-rested and happy.
“Mama, thank God! You lo’ok sowell,” I told her.
“Treena, my daughter! You neglected me. I haven’t seen you for so many weeks. Have you turned your back on me?” she asked, after going to hug and welcome Seb and Belinda.
“Of course not, mama. You know that we had Heather’s wedding in Accra and well, we er, thought we’ll allow you to rest for a while and not bother you with visits.”
“Mama, we think of you all the time, and would have liked to be with you here all the time, but you need to rest,” Seb told her, going to brush her cheeks with his lips. “That’s why you haven’t seen much of us. Even this visit, I had clear it with Tayo first before coming here with Treena and Belinda.” Mama paused to think, then she told us that she understood, and that perhaps she would have done the same thing too.
We thanked her for her understanding.
“Congratulations on the wedding, once again. Tayo brought back pictures and showed me the dvds on of the wedding. What a gorgeous occasion. Pity I couldn’t make it. Your parents and Adeline looked so well, strong and young. Accra must be very good for them. The couple looked so tall and goodlooking together. They are sure to produce very good-looking children too. 1″m so happy for you all. May the Lord bless their union in every way. Amen.”
We said ‘Amen’, and then I congratulated her on her second great grandson through Tayo. Seb and Belinda added theirs, too.
“Ah, thank you all, my dear. I’m glad God has kept me alive to witness it. Poor papa! “
“It’s alright, mama,” I told her. “Papa lived to see the first great grand child, so, he was lucky too. He lived a very good life. You both made each other very happy. We all remember him with fond memories, mama.”
“That’s true, mama,” said Seb. “You and papa were so lucky to have each other for so long, even though we wish it were longer, but God knows best.”
By this time, Edmund had led us all into the sitting room and one of Tayo’s cousins who’s staying temporarily with mama, came to serve us drinks and snacks. After having her drink, Belinda went to whisper in Seb’s ear. He frowned heavily al).d looked like refusing her whatever it was she had asked him, then he slowly nodded his head. “Be careful.
The roads are not that good, and don’t go far.” “Thanks dear. Edmund will be with me, so, I won’t speed. Mama, I’m going on a short drive with Edmund. He’s kindly agreed to let me drive his Lexus for some minutes. It’s such a lovely vehicle. I haven’t driven a Lexus jeep yet. Seb darling, see you. Treena, er, would you like to come along?” Did she mean that? Before I could· speak, Seb said, “Of course not. She has to stay with mama. We both have to. Drive carefully, as I told you.”
“Thank you, dear, don’t worry. “ she said with a merry laugh.
Edmund came in to say he was ready. “Mama, I’ll be away for about twenty minutes, showing er, uncle Seb”s fiancee round the village.
When We: return, 1′shall start baking straight away.”
“Oh, take your time, dear. You have all weekend to do that, and while you tell me all’ you’ve been up to in Luanda.”
After they left, mama wanted us to go over all the details of the wedding. She rocked with laughter when we told her about the outfits we had left behind in Lagos.
“Yes, Tayo told me that. It was so funny. Our God is a wonderful God. Were you disappointed, Seb?”
“Mama, I must confess I was. It w!ls going to be the first time that I would dress in the same material with Treena and her friends and on such a joyous and important event. I was so thrilled when Tayo told me that she had included me in the plan. Mama, that daughter of yours has such a good heart. She’s so precious to me.”
Mama smiled and said Tayo is precious to all she comes across. “She’s a special person. The priest said so when she was being baptized, and events have shown that he was right.”
Tayo’s cousin came to say it was time mama went to have her siesta, so, she left. I told Seb I was going to lie in the hammock in the garden and relax. He said he would come and relax in a hammock there too. So, there we were, in our individual hammock. Some mischief got into me and I asked him if he wasn’t worried allowing his fiancee to go off with a man he obviously doesn’t like and has no time for. He looked at me briefly and then smiled, saying nothing. I asked him if he would have approved if I had wanted to go off with Edmund in his presence.
“Knowing how I would feel, you wouldn’t dare want to do that in my presence. I would stop you immediately and send the idiot away.”
“Why would you react like that in respect of an ex-wife, and wouldn’t mind when your fiancee does it? Sometimes, I can’t understand you. Don’t you care that Belinda might find Edmund attractive and they may have an affair right under your nose? Aren’t you jealous concerning her? It must be age.
You weren’t that liberal with me, and you still aren’t. I wonder why. It isn’t fair at all.”
He was silent for a while. “Look Treena dear, you must understand the difference. I have a heavier feeling of responsibility towards you than towards Belinda.”
“That’s strange. Why?”
“Why? Because I brought you up. You were barely eighteen then. That’s something to remember forever. I do care about Belinda. She’s a big girl, streetwise, and she can take care of herself any day. Now, I can’t help but worry about you all the time. You’re the mother of the only children I have, besides being my wife, so, you’re special. Any misbehaviour of yours would bring us grief.
I won’t allow that, if! can. I can be jealous, but I’m not, concerning Belinda. I know what she can do. Now, she genuinely likes driving fabulous vehicles, so, I let her, when she asks. No harm in that. Now, if it were you, it would be another matter. Let’s talk about something else.”
I wanted to protest that his attitude wasn’t fair to me, but just then, Belinda and Edmund returned, holding hands and looking very happy. “Darling, you should drive that vehicle. It glides like a plane,” she said, going to plant a kiss on Seb’s lips. Edmund disappeared silently. Hm!