By Treena Kwenta
Hi readers! I was anxious to know how Patrick, Seb’s youngest brother, who had been reluctant to go spend time with his brother in Ikeja on account of his grudge against Belinda, was able to spend more than the two days he had envisaged without an earthquake rocking the place.

I had no-one to ask for even though now reconciled with nanny, I had cut off all gossips,  sticking mainly to general issues. This was on the advice of the gals (with the exception of Tayo), who felt that it is my closeness with her that has encouraged her to take me for granted. Gossips from nanny is vital in making this column vibrant, so, being deprived of them was a bit of a handicap.

When Milwan and Heather got to know of this situation in the house, they hooted with laughter.

“Hey mum!” said Milwan. “I’m not a prophet, but I predict that the plot will collapse before the end of the year, which is just under two weeks.”

“I give it only a week,” said Heather, who was on an extension of their line.  “You both like each other so much and have been confidants for so many years that this must be misery to both of you! What will nanny do with all the news buzzing around in her head?  She’ll collapse with frustration.”

“And you, mum, how long can you do without hearing the latest goings-on that nanny delights to fill you in on? Don’t punish yourself, mum. Nanny gives you a lot of respect, and since she’s realized her folly in contacting dad without telling you first, let bygone be bygone and restore the closeness between you. Heather and I are over here, so, you both have only each other in that house. She won’t step overboard again. She’s too intelligent for that.”

“Also, Michel came over to help beg you. Forgive and forget, mum.” added Heather.

“Call her and start chatting with her again,” said Milwan. “She won’t have the courage to start a chat, so, you must show her that she’s welcome to come converse with you.”

As I was about to hang up, I noticed nanny pacing the corridor as she’s taken to doing recently, waiting for the curfew to be lifted, so, I called her in to come speak to my children. You should see how she raced to grab the phone from me.

“Allo!  Allo!” she wailed into the phone. “Ah, brother Milwan! Sisi Heather! I miss you both o! My children! Are you coming next week for Christmas? No? Ah, how are you both? Er, I may go to Togo for a weekend if madam allows. You know I was there a few months ago when papa and mama relocated to Accra. I dropped off on the way and was collected when madam and Auntie Ify were on their way back to Lagos. Yes, they were fine. Thank you. Ah, my children! God bless you. Bye, bye!”

“Thank you, madam,” said nanny extra respectfully as she handed my phone back to me. “Er, er, is there anything else you’ll like this evening, madam?”

“No, sit down, nanny. I heard you mention Michel and Patrick to the children just now. By the way, how did Patrick get on in Ikeja?”

Smiles broke out on her face as she heaved a sigh of relief. “Ah, things didn’t go too well o!  You know that he and Belinda quarreled?”

“What did they quarrel over?”

“Ah, it was terrible, madam. Michel, no, it was Robert who told me. He said Patrick complained that Belinda never allowed him spend even one minute alone in oga’s company; either in the house or in oga’s office.  Belinda kept following oga around. If she met the two brothers together, she would sit down and would want to hear everything they were discussing. Patrick got impatient one day and told her that if she didn’t mind, he wanted to be alone with his brother briefly to discuss family issues. She told Patrick that there are no secrets between her and her husband and that she was entitled to hear what was being told him.”

“Wao! How did Patrick take that? He seems a polite but hot-headed man to me.”

“Madam, you’re right. Robert said he uttered a Tiv war cry, sprang up and pulled Belinda out of her chair and told her to leave the room. When she resisted, he  pulled her up and marched her to the door.”

“Really? How did papa Milwan react to that?”

“You know that oga bids his time and hardly reacts when something happens. Robert was ironing in the next room when he saw Patrick marching Belinda out of the room. He said oga didn’t say anything, but when Patrick returned into the sitting- room, he told him to go bring Belinda back in.”

“Oh dear! What comedy! So, Patrick went out again to bring Belinda back to the sitting room?”

“Yes, madam. Then oga told Belinda that she should please allow them some minutes to discuss some private issues. She then said ‘okay’ and she left the room.”

“Hm! Papa Milwan handled that very well. It seems Patrick won the day since he had his way and he and his brother had the privacy to discuss family issues.”

“He did, because the next morning, oga announced that he would be accompanying Patrick up to Jos to see his parents.”

“Was that how it happened? Papa Milwan rang to tell me he was making a quick dash to Jos, but he didn’t say it was in the company of Patrick.”

“It was, madam. Hasn’t he rung you from there yet?”

“He’s been ringing once a day since he got there, and I’ve spoken twice with the parents.   They want me in Jos before Christmas while he is still there.”

“Will you go?”

“I’m thinking about it.  I haven’t yet told the children. He didn’t mention Belinda. Did she go with him, do you know?”

“Michel said she went to Abuja to wait there for him, and they will return together.”

“Ah, that’s is, then. It seems they didn’t want her up in Jos this time around.”

“They’ve never wanted her there, but oga seems to like her.”

“She’s good for him, so, let’s pray that they stay together. For papa Milwan to become a bachelor again at a mature age,  and then start another hunt for a wife would be humiliating for him.”

“That’s what Michel thinks too, and he says he thinks that’s why oga has remained with her. I think you should go to Jos, madam, to see oga’s people, since they keep asking to see you. You know these elderly people; you can’t say how long they have left, so, any summons should be obeyed.”

The gals, Joe, Benny and my parents  echoed nanny’s advice, so I hopped on a weekend plane to Abuja, and from there, the branch of my company there gave me a landrover and a driver to take me to Jos. It was the first time I was doing that and I felt great as we swept through the gates into the Kwenta’s family compound on the outskirts of Jos. At least, they (particularly Seb’s sisters)  will know that I don’t depend on him for a better life, I told myself. Don’t I? Well…

Papa and mama were sitting under a tree with Seb, having some fruits when I alighted from the vehicle in the evening. Seb rushed forward to give me a tight hug as if he hadn’t seen me in a million years. I resisted.

“Now, don’t you start that here,” he whispered into my ears, “otherwise, they will marry me off before I leave Jos. Apparently, that’s why they sent for me. I told them you have to be here too before I can talk about marrying any lady.”

“Why do I have to be here? It’s no business of mine.”

“It is, especially since our children are not in the country to vet who I marry. Anyway, don’t act as if we’re enemies. That way, I may be able to escape this time around and go to stay in Accra in peace.”

“But isn’t Belinda waiting for you in Abuja?”

“So, she is. Hm! Walls have ears in my house. So, you’ve been told that? Hm! Come and greet papa and mama. Take that scowl off your face and look delighted to see us all.”

“I am delighted to see you all. I didn’t know I was frowning. Must be because I can’t reconcile your being given a wife here with Belinda waiting for you round the corner. Could it be that she got a whiff of it and that’s why she couldn’t stay put in Lagos and wait for your return from Jos? I learnt she has prophets and spiritualists of all shades praying for her.”

“Oh my God! You women are impossible! I haven’t heard that yet! When did the rumour of that begin to circulate? You couldn’t have made that up, could you?”

“I might have. Or maybe I dreamt about it,” I joked. “Ah, papa, mama! It’s nice to see you,” I greeted them, my knees touching the low table in front of  them. Then I bent to shake hands with papa, and brush cheeks with mama “You’re both looking so lovely and fresh. You don’t age; especially mama.  I like that hairdo, ma.”

“Our daughter, welcome home,” said papa.  “I’m told you’re spending just two nights with us. Rest tonight, then we shall discuss our son’s taking a wife again. There are three ladies here we want him to consider and then choose one. Two are from our home state, Benue, while the third one is a Yoruba lady who grew up here in Jos. They’re all spinsters in their thirties. Now that our son wants to go to Ghana and live there for a while, he should go there with a wife. This bachelor status doesn’t suit his position as a Chairman/Managing Director of his company. Anyway, we shall discuss this tomorrow.”

“Welcome,” said mama, squeezing my hand, and then Seb led me away to the chalet that the children and I normally occupy.

My things were already  there. So also was a tray of food.  I bid Seb ‘goodnight’ on the doorstep, much to his surprise, and firmly shut the door and locked up for the night.


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