By TREENA KWENTA
Hi Readers! Now I know that the odious Belinda does mean something, if not a lot, to Seb. Michel called at my place the other Saturday to tell me that Seb was behaving oddly.
“Ma, please come with me right now to Ikeja, and plead with oga to come out of his room and eat,” he pleaded urgently.
What he was saying didn’t make sense to me because in all the years I’ve known Seb, he doesn’t joke with his food. He never refuses his food even if you’ve had an almighty row with him. That was why I had been perturbed the other day he came to accuse me of upsetting his madam, and he refused to eat or drink anything at my place. He later apologized for this.
To hear only a few days later that he was refusing to eat at his own house was worrying. I know that as we get older, we exhibit some eccentricity, but I wouldn’t have thought that Seb would hide himself away in his room from the world, like a little kid, and refuse to come out. What was happening to him? Did anyone come round to upset him, I asked Michel.
“Not that I know of, madam. He had breakfast and lunch yesterday, but in the evening he refused his supper. I didn’t think much of that because his food in the afternoon had been heavy. I thought he had constipation and this morning he would bounce back with his normally healthy appetite. Not only did he refuse breakfast, he didn’t even want to come out of his room. In all my years with him, that has never happened. He spoke to me through a half opened door.
I asked him if he was alright, and he replied that he was. I asked why he told me not to prepare breakfast for him, and if I’ve done anything to upset him to the point that he would refuse to eat what I cook for him. He told me I hadn’t upset him and he just didn’t feel like eating anything, or even coming out today. When Robert went to get his clothes for washing, he sent him away, saying he didn’t want to be disturbed. I’m baffled, madam.
That’s why I rushed here. I thought maybe you can come persuade him to come out of his room, whether he feels like eating or not” “Where’s his madam in all this? Hasn’t she returned to him from her place in Isolo?” “Ah, madam, that’s another source of worry o. She hasn’t come back! Actually, they were meant to have left for Accra yesterday morning. She didn’t turn up here. I drove oga with his things to the airport, and we waited for her to arrive, but she didn’t either. Oga told me he wouldn’t check in until she arrived. After several hours, we had to return home.” “Why didn’t he simply call her on his phone to find out why she wasn’t at the airport as they had arranged?”
“He did several times, but she wouldn’t take his calls. He asked me to ring her up on my phone and I did. I guessed she knew that was going to happen, so, she switched off her phones.”
“He should have gone round to her house then, or sent you to find out why she was behaving the way she was behaving. Don’t tell me you went there and she refused to see you.”
“That’s exactly what happened. Oga got so frustrated that he went to bed early, refusing his supper. This morning, he has not stepped out of his room. Please come with me, madam. If you don’t mind, I’ll take you there in the company car I drive and return you here later, since your driver is not on duty today.”
“That’s very thoughtful of you, Michel, but let’s ring him up first before I go with you. For all we know, he may have reconciled with Belinda and she’s come back to the house by now. I would then seem the intruder when I get there. You know how much I like minding my own business.” “That’s true, madam. You’re right. Let’s ring him up first and then you’ll know if you’re to go with me or not.” I rang several times before Seb’s voice came on. I didn’t need to see him to know that he was unhappy. I asked him if he was alright.
“No, I wouldn’t say I’m alright. Belinda’s not taking my calls. She sent me a text message late yesterday afternoon saying she wants to end our relationship! Can you imagine that? After all we’ve been through together all these years! She just wants to throw everything away. I asked her if I no longer mean something to her, and she said she won’t answer that. All she wants is just get out of the relationship.”
Oh, I’m sorry to hear that Seb. I truly am. I’m sure she still cares for you a lot. Like you said, you’ve both come a long way together. It would be sad if the relationship ends now, at a time both of you should be looking forward to old age together.”
“Exactly. I’ve stayed with her all these long years because I’m fond of her, and because I don’t want to have another failed relationship. I don’t want people laughing at me; saying I can’t keep the love of a woman. I know I’m not perfect, but come on! I’m not the worst man in the entire world. I’ve always made her to feel wanted. I’ve never allowed her to lack anything.”
“Er, what exactly makes her want to end her relationship with you, Seb dear?”
“It’s a long story which is neither here nor there. You know how you women are – making a mountain out of a mole hill. Thank God she didn’t say that I beat her, disrespected her, or starved her. I’ve always been supportive of her and her kids.”
“So, what’s the matter?”
“Well, it’s a long list of grievances that she’s stored up like any typical woman, over the years. A list of my sins, she called it. I can go over them with you, if you like. You can then advise me if you find me guilty in any of the accusations.”
“Er, sorry, Seb dear. Er, my credit is running out fast. Would you want me to come over to hear all the details? Have you had lunch?”
“I’ve had nothing to eat since yesterday afternoon. After Belinda delivered the bombshell, my appetite for food just shut down. I didn’t want food and I didn’t want to see anyone. Can you believe that I’ve not stepped out of my room today? Michel and Robert came round; I sent them away. I’m beginning to feel hungry now, since you and I began this conversation. Your ringing me up shows that I mean something to you, right?”
“Seb, you mean a lot of good things to a lot of people. There’s no doubt about that.”
“Thank you, Treena dear. I really appreciate your ringing me up at this crossroads in my life; when I’m too old to start writing love letters to women to accept me in a relationship.” “Do they write love letters these days? You approach your love interest and then tell her what you want her for,” I teased Seb. “For love or for lust.”
“Treena! You and your mouth! I enjoy the company of Belinda in all aspects of the relationship, and for years, I thought she felt the same. Women! Blast women!”
“Including your precious daughter, me, and other female relations? Do you want all of us around you blasted out of existence? Including Tayo, Liz, etc.?
“No, it would be selected blasting. Seriously speaking, I would like you to come here. Come hear all Belinda’s accusations and advise me. Oh dear! I’m starving! Michel is not answering his phone. I’ve been calling him on my other line. How can that man abandon me when he knows I’ve not had anything to eat for several days? I’ll sack him, you know. Talk of thoughtlessness. “
“Seb, hold on. Someone wants to speak with you.”
“If it’s Belinda, I won’t speak with her. Two can play at this game.” “It’s a man not a woman.”
“I won’t speak with any man who’s your boyfriend, or wants to be your boyfriend. Who’s the fellow?”
“Stop being childish, Seb dear, and speak to………..“
“Oga sir,” said Michel courteously. “Sorry sir, I was worried and I came over here to tell madam that you’re refusing food and even refusing to come out of your room.”
I couldn’t hear Seb’s end of the conversation, but he was apparently heaping praises on Michel for caring. Michel kept saying ‘yes sir’ ‘thank you, sir’ over and over again until he returned the phone to me.
“Hello, Treena dear,” said Seb, his voice softer this time around. “Now I know that I have caring people around me. Fancy Michel going all the way to Amuwo to tell you he was worried about me. I feel so loved. Oh! Oh! Someone’s come into my apartment. ‘Who’s that?’ Er, hold on, Treena dear.”
“Seb, my credit’s almost gone. I’m going to ring off right now.”
“Er, yes, yes. Don’t worry. You and your phone credit! I’ll recharge your three phones for you.
Oh my gosh! It’s you! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Oh yes! Me too! Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh”
It was obvious that Seb was no longer aware that I was at the other end of the line, as his total attention was claimed by whoever had come in, and was doing whatever to him. His voice was ecstatic. I rang off quietly. I looked over at Michel who was speaking quietly into his phone; a broad smile plastered on his face.
Suddenly, I felt relieved. Whoever had come into Seb’s apartment as we were talking, must have brought him some joy. Could it have been Be inda or some other dame?
Michel put away his phone, a satisfied smile on his face.
“Madam, thank you, ma,” he said, getting ready to leave. “No need for you to come see oga. That was Robert on the phone. He said Madam Belinda has just returned with her things and was with oga in their apartment. She brought him food which she asked him to come serve them. Oga and madam Belinda are now at table and Robert says oga looks very happy. I think it was because she stayed away that oga was unhappy. Hm! We thank God. Goodbye, ma.”
I thanked God for the couple too. Pity I couldn’t have Seb tell me his list of sins before his dame returned to him. Some other time, I hope.