– the funloving but hard working single parent.

Hi Readers! The ribbing I got from the gals for the way I handled my encounter with Belinda was much worse than the one I had got earlier from nanny.

Tayo, as usual, led the attack when I was summoned to her place for the gals to deliberate on the matter. Apparently, before he came to chide me for upsetting his madam, Seb had been to her place to tell her that I had been instigating his lady to leave him. She said she had tried to reason with him that I was much above doing such a thing, but he had refused to believe her. He told her that I was behaving like the dog in the manger who wouldn’t eat a bone, and was preventing other dogs from eating it.

“He got it all wrong, Tayo dear,” I defended myself. “In the first place, I would never be so relaxed in my conversation with his woman that I would start making such a reference. We don’t like each other, and that’s public knowledge.”

I then told my side of the story.

“But the sly woman went to twist the incident and made it seem as if you called her to your office in Ikeja, and asked her when the relationship was going to end in marriage,” said Tayo.

“Treena dear, our concern was that you allowed yourself to go into such a conversation with the woman,” said Liz. “When she asked you for advice about their stagnant relationship, you shouldn’t have responded the way you did. That gave her something to go twist to suit her diabolical plan.”

“But Seb got to know what transpired between us, thanks to Gloria, his secretary who had secretly recorded the conversation. That was after he had come to make war with me, based on Belinda’s lies. Gloria played the tape for him, and he tried to make fun of Belinda and me, as he told Gloria to try to sell the tape to both of us. That settled the whole thing. Embarrassed that her lies were discovered, Belinda stormed out of the house.”

“That’s true, Treena dear,” said Tayo, “but because you tried to give an answer to Belinda, when she asked if she should leave Seb, she had something to twist out of all proportion.”

“What should I have done that day when she came over to the office on a courtesy visit?”

“You’re getting annoyed. All we’re saying is that you shouldn’t have played into her hand by answering her question.”

“What would you have done in my shoes? Have her bundled out by the guards?”

“No. When she asked if she should leave Seb, you should have done one out of two things.”
“Which are?”

“You could have dialled Seb in her presence, handed the phone over to her, and told her to ask him that question herself. Or, you could have used the tried and tested famous one liner ‘No comment’. That virtually means ‘Shut up!’ She would have left the office in shame.”

“Those are good options which didn’t occur to me,” I conceded, but I couldn’t see how I’ve rocked any boat by my cordial reception of the vixen. Her plot failed, and that was that. No problem.

“Yes, that plot failed, but she devised another one, which not only rattled poor Seb, but now propelled them to the next level in their relationship.”

I didn’t understand what Tayo was trying to tell me, so, Boma explained further.

“You see, Treena dear, the embarrassment of the existence of that tape made her to run away from Seb, but she then twisted the knife, by not taking his calls or seeing Michel who he sent to find out why she was behaving like that.

She failed to meet him at the airport to travel to Ghana, like they had planned, and then she didn’t want any communication with him at all. That really got through to him. The poor man didn’t see that it was blackmail of the highest order. He refused to eat and that pleased her. When she felt he had suffered enough, she surfaced and it was all lovey dovey between them again.”
“Good for them,” I said, shrugging my shoulders.

“Yes,” said Tayo, “and now they went to Mushin two days ago, to see her people formally.”
That threw me. “See her people? What for? I thought they’re already engaged.”

“Well, Michel said that she was shouting at the top of her voice, the items they needed to buy to take along to go see her great uncle, who’s the current head of the family. She and Seb were behaving like teenage lovers; hugging and kissing all over the place.

She even took over the kitchen briefly, saying she wanted Seb to eat only what she cooked. Michel said he heard mention of Ikoyi or Victoria Island registry. He said Belinda was asking someone on the phone which one was more posh. I believe she’s really pushed hard this time to ensure that Seb marries her. Seb missed her so much, like you witnessed Treena, that I’m sure he would do anything she tells him; just so that she wouldn’t leave him.”

I digested this news, not knowing whether it should make me happy or sad. How will their tying the knot affect my life, I wondered. Luckily, she’s past child-bearing age, so, it isn’t a question of my children having to share Seb’s property with her. The land in Jos has been properly allocated to Milwan and Heather, thanks to the efforts of Seb’s parents.

That’s secure for them. The house I live in in Amuwo Crystal Estate is theirs too. Would Seb leave the family house that he and I laboured to build to Belinda? That shouldn’t happen. I had used my parents’ houses in Lagos and Ibadan as collateral for the various loans that we secured for building the house and setting up the factory.

May Seb live very long, but if he marries Belinda and kicks the bucket before her, it is expected that she would live in that house till the end of her days. Where would that leave me and my children? Yes, I know my thoughts were materialistic, but I needed to be realistic too. I can’t labour for another woman to come enjoy or even take over the fruits. These days, papers can be forged about virtually anything.

I asked the gals if I should prevail on Seb to make known to me and our children, his Will now.

They looked at me in horror. “This is not the time to hanker after the division of property, Treena dear,” observed Becky. “It would be in very poor taste. Let us hear that Seb has actually married Belinda. Let’s not panic. When he confirms to you and the children that he’s a husband again, then you can approach him about making his Will concerning the property you both acquired, public. He’s a lawyer. He should know what to do.”

“Exactly!” concurred Liz. “He can do worse than Belinda, so, perhaps it’s a good thing that they’re getting married soon. By the way, what would be our role if Seb invites us to their wedding?”

“Oh, we would attend and go give him support,” replied Tayo at once. “Apart from being our friend’s ex-husband, he’s almost one of us because of the huge support we’ve been getting from him over the years. He sort of er er, took FD’s place.”

A silent sob escaped from Boma. Oh dear! Tayo shouldn’t have mentioned her late husband.

We all crowded round her, patting her on the back.

“Boma, I just wasn’t thinking when I referred to FD, just now,” said Tayo gently.

“Oh no!” said Boma, drying her eyes. “I would want us to keep his memory alive in our discussions. Don’t pay any attention to my reaction at all. I think of him every day, and so do our four children. Sometimes, the two who are not yet married would send me a text, saying some nice things about their father.

They all used to ring to discuss their father, but I could see that this was upsetting poor Gordon. I had to tell my kids to limit reminiscences about their dad while we’re apart, to text messages, as I wouldn’t enjoy hearing Gordon’s children ringing him up while we’re together, to sing their late mother’s praises, or coming to do so in my presence. They may not mean any harm, but it would make me uncomfortable, as if they don’t want me married to their father.”

“You’re right, Boma dear. Second marriages, whether from divorce or widowhood, is never easy. We can’t expect the widow/widower and the children to forget the late spouse or parent. Still it’s insensitive to discuss the deceased in the presence of the new partner. Children do this, maybe innocently, but sometimes, there could be a desire to upset the new man/woman in the house.”

“Don’t I know it?” asked Liz with a tight smile. “I’ve been through all that. A second marriage can be quite tasking.”

“Liz, you deserve a medal in that respect,” said Tayo. “Boma dear, I’m glad you don’t mind our referring to FD when occasion demands it. Gordon is great too, but we the gals will always be grateful to FD for encouraging us to form this support group, which is still as strong as ever. Let’s observe a minute’s silence in his memory.”

We stood up and did this, and said ‘May His Nice Soul Rest In Peace. Amen!’

This pleased Boma so much that she went from one to the other, hugging us affectionately.
“Treena dear, would it upset you greatly if Seb were to marry Belinda?” asked Tayo, changing the subject deftly.

“Would it upset me?” I asked, thinking the question over, slowly. “No, I don’t think so. He can’t remain a bachelor all his remaining days. He has to marry someone.”

“That’s wise of you, because, Seb and Belinda are getting married next month. In a fortnight, to be exact. He discussed it with me, and then asked me to tell you and the gals. That’s why we’re here, actually. How do you feel about that?”

I smiled. “I feel fine. To me, they’ve been married ever since they began to live together. Making it legal now won’t make much difference. Or will it?”
Silence in the room.

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