– the funloving, but hardworking single parent
By Treena Kwenta
Hi Readers! Based on what nanny had told me, I did my best to avoid Seb too, so that peace can reign. I couldn’t trust myself not to bring up the registry wedding issue if I got him on my own. I was successful in this for a day or so, but when my siblings arrived from down south, that changed immediately.
”Sis,” said my brother Joe, jovially on telephone, “thanks for this very comfortable accommodation which you and Seb arranged for us. It must have cost you a bomb, but we’re worth it. The Lord says ‘a labourer is worth is wages’. You didn’t disgrace His Holy name by checking his servants into a crummy rat-infested place. God bless you, my dear sister. Now, we’re here on duty.”
”You’re welcome, Joe dear. Seb’s responsible for the type of accommodation you got, so, the credit for a satisfactory one goes to him. You’re on duty? I thought you’re here because the bride is your niece.”“
”Yes, there’s that, but most especially, as she’s a distant member of my church, we’ve come to rejoice with her and her bridegroom and the rest of the family, and assist with prayers. I learnt Milwan has arrived. I haven’t seen him yet. Where’s he staying?”
“He’s staying along with the bridegroom and his parents in one of Seb’s flats, just ten minutes by car away from your hotel. I saw him this morning, and he asked for you. He knows where you are, so, expect a visit from him tonight. He has to be with our in-laws, so that he can supervise the services they’re getting from Michel and Tayo’s steward. It isn’t that we don’t trust Michel, but you know how these people are when your back is turned. They may deliberately not answer a call, or forget to wait at table. We couldn’t take that risk. These people are coming to Africa for the first time.”
”You’re right, sis. We have to make our guests feel truly welcome, so that our daughter will be well-received into their family. Well done.”
”Thanks, bro. Milwan will bring the bridegroom to you.”
”That would be great, sis. Now, can you and Seb come see me this evening?”
”Er, I don’t know how convenient that will be, Joe. We’re so busy over here right now. Can we meet tomorrow evening, after the wedding?”
“I don’t believe you’re busy, sis. Rather, I think it has to do with you and Seb avoiding each other because he failed to tell you that Heather and Robert were going to have their registry wedding in London. Childish of both of you at a time like this.”
Ordinarily, I would have been very rattled by what my brother had said, but in the last few days, I had received several shocks which had hardened me to events. I merely sighed and asked my brother why he thought that Seb and I were behaving childishly by avoiding each other.
”Look sis, I don’t want to say that I’m disappointed in you this time around, but of what effect has the lectures you’ve been getting from brother Gabriel over the years been, if at your daughter’s wedding, you’re not on speaking terms with her father? Mind you, it’s not as if this was an outside child, but a child born of a loving union in a legitimate marriage. Even where ex-marital partners have been having bitter feuds, they sheathe their swords, and come together during their child’s wedding, to present a loving common front. How do you think the in-laws will feel when they notice that you and your ex-husband barely speak to each other?”
”Bro, thank you very much for this discussion. I’m really lucky to have a brother who’s interested in my affairs and happiness. God bless you. But a point to note, bro., is that Seb and I are on speaking terms. Granted we’re not falling all over each other, but there’s no way I can ever stop talking to Seb. Whoever told you that we’re not on speaking terms is wrong.”
”Well, Seb didn’t specifically say that, but it was implied when he told me of the frostiness between you. He admitted that he made a faux pas when he forgot to tell you of the registry wedding, but…”
”Sorry to butt in bro., but the same Seb told nanny that he didn’t tell me of the wedding because of the intense cold and snow this year in Britain. He didn’t say he forgot. He said he was afraid for my health because cold doesn’t agree with it. Bro, you know that I have no problem with intense cold whatsoever, and Seb was not telling the truth. Nanny of course bought what he said, and sang his praises. I didn’t bother to correct her. This was all in the interest of peace.”
”I know. I know. He tried that cold thing with me, but I reminded him that we used to call you ‘snow baby’ in the family, on account of your love for cold weather. That jogged his memory, and he said he had forgotten that, and he assumed that like him, you would hate to be in Britain this winter, and he didn’t want you to feel obliged to come. He thought it was best for you not to know at the time. He was afraid you might fall sick and be unable to attend this traditional wedding. He added that if he had remembered that you tolerate the cold very well, he would have told you about the wedding.”
”Do you believe all that, bro?”
”Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt, my dear sister, and put all that behind us. Anyway, I learnt that the bridegroom’s parents, though in London, didn’t think it was necessary for parents to be present, so, Seb probably acted for the best.”
”Hm, if you say so. You want both of us at your hotel this evening? What time? Seven? Okay, thanks a lot. Oh, I should tell him? I thought it would be best if he got the invitation direct from you.”
”Alright, Treena dear. I’ll speak with him. I want you both to arrive together in the same vehicle. Let’s start practising from now, the togetherness that will be on display at tomorrow’s wedding. Okay, sis. See you both later.”
”Ah, hold on, Treena. Ify is here. She says to tell you that she’s leaving for your place now in a taxi and that, she’ll rather stay with you and the gals than with me in this hotel room. Can you beat that? I thought we would make this trip a romantic one in a hotel and recapture all that loving feelings that we’ve put on the back burner for many years now, but she’s rejecting all that in favour of being with her sister-in-law and her friends. Poor me! Hold on for her.”
”Hello Treena, my lord and master,”boomed Ify’s voice. ”How una dey o?”
”Ify, it’s nice of you to come support us here. God bless you , my sister.”
”Ah, it’s my duty to be here o! Funke and I are coming down, so, that we can help wherever we can.“
”That’s great. I’ll text down the address, or better still, I could pick you up later this evening when Seb and I come to see Joe.”
“Er, that would be too late. We want to be there with the gals right now. That’s where all the action is. Your precious brother is complaining about being left alone. He wants me to stay enclosed with him in this hotel room, watching the telly? No way! Funke is anxious to be at the venue too. The address is on the invitation card. We’ll take a taxi. See you later, love.”
The gals were glad when they heard that Joe wanted to see Seb and me.
”God has answered our prayer,”said Becky in a relieved voice. ”We prayed about something like this. Let everyone see you and Seb behaving like you were still in love with each other, and still together. I hate weddings where it’s obvious that the parents of the bride or the bridegroom are alive, but no longer together, and are not on good terms. This one here must not reflect that, please. We thank God for using Joe to eliminate that.“
Seb sent me a text asking if he could come over to my chalet. I replied, saying he’s free to come.
Ten minutes later, he came, bringing presents to the gals. He knows our tastes, so, everyone was satisfied. You should see how the gals received him. It was like he’s their Prince Charming. They clung to him, hugging him and patting him on the back. He lapped it all up gladly. No, I didn’t join this circus, but looked on, amused. At last, he came over to hold me in a tight hug. There are hugs and there are hugs. This was meant to crush my fragile bones, for whatever purpose, but I bore it and smiled at him.
”Are we ready to go see Joe?”he asked. I nodded.
He took the wheel in an old Honda he normally parks away for his use in Jos, and we left. As we were driving out, the taxi bringing Ify and Funke was driving in, so we stopped and there was a noisy joyous cries of welcome.
On the way, he began to apologize for what he had done, saying it just happened, and that it wasn’t meant to hurt me.
”Treena dear, you know I’ll never hurt you deliberately, don’t you? I should have told you of the registry wedding, but it just happened that I failed to. I can’t really give a convincing reason, although I mentioned the cold to nanny, and something else to Joe. Please forgive, okay?”
I nodded. He sighed. “It’s a nodding session today, isn’t it? Well, forgive me, Treena dear and start speaking to me again. Unloosen the tongue, girl!“ I gave another stubborn nod.
Joe wasn’‘t having any of my nodding business. He got Seb to apologize in his presence, and told me to bare my mind on the issue, and then accept the apology. Frankly, the hurt has since evaporated. I was only making a pretence of keeping it up, to make Seb anxious.
”Seb, I forgive what you did. I was terribly hurt, but that hurt is getting less everyday. Let’s put it all behind us.”
He sprang to his feet to hug me. This time it was a gentle and remorseful one. I hugged him back and Joe prayed for us.
We were about to leave when Milwan came in with Robert and his parents. He was surprised to see us with Joe.
”Mum, dad, hope all’s well,”he said, when he could get us on our own. ”Nothing’s happened that I don’t know, has it?”
”All’s well, son,”Seb and I said in chorus. That reassured him and we went to join Robert and his parents who were chatting with Joe. Benny later joined us and he was introduced to the visitors. “”Where are aunties Ify and Funke?”“ Milwan asked. Joe explained that they were over at the family house. Later, we all had dinner, along with Joe’s church members in the hotel’s restaurant. It was an enjoyable evening. Seb and I escorted the in-laws back to the flat and had a night cap. It was close to midnight when we returned to the family house.
”God bless Joe for inviting us over,“said Seb, as we bid each other ‘good night’. The in-laws were impressed to see such happy togetherness.”
“True. The meeting was timely.” I agreed.
Well, some window dressing always helps, isn’t it?