– the funloving, but hardworking single parent

By Treena Kwenta
Hi Readers!  On the drive down to Jos, I debated in my mind whether or not, to scold Seb for keeping Heather’s  registry wedding a secret from me. I wouldn’t have done that to him.  I wouldn’t dare! What stressful times could he have been going through that he could conveniently forget to tell me?

I’‘m quite sure his madam put him up to it, so that they could both attend the wedding and she would score a point over me.  Sorry, I probably sound a bitch here, but I can’t put such a thing past her.   Looking for ways to ‘pull Treena down’ seem to be the only reason she’s alive.

It was probably when Robert’s parents said there was no need for parents to be there, and they weren’t going to be there themselves,  that the demonic plan fell through.

If it had been successful, just imagine the scene: Seb and Belinda would pose for a photograph with the married couple, with the bride’s mother nowhere in sight!  And I’m alive and well!  Can you imagine the humiliation!  And it’s an event in which you cannot have a repeat performance. It’s gone and gone forever!

”Well, don’t make a song and dance out of it,” said Tayo when I tabled the matter before the gals, who had arrived in Jos before I got back with the couple from Abuja.  “God controlled the situation and saved your pride and your fury.  Be contented with that. Don’t go distressing Seb with your investigative theories, you Sherlock Holmes.  Let peace reign.  Don’t ask him.“

“Sorry Tayo, I disagree,” said Liz, with a firm shake of the head.  ”I smell a rat all the way. Seb is one of the nicest guys I know, but like many men, he may not always know when he’s being manipulated by a woman.  He should have allowed Heather and Robert to tell Treena about the registry wedding.  It would then be left to Treena to decide whether or not to attend.  It shouldn’t matter if Robert’s parents chose not to attend.  That’s their decision.  Treena should have been given the chance to make a decision on the matter.”

“True,” said Tayo, “but didn’t Treena say that Heather told her that it must have been the stressful times that Seb was going through with his woman that made him forget to tell Treena?  That holds water, you know.  It can happen to anyone.”

“But not to the extent, that up till now, Seb still hadn’t told Treena that the couple have done the registry wedding.  He even tried to dissuade her from going to meet them at Abuja airport.  Shouldn’t his memory have been jogged at that time and he would tell her that the registry wedding had been done already?”, was how Boma saw the matter.

“I wonder why the memory block was about an important matter like that.”, said Becky. “The puzzle was why Belinda had to be at Abuja airport to meet the couple herself.  But for the smart move on Treena’s part in whisking them off to spend a night in a hotel, she would have tagged along, and made it seem as if she had been delegated to bring the couple to Jos.  That would justify her presence at the ceremony, since we learnt that the Kwenta family said they don’t want her around them.

Seb wanted her to have that role, or she convinced him that she wanted to be the couple’s escort, and that was why he hadn’t wanted Treena to go to Abuja. She must have moaned to him that it would be very odd if she weren’t allowed to be present at this traditional wedding, since she’s his fiancee, and the bride will one day be her step-child.  Seb would then sympathize with her, and support any move from her to be present.  That’s how I see it.”

“Gals, you all have made wonderful contributions  to this conversation” said Tayo,”but let’s allow peace to reign.  Let Treena not upturn the applecart in her bid to make Seb feel terrible about his slip.  Belinda may have been behind these unsavoury happenings, but nothing would please her more than see frostiness between Seb and Treena.  Let’s shame the devil.  When you return to Lagos, Treena dear, you can do what you like with Seb.  Right here, among his people, let there be sweetness and light between you.”

“Belinda can’t attend, so we should stop fretting about any damage she’s likely to cause,” said Liz.  “Tayo is right to some extent, so, Treena dear, postpone Seb’s punishment till later. I don’t agree you should never ask him.  If you don’t, he might conceal the arrival of your first grand child from you, on the advice of his madam, if he got to know first.  Let him know soon how disappointed you were about the matter. Meanwhile, someone bring out the bottles of wine we’ve been chilling since we arrived and let the celebration begin. Don’t forget we’ve brought the whole of Lagos up to Jos with us, and people here are waiting to see us put it on show.  Glasses, somebody.  Let’s drink the toast of each of us.  Ready?”

Bless Liz.  We all got up and there was a flurry of activities in my chalet where we were all staying. We caused quite a stir with our laughter and joyful noise.  The premises was rapidly filling up as relatives from Benue State arrived for the wedding.  Some popped in to find out what was happening in my chalet.  I saw several faces of Seb’s relatives I hadn’t seen for a long time.  Some who were quite nasty to me while I was married to him, and some who sympathized with me for what I was going through, but who didn’t dare come out in support of me so as not to incur the wrath of the Kwenta family. I pushed unpleasant thoughts from my mind as I welcomed them all, and served them drinks and nanny’s snacks.  Two of the ladies got up and started singing and dancing a vigorous Tiv dance.  The gals got up and joined.

Soon, children rushed over to peep at us, and then there began a flow of elders coming over to greet us.  Any visitor who came to see papa and mama made my chalet the last stop before leaving.  This meant that poor nanny was kept on her feet, cooking almost non-stop.  I felt sorry for her and told her that for her sake, we would stop the feasting so that she could take a break.  We could even lock the door to the chalet so that visitors would stop coming to bother us.

She was aghast at the suggestion.

“Madam, we must not do o!“ she protested. ”I’m not tired at all. I have two women to help me in the kitchen.  Mama, that is, oga’s mother, sent them over. She also sent down a bag of rice, beans, flour, several tins of vegetable oil, and there’s a supply of meat every other day.  That means she was expecting us to entertain their visitors here.  I’m enjoying myself.  My helpers cooperate with me and do things my way.  Madam, this is our opportunity to show this family here that you’re a very nice person.  I’m sure they know that already over the years, but we would spoil things if we try to keep out their visitors.”

”But it’s not easy for me and my friends, nanny,” I said.  ”We hardly have time alone for ourselves.  We can’t go on walks for fear of missing the visitors.  We’re not relaxed.  We’re forced to dance anytime a visitor gets up to dance.  The others are not complaining, but it’s wearing me out.  I want the opportunity to feel free.”

”Sorry, madam, but let’s bear it all.  It’s our daughter who’s the bride.  We’re only here a week or so.  We shall shortly return to the life we know.  I’m enjoying the difference in our lifestyle.  It’s good to be the centre of attraction for a while.  It’s our daughter I’m sorry for.  She’s separated from her fiancé, and she’s closeted with her grand mother, most of the time.  I learnt that’s the custom here.”“

“”That’s true.  Don’t worry about Heather, nanny.  She’s fine.  You send her meals to her, isn’t it?”

”Yes, madam.  Oga told me to do that. Mama protested the first time, but he assured her that it wouldn’t be advisable for our daughter to have a drastic change in diet, and since I’ve fed her since her childhood, and I’m available, I should supply her meals during her stay.”

”We thank God for that common sense.  Her husband is staying in one of papa Milwan’s flats in the centre of the town.  His parents will join him there this afternoon when they arrive from Lagos.”

”Oga said so, madam.  He said that Michel and madam (Mrs.) Tayo’s steward will be coming with them to cook for them.”

”Yes. My brothers and their families, Sally and some other family members from Lagos, Ondo and Ekiti, will arrive tomorrow morning.  Patrick, oga’s brother, has booked them all into a hotel in town.  It’s quite a crowd, really.  I’m so glad they’re able to come.”

”We thank God, madam, that they can all come.  You know that oga’s madam arrived yesterday.  Oga arranged for her to stay with a family friend, two streets away as there’s no place for her to stay here.  I doubt if she would have wanted to stay here, or if the family would have wanted her to stay.  Oga asked me to send snacks to her daily.  I hope you don’t mind, madam.  He says she likes my snacks and food.  There’s surplus here, so…“

”I don’t mind that at all, nanny,” I told her; parting her on the back.  ”She’s our guest, remember?  Milwan’s father did the right thing.  Look after her well.”

“Yes, madam, but I asked him if he had discussed this with you.  He said he hadn’t because he’s already offended you greatly by not telling you that our daughter was going to have registry wedding in Oyinbo land before coming down here.  He said he’‘s avoiding coming near you, because of your reaction.“

“He told you that?” I asked, astounded.  Seb!  Shouldn’t he have come apologize to me rather than go tell nanny his sins?  I couldn’t understand that.

“Madam, don’t be annoyed,” pleaded nanny.  ”I think he was hoping that I will tell you how he feels about it, and that will lessen your anger.  I don’t support what happened.  He should have told you that the ceremony was going to take place.  Then it would be left to you to decide whether to brave the cold and snow and go attend.  He said you can’t bear intense cold, and since it was snowing this year, he didn’t want you exposed to such discomfort so that you don’t fall sick, and be unable to attend this traditional wedding here.  He was trying to protect you, as usual, madam.  Oga is so good to us.  He’s the best.”

”God bless you, nanny,” I told her in awe.

I mean, if she could believe such gross lies from Seb, it would be pointless trying to convince her that there was an ulterior motive behind that decision of his, and Belinda’‘s.

Snow and cold, indeed! What nonsense!   He and I, Tayo and the late Dotun, used to go to ice-rinks for indoor ice skating in those days!   He and I had built snow men while on winter vacation in a remote village in Scotland twice, before we started a family.   I can tolerate the cold more than he can.

Well, Tayo had said I should allow peace to reign.  Later, we shall see.

Tara.

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