Her lips spit venom. Her very presence spells doom for all. Her family hates her with passion. She has no more friends because all have tasted from her bites. Everybody want her out of their lives but she’s stuck to them like a leech. One unguarded moment led to a series of events which left her much more vulnerable than a day old baby. Bingo! Everyone wants their pound of flesh.
Charles Adams took a quick glimpse at his appearance in the standing mirror nailed to the cream wall of the master bedroom. A seventy year old, six feet tall dark broad shouldered man clad in an ankara outfit stared back at him. He had aged slowly, some say he looks as if he was in his mid sixties, he could accept that, but those who said he looked like he was in his fifties were liars.
He had lived a good life, retired as a renowned medical doctor, married to an extra-ordinary woman who bore him three wonderful children.
Martha, his first daughter and first child was doing very well in the banking industry. But her unmarried status was a weak link in her chain of success. She would be forty in two months time and he wonders how she fared emotionally. Whenever she paid a visit, she put up a wall labelled ‘I am fine’, painted with a plastic smile that barely reached her hazel eyes.
Dorcas, his second daughter and last child was married with two children who were in their teens. She was thriving in the event planning business and her husband was a famous professional photographer. She had planned the party and her husband’s assistants were assigned to capture the day in pictures. Perfect, wasn’t it? Nice to have these set of people in the family.
John, his only male and second child was also married; his beautiful wife did not conceive until after Dorcas had, had her two children, although John got married before her. He and his wife were doing well, lost in the work and things of God.
That young man could have done better things with his life. He had a Phd. in International Relations, Masters in Law, and Bsc. in Political Science. His qualifications were wasted in the pursuit of an unseen God, not that he didn’t believe in God, but, should one stop one’s life and jump into, into… What did John call it? Ministry, Calling? Yes, that is exactly what he called it, calling, a divine calling to be precise.
Charles shook his head, dark brows knitted in a frown. If they were doing God’s work, why did God curse them with such a trouble-maker of a child? Was Sheila their thorn in the flesh? That young woman could drive any sane person crazy with just a single word. He shivered at the thought.
“Young man! Don’t tell me you are not yet ready. Everybody is here!” His wife’s voice drifted into the room from the hall way.
She made her way into the bedroom and found her husband chuckling. One brow raised, “What is so funny?” Charles walked up to her and pulled her close, “At seventy, you still call me a young man.” Nnese tried to pull away, but he tightened his grip.
“No matter how old you are, you will always remain my young man,” She winked, “We have guests to attend to.”
He sighed, it was his birthday, a few family and close friends were celebrating with them. He would have prefered an uninterrupted day alone with his wife, but, a small party had already been planned before he could voice his desires.
His dark brown eyes drank his wife’s petite frame. At five feet six inches, curvy hips and bosom, she could carry herself even at her age. Her chocolate cream complexion hadn’t lost their glitter.
“Charles… Guests are waiting.”
“Queen Nnese…” He took a bow, “Let us attend to our hungry guests.”
She could hardly stop the laughter that bubbled through her. Her husband could be comical when he wanted to be. That was one of the reasons why she married him.
Charles and his wife headed for the garden. The moment they walked in, everyone seated got to their feet and started singing, “Happy birthday to you…” Martha and her siblings went over to their parents and hugged them, followed by their spouses and children. Charles thanked everyone for coming and the party commenced.
Sheila joined her cousins at a table. Edidiong and Boma came along with their dates. She wondered why they always bring someone new to every family event. Their relationships barely lasted a month. Why bother?
She wasn’t interested in a relationship at the moment. At five feet nine inches, with a slim body, she had had her share of admirers. But not until she graduated at twenty one would she venture into any relationship.
“Sweet heart, have you met my cousin?” Edidiong was speaking to her date, but was staring at her. Sheila met her gaze, the look in her eyes spelt mischief and she could discern that her cousin was up to no good. She had promised her parents that she would avoid squabbles, but if anyone brings trouble her way, she was more than ready to fight back.
“Her name is Sheila and she is the black sheep of the family,” She and her date started to laugh. Sheila decided to ignore them.
“Cat got your tongue?” Boma addressed her. He and his date were also laughing.
She noticed that they were beginning to attract attention. If she allowed her cousins to go on with their ridiculous comments, she might lose her temper. She decided to end the whole tirade once and for all, before it got out of hand.
She pointed at their dates, “If both of you think they are serious about you, then you better think again,” they all stopped laughing, ” These two cousins of mine bring a different date to every family function. I have photos in my phone as proof.”
Boma and Edidiong starred at her in disbelief. An uncomfortable silence settled over them. Boma’s date picked up her bag and got to her feet. He reached out for her hand, but she used her bag to hit him and headed out. He got up and hurried after her.
Edidiong’s date pushed his food away and dabbed his lips with a napkin. He drained his glass in one gulp and pushed his chair backwards.
“Sweet heart…” He ignored her and left the table without a word. Edidiong shot her cousin an angry look, “You will pay for this!” She threatened and ran after her date.
Mission accomplished! Sheila sighed and sipped at her drink. Martha saw her neice and nephew running after their dates. She wondered what was going on. She turned and saw Sheila smiling sheepishly. She left her seat and approached her, “When are you going to stop this unpleasant habit of yours?”
Sheila looked up at her aunt, wondering what she was talking about.
“Were you born to make everyone around you miserable?”
Boma and Edidiong returned without their dates. Their countenance brightened when they realized that their aunt was scolding their cousin.
“Must you wave your wand of despair at every family function? Can’t you be normal just for once?”
Sheila placed her glass of chilled chapman on the table and stood, the only way to avoid creating a scene was to leave. She eyed her self righteous aunt who didn’t even bother to find out what had happened before shooting blames and insults.
“Is it me you are looking at like that?”
Without a word, head high, shoulders raised, Sheila walked out of the garden. Martha starred after her in mad rage. “Look at this little ingrate…” She marched after her neice.
Boma and Edidiong exchanged glances, trouble brews for Sheila. Both teens went in different directions to alert their parents and Sheila’s parents.