Eureka marched into the sitting room, followed by her husband and daughter. Martha and her husband were seated on the cushion.
Daniel cleared his throat, “Good morning, we know it is early… ”
“Yes it is very early,” Eureka snapped and settled on the first chair she found.
The couple exchanged glances, “We apologize, we are actually here to see Sheila,” Martha addressed them.
John sat beside his wife while his daughter sat opposite Martha and her husband.
“Why do you want to see Sheila? You could have called, isn’t it too early to hold a family meeting?”
Martha coughed and leaned back on the cushion.
“Please excuse my wife. She had a late night.”
“Your visit disrupted my rest,” she added without remorse.
Martha got to her feet, so did her husband, “We apologize once again. You are right, we should have called. We know it is quite early. But, the earlier we… We will come back.”
Eureka looked at her sister-in-law, then at Daniel. They both looked as if they had not slept well. She felt sorry for them. Her attitude had probably bruised their state of mind.
“I am sorry, I become cranky whenever I don’t sleep well. Please sit down.”
Martha shook her head, “We will call, then come back.”
“Please stay, we insist,” John assured them.
They sat back on the cushion and turned to look at Sheila who had been watching them all.
“Sheila… ” She cleared her throat, “We don’t have the best of relationships. It is my fault.”
She watched her aunt, confused by her saddened countenance. What happened to her? Why was she taking the blame for what was not entirely her fault?
“Regardless of your bad attitude and… and the… ” She cleared her throat again. Daniel squeezed her shoulder. “I… I should have known better. I should have acted better. I… I should have responded in love. You know… What kind of auntie am I? What kind of Christian am I? If… If I cannot be Christ like,” tears slided down her face.
She had never seen her aunt this way. The woman always acted as if she was in control of things. But, she looked as if she had been broken, inside out. She wished she could wipe her tears away.
“All I am asking for is… I want us to… Even if we can’t… Can we… ” She tightened her grip on Daniel’s hand. She inhaled and tried to hold back the tears threatening to flood her face.
John and Eureka exchanged glances. Was this the reconciliation they had been praying for? They had been interceeding for Martha and their daughter for several months.
Sheila took a deep breath and exhaled slowly. She could hardly remember why or how her relationship with her aunt detoriated. She would love to get to know her and build a better relationship with her. Not just her, but every member of the Adams family.
“I am sorry too… I… It is not entirely your fault. I am at fault too.”
She met her neice’s sad gaze.
“I am sorry for everything. I would really like us to be… to be… to be…” She bit her lower lip.
Martha looked at her husband. God had answered their prayers. They had asked him for help. They had asked him to restore their family and he had done more than what they asked.
Eureka dabbed her wet eyes with the edge of her nightwear.
“We forgive you for everything. Please forgive us too.”
Sheila nodded and swallowed hard.
Martha got up and stretched out her hands, “Can I have a hug?”
She pushed herself up and walked towards her aunt. Her heart was hammering against her chest. Who would have thought she and her aunt would ever reconcile? She closed the gap between them and embraced her.
Daniel sighed with relief. He was glad that his wife and her neice were going to make an effort to build a healthy relationship.
“I hope you are both staying for breakfast,” John winked at his sister. She nodded and her husband smiled at him.
Charles and Nnese sat beside the pool in their tee shirts and shorts, watching their children and grandchildren playing and dining by the pool side.
“When was the last time they were this happy?”
“I don’t remember.”
“I am glad everything is sorted out now.”
“God is faithful.”
“Yes, he is.”
John refilled his glass with freshly squeezed pineapple juice. Eureka raised her empty glass and he filled it too.
“I feel refreshed,” he sipped at his drink.
“Same here,” she tore into a roasted chicken lap.
“We need to do this often,” Martha winked at her husband.
“Yes, sweet heart. All work and no play… ”
“What’s hmmm?” She eyed him.
“I will think about it.”
“Good,” she pecked him on the cheek.
Dorcas and Imabong got out of the pool and joined them at the table.
“Both of you swarm like fishes,” John waved a bone at his sister and her husband.
She chuckled and filled an empty glass with pineapple juice.
“Well… I will take that as a compliment,” Imabong winked at his brother in-law.
Boma, Edidiong and Sheila sneaked up behind Daniel and pushed him into the pool along with his chair.
“What in the world!” Martha got up and knelt at the edge of the pool.
Daniel started laughing and swarm towards her.
“You kids do not have respect again.”
They approached her with smiles all over their faces.
“What? What do you think… Stay away from me.”
They ignored her and pushed her into the pool.
“Three of you are going to pay for this!” Martha screamed at her nephew and her neices.
Dorcas and Imabong started to laugh. John and Eureka joined them.
Daniel pulled his wife close and swarm with her, “Isn’t this what you want?”
She stuck out her tongue at him. He grinned and drew one of her ears.
“Hey!” She slapped his hand away.
“Your sister can swim like a fish, what about you?”
“I am better.”
“I won several medals at different swimming competitions when I was in the university.”
“That was decades ago.”
“Race with me.”
“What’s the catch?”
“A thousand pounds.”
“Deal,” they shook hands. He called out to everyone and annouced the competition between him and his wife. Everyone gathered at the pool.
“On your mark, set, go!” John shouted.
Daniel and Martha dived into the pool and swarm as if their life depended on it. They both got to the end of the pool at the same time. They both won.