Ufuoma Otebele closed the door to her office and walked sluggishly down the stairs. The daily activities were becoming too much for her to cope with compared to what she got as salary. She found it hard to walk down the stairs that led to the subway station everyday due to the burden the thought of work and home brought to her shoulders. The station seems to be in a slow motion today, she thought, or was it just her imagination. She checked the schedule; her train wasn’t arriving until the next 15mins, how quickly she had gotten used to things in this part of the world. She had moved to Memphis, TN with her sister 3 years ago, leaving their sexagenarian parents in Nigeria. At first, she felt like a lost sheep on this side of the Atlantic Ocean, she missed home and felt heartbroken at the thought of how much she would have to change just to fit into the white man’s land.
The door opened and Ufuoma was welcomed noise from the T.V and yelling from the One year old Daniel-so much for living with a Married big sister. She greeted Sylvian who was battling with Daniel to change his diaper and was off to room, extremely worn out.
Dinner was almost ready when the shower was heard. Sylvian was at first surprised to hear the sound and was later puzzled that Ufuoma hadn’t had her bath when she came back and couldn’t wait till after dinner. Hmm, she shrugged off the thought and got back to fixing dinner. Ufuoma appeared in in a rather unusual appearance a few minutes later. Sylvian turned and was surprised to see her sister all dressed.
“How do I look?” Ufuoma started, giving her hair its finishing touches.
“You wouldn’t be asking that if you were having dinner with us” Sylvian replied sounding rather disappointed.
What’s the matter with her, Ufuoma thought. “Maybe I shouldn’t have asked” Ufuoma mumbled as she turned towards the door. Just then, Mr. Jackson came in
“Hello everyone” he started with a grin as he hung his all-weather coat “Why does dinner smell like Bombshell in love?” He asked jokingly
“I’m off, and I’ll try not to stay late” She said as she walked past Jackson. The door slammed and it seemed to let out echoes of ‘’finally, I’m out’’.
“What’s wrong now? What did you do?” Jackson asked as he walked over to his wife. It seemed like he always took sides with her sister and she was somewhat getting jealous of it.
“Me? I only asked if she wasn’t having dinner with us and she gets all fummy. Is it wrong if all I want from my sister is…” Jackson interrupted with a hug, her voice was breaking already.
“It’s okay, I know that feeling” Jackson sure could feel her pain.
After dinner, Sylvian did the dishes while Jackson tried to put little Daniel to sleep. An hour later, he emerged with a sigh of relieve, or was it more of victory.
“Did I beat your record?” he asked, sinking into the couch close to her.
“Of course not” Sylvian gigged as she rested on her husband‘s shoulder, they were a perfect match from heaven. Sylvian had always bragged about being better at putting the baby to sleep to sleep.
“Why aren’t you watching anything tonight?” Jackson asked reaching for the T.V remote. Sylvian only sighed gently.
“What’s wrong?” he noticed her numb mood. Sylvian sat up.
“I’m worried about Ufuoma, I’m not even sure what it’s about” she spoke in the manner birds eat. Jackson chuckled.
“Come here” he started, she leaned on his chest “ I know how you feel, you’re worried because she’s the only thing you have around here” he smoothed her hair “or are you scared she won’t find a handsome man like me?” he was a bit cocky now, she looked up at him and they burst out laughing. Truly, he was an awesome man and an even better husband.
Meanwhile, miles across the city, Ufuoma was trying hard to enjoy her time with Christopher, her fellow Nigerian who was also caught up in this side of the world. He had a fat bank account, a fine young man and definitely irresistible to women which was of course, was because of his wealth. They had met a few weeks ago when they had started out as business colleagues but with a little persuasion, he had become a friend but here they were, having dinner together like lovebirds-which to her, they’re far from being.
“It’s almost 10 clock, I better start leaving” she said, trying hard not to sound rude as she hid the real reason why she wanted to leave-She just wasn’t enjoying his company, at least not today.
“I was hoping you’d spend a night at my crib, c’mon it’s Friday” Ufuoma gave a startled look. His crib? There was no way she was going to do that. She took the last drink from her cup, acting like she never heard him but he seemed to have noticed her silence.
“If you’re worried about what you’ll wear, we could stop over at The Mall to get something, Victoria’s Secret? It’ll be cool, I promise. There’s a pool and a….”
“Chris!” she snapped, now she was really pissed with all his fantasies. “Never mind about dropping me off, I’ll take a taxi”. She stood up almost immediately to leave, “Goodnight”.
“Wait Ufuoma…” Chris sprang up from his seat; his call fell on deaf ears as she hurried out of the 5 hotel’s restaurant just so she’d avoid hearing anymore weird stuff. A car pulled up in front of her, she eagerly hopped in not really sure if she had flagged it down or the driver had seen her urge to leave Chris’ presence.
Ding-Dong’, she waited for a moment before pressing the bell again. Sylvian answered the door, Ufuoma looked at her wristwatch
“I’m sorry I’m late” she said abruptly as she walked past her sister, there was no reply and it seemed somewhat strange unlike other few times when Sylvian would whine about ‘security cautiousness’ and give a sermon about ‘the wee hours of day’. “Sister, are you okay tonight?”
“Yeah, how did your date go?” Sylvian simply replied. Ufuoma sighed,
“Like the others “she said, sinking into the nearest sofa. They both laughed out at this.
“Sshh, Daniel has already woken twice” Sylvian replied, “Get some rest now; we’ll talk in the morning”
“Goodnight” Ufuoma whispered as she watched her sister make her way into the room-such a mother figure she was.
The next day was a Saturday, everyone assembled at the living room for prayers as usual after which they all set for their normal Saturday morning chores. The ladies did the laundry while the ‘men’-Jackson and Daniel- tidied the apartment and mow the lawn.
It was past 11 O’ Clock when everyone finally settled for breakfast. Prayers had just been said when the doorbell rang, they all grimaced.
“I’ll get it” Ufuoma volunteered. God please, let it not be Chris, she thought as she walked over to the window to take a peep.
There was a Range Rover 2015 L.E parked in front of the crib, she gasped. Just a few days ago she had talked about Chris with cars, especially her love for a Range Rover which sadly enough, would cost her more than 4 years of her salary. Hmm, she mumbled, thoughts running through her mind as she stood before the door and took a deep breath.