Picture this as an audiobook please while reading and critiquing, Please, thanks a lot.
“What gist?” I said, closing the door behind me. “Mummy please.”
I walked into my room.
“Hey this girl,” my mum said, suspecting the worse as she followed me into my room. “What went wrong this time?”
My little sister heard my voice, “Don’t start the gist without me,” she said, running to my room. She took her sit beside my mom on the bed.
As I sat down, i tried to think. Should I tell them the truth, or should I say something more interesting and juicy happened? I figured the phone conversation was juicy enough, but then I wasn’t supposed to have gone to his apartment, how would I explain that I had eavesdropped.
“So, we’re listening,” said my mom, looking at me eagerly like a nursery school child, waiting for the recess bell to go off. Anticipation of gist always made her that way, my mother.
“Tell us sister,” my little sister said with the same enthusiasm.
I was disgusted, and it showed all over my face.
“Oh my God she ruined the date,” my mum said to my little sister. There was no masking the disappointed look on her face. “What the hell is wrong with you?” she asked me, and then turning to my sister, she said, “I told you so, now just return the money back into my purse. I won.”
I felt so humiliated. How did I get to this place? Had my life with boys become predictable that my own family members could place bets on my head on whether it would work out or not?
“You’re not getting any younger oh,” my mother began the famed speech Nigerian mothers gave their daughters in situations such as these. “Are you even going to get married, I wonder. I think it’s time i gave up hoping for grand-children, at least not from you anyways.” She turned to my little sister, and said. “You better talk to her, this one pass me.” And she got up to leave.
I had never felt so burnt. I wanted to raise my hand and slap my mother at least twice for being so, in my opinion, stupid and insensitive. For thinking I was a failure, for forgetting that I excelled in every other thing, my academics, my christian life and all, for ridiculing me. I half wanted to curse her and tell her to wake up and smell the roses and stop living in denial, and that she was so nosy and irritating and that was , in fact, why daddy was always travelling, not for some stupid imaginary business trip as he always claimed.
I wanted to say a lot more nasty things, I wanted to hurt her as she had hurt me. I prepared myself, a mischievous smile forming on my face, but when I opened my mouth, what I said instead was, “Don’t bother dropping the money back sis, the date went perfect, in fact we’re going on another date tomorrow.”
My sister jumped up, my mum turned around like a swivel chair, and danced around, stamping her feet on the floor.
“Now of course we don’t expect it to get serious right away,” my mother said, businesslike, she sat down on her former spot. “No pressure, just see where things go.”
“Oya gist us,” my sister said. “Where did you guys go?”
“He wanted to take me to his house,” I said, cursing myself for being so cowardly.
“And of course you politely refused,” my mother interrupted hopefully.
“Mummy calm down let her talk,” my little sister said, tapping my mother’s hand.
“Of course I refused,” I lied. “So we drove around town.” I wasn’t a very good liar, and try as I did, no restaurant name came to my head, my lack of dates was really telling on me.
“You just drove around?” my sister asked. “Funny, I did not take the guy to be the stingy type.”
“But wait oh,” said my mother, and my heart raced. I hoped against hope that I would have a good response to whatever statement or question she threw at me. “Did he seem interested?”
I forced myself to laugh, a fake, confident laugh, as if to say, what do you think? and then I said. “Of course, he even tried to kiss me.” As i said Kiss, I remembered the way our lips locked unto each other, I remembered the fading mint taste of his tongue and the overshadowing champagne we had just drank then. I sighed. “But of course I turned my face and gave him my chicks instead.”
My mum and sis giggled like little girls.
“What else do you want mummy, I am tired already,” I said pretending to be dreamy as I lay on my bed. “I want to think about his face until tomorrow please. No disturbance.”
My mum let out a final sigh, and excused herself.
“Hmm,” my sister said. She sounded doubtful. “Did you take his picture, can I see his face again?”
“No I didn’t,” I said defensively, taking my phone out of her reach. “But i will tomorrow, we will take a selfie together in fact.” I relaxed better, and decided to change the topic. “Wat annoying thing did mummy do while I was away?”
As we gifted about other things, including how my mum had slapped a driver who had hit her car as they drove home, it was obvious there was something on my mind. I seemed very disconnected. That’s because my mind was on Philip, and the new mess I had just created. My sister left to answer my mother’s call, and remained there, thinking.
How was I going to play this one off? There was no way in hell Philip was ever going to call me. I mean the incident at the cinema was one thing, but this second incident, sealed the deal for me, and in a bad way. And calling him was not an option, I was the woman, I was the one that got angry.
And even if I called him, what excuse was I going to give him for acting like a bitch? The only thing that would make him call me back or even pick my call, was if he was desperate. The word desperate reminded me of the call he had had in his house. Wow, I was so worried about saving face in front of my family members who should be understanding by the way, that I forgot the main important issue, why the date went sour. What if it was desperation that made him talk to me at the cinema, that made him pick me up, to keep up an appearance? Or what if it was just a simple conversation he wanted to start, and my mother with her busybody took it for something else and blew it out of proportion forcing him to take me out, and he agreed just so to please her.
But why would he want to please a total stranger, It did not make sense. But he kissed me? But anybody can kiss, it’s what happens after the kiss that mattered, and then the call came in, and then I foolishly listened in, ruined the date, came back home, and got myself in this mess with my mum and sister.
What sort of problem had I gotten myself into. A simple truth would have sufficed. It did not have to be the whole truth, a simple “The date went bad.” And that was all, or I should have just kept mum and let them assume what they wanted to. They were doing a pretty good job assuming already.
But I know my mother only too well. She would be silent for a few hours, and then when she was ready, she would start questioning. “WHat happened?” “Was he smelly?” “Is the way he walked, is it the way he talked.” “What did you see? DId he hit you or what? you are too picky, you are not getting any younger, Lillian what am I going to do with you?”
No, the truth wouldn’t have sufficed with my mother. The lie I just told was justified. I told myself this as I looked through my phone contacts, stopping at Philip’s name. All I just needed to do was to dial, and know my fate once and for all. As easy as that, but I couldn’t do it, I just couldn’t press that dial button.
Then I was startled by my little sister’s voice.
“The date didn’t go well right?” she asked, standing at the door way. My phone slipped from my hand, and hit me on the nose.
“Ouch! I don’t get you,” I said, massaging my nose bridge. My sister came and sat down beside me.
“Mummy has been living in denial for so long” she said. “that she’ll believe anything if it sounds good enough.”
“I don’t understand?” I said. The pain had subsided now. “What are you trying to say.”
“SIster please I am not mummy, you don’t have to pretend. “You can tell me the real truth about what happened, I won’t tell mummy, especially if it means giving her back the one thousand naira i took from her pause.”
“Pretend about what? I asked her. “Please if you don’t have anything important to say, use the door. I am busy with my thoughts.”
My little sister took one good look at me, and then said. “THank God.” She clapped her hands and raised it in the air. There was something mocking about what she was doing, but I said ignored it.
“Thank God for what?” I asked.
“Thank God that the date went fine,” she said with exaggerated glee. “Mummy has been praying for you for years now, wondering when Mr. Right will come. It’s the only prayer requests she sends to Pastor Chrissy. Even as we are talking now, she’s making a call to dad to get you a car. And she’s extra happy because she had a hand in it.” My little sister paused, probably for effect, and then continued. “Do you know she was crying on the way home.”
And that was when I realised that she knew, but how.
“You’re an idiot,” I said “How did you know?”
“Know what?” my sister asked, feigning incredulity.
“You have been talking rubbish for the past minute,” I told her. “And mummy was busy fuming about the driver she slapped to bother about crying. You know the date went horrible, but how? Or has your gossiping skills reached new heights, you planted a listening device on me?”
“I saw you when you came in through the gate,” she explained. “You seemed angry, and then I saw you rush to the gate again, but the car already drove off. You’re lucky though, I increased the fire on the soup mummy was cooking, she rushed off when it started burning so she did not see much to conclude anything.”
“So you anticipated the date was going to go bad?” I asked, as the disappointing feeling threatened to drown me. It was one thing for my mother to think like that, but my sister too?
“No,” she said to me. “BUt once you arrived thirty minutes earlier, I knew something was wrong. Or is it not the same guy we are talking about here?” She sighed deeply. “Sister what happened, how can we fix this?”
I contemplated telling her the whole truth or select some of the truths, but then I realised that there was no way she would understand why I reacted the way I did if she did not get the full gist. So I told her everything.
“And you just left like that?” my sister asked, not believing her ears. I could not believe her reaction. “What if it was Regina you heard and not Reginald?”
“I know what I heard,” I told her matter-of-factly.
“But you should have confronted him there and then, It could have meant anything you know?”
“I know but I was just too angry and disgusted,” then I got up, pacing around. “I messed up right?”
“Yes you did,” she answered. At times she seemed like the older sister and I the younger. “You jumped into conclusions too quickly.”
“Did you hear everything I said?” I asked, still confused as to why she felt my actions were unjustified.
“Yes I did,” she answered. “And maybe if you had listened till the end like every eavesdropper worth their name, you would have gotten the full gist, not this speculation we are doing here.”
“So you don’t think he is?” I asked her, hoping the answer would be what I want it to be.
“I’m not sure,” my sister said. “But you said he was apologising for sleeping with some girls or something right?”
“Yeah,” I said, nodding.
“Well something doesn’t add up,” my sister thought for a while. “All these years you lived with mummy and you did not learn a thing or two about the proper way to listen in on conversations.”
“It’s not funny,” I said, as my sister laughed at me. “What am I going to do? And I think I really like this guy, for once I am happy that mummy meddled, but I have single handedly messed it up.”
“What we’re going to do is find out if he is what we’re thinking,” my sister said, she tapped her fingers on her chin. “This is one mystery I am going to enjoy solving.”
“I just said I really like him,” I said angrily. “And you’re talking nonsense about solving a stupid mystery, are you kidding me?”
“Yeah I know it did not come out right, sorry,” my sister said, patting me on the back. “But the sooner you know, the better, so you can move on with your life. You have his number right?”
“Yes I do, but I am not calling him.” I said. “I am too ashamed, I feel stupid.”
“We’ll wait till night,” my sister said, like I had not said anything. “If he hasn’t called you by then, we will call him.”
“And say what?” I asked. “And what mystery solving plan do you have in mind by the way?”
“I don’t know yet,” my sister answered, “But i overhead mummy talking with her friends the other day. She said that before she got married, every guy she dated never wanted to leave her after she had had sex with them. She said it runs in all the girls of her generation.”
“Are you mad?” I asked her. “Are you suggesting I have sex with him – to – to keep him?”
“No, that’s not what I am saying sister,” she answered, and I sighed in relief. “In short I don’t know for now but I’ll think of something.”
“Which means that’s what you were thinking,” I told her accusingly. “I just hope you don’t plan to put that theory to practise, because you’ll be very disappointed.”
“I’m not that stupid sister,” she said. “You don’t have to worry.”
“Okay good,” I said still disturbed. “I believe you.” and then I hugged her, all this while pretending like I had not seen from the mirror behind her, that her fingers had been crossed this whole time she made the promise.