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All her life, Zara was certain that by the age of twenty-four she would have been married and at twenty five maybe pregnant or already a mother. Because she was so keen on meeting this self imposed life expectation , more often than not she landed herself in unhealthy relationships. Every man that showed a little kindness was a prospective husband to her until they began to show their true colour.
Lost in thoughts, she gave deep sigh. Her biological clock had started ticking from the day she began to do the dishes.
“Keep breaking the plates, so when it is time to go to your husband’s house, you can carry the pieces. You say you’re tired now, is that what you will tell your husband when he ask you for food?” She remembered her mum words while she was growing up.
Husband and husband house were words that had been constantly repeated in every sentence and hammered into her ears. Her mum made it a point of duty to always find a way to mention husband’s house when she did anything naughty, as if her very existence were dependent on marriage. As she grew older and less naughty, she had rejoiced that she had finally escaped from the claws of husband’s house statements until her mother started to include it in every prayer she said over her.
“Very soon, we will come to celebrate with you; We are ready to eat your rice “. Her aunt had said to her the other day when they met at a wedding. She had thought her mum was the only pest, but it seemed everyone was determined to see her married
Zara groaned, rolling on the bed for the umptenth time. She was bored stiff! She was not used to not being in a relationship. She missed the love, affection, feelings, warmth and attention that came with it at the initial stage.
“No one to say let’s hang out, I’m here all alone on this beautiful Saturday morning” She grumbled. “If I had a better job I am sure I would have met interesting people. This receptionist job is just bad , I see only children, mommies and daddies.Haba! ”
“God forgive me” she added quickly when she remembered how long it took before she eventually landed the receptionist Job at the school where she worked.
She picked up her phone again and dropped it. Eventually,running out of ideas on how to keep herself busy, she picked a book and began to read. The first paragraph caught her off guard:
Man’s most respectable mind, intellect and reasoning are as corrupt as his lusts and passions….
“Hmmmmm”. She nodded.
She thought of the number of times she had tried to be good and at the end of the day she would end up being bad. Most people said she was nice and she had thought so too until she began to complain bitterly when the people she showed kindness to paid her with the very opposite.
“What is the intention of your kindness Zara ? To receive kindness back or to have a leverage over the person for a future need ?” Her best friend had said to her when she had complained about a girl she had been extremely nice to, only for her to hurt her.
The words in the book opened her eyes to her hidden sins. She couldn’t agree more with the writer, as she herself had experienced it.
“Truly, a respectable mind with the most respectable intent is corrupt”
She continued to read and was truly enjoying the book, when a call interrupted her.
“At last, my phone rings”. she said aloud before she received the call
“Goodmorning Zara. This is Mrs Cole speaking , I need your help urgently!”
Tayo cracked his brain looking for who to call. He unconsciously tapped his feet as different names popped into his mind.
He did not want to call any family member for help as he did not want anyone looking down on him or judging him. He wasn’t a social person and most times excluded himself from family activities. Even if he did decide to call a family member he was sure to receive no help.
He looked at his sleeping daughter. He had managed to survive the night alone with her, surprisingly he had enjoyed bonding with her even though she did not say a word to him throughout . Morning came too quick, leaving him confused and clueless. He looked at his daughter again hoping for a miracle, any miracle will do.
First of all, he was supposed to bathe for her but he had never done it before, Secondly, it was a saturday morning and the food time table read Bean cake and Pudding which he had no clue on how to make, thirdly he was also supposed to see Ibimina at the hospital but had no one to stay with Tami.
Frustration ate at his sanity but there was no one to pour it on. He paced the entire house hoping to get some insight on what to do. He felt like an insect trapped in a spider’s web with no way of escape. For the first time he saw the work and effort Ibimina put in running the home. He never imagined it was this hard in maintaining a home , Ibimina had made it seem easy.
“Okay God, you got me. I can’t do this on my own. Who should I call? who can I call? Please help me, I desperately need your help”
Not longer than two minute after he had said the prayer did he think to call Tami’s Head Teacher. He would never have ever thought of reaching out to someone in Tami’s school, let alone the headteacher who he had never seen before.
Guilt washed over him as he thought of one of the fights he had with Ibimina. “You don’t follow us to the hospital again, you don’t know Tami’s new doctor, you don’t even know her class teacher talkless of the class she is in. Even worse, you don’t have their contacts. Tayo are you a father or just a sperm donor?” She had raked angrily.
He had been tempted to slap her for comparing to him to a sperm donor . He found it very insultive . He loved his daughter very much and Ibimina had no right to make him guilty for not being available.
“You’re pushing me to the wall Mina, you’re really testing my limit. If you care so much why don’t you put the goddamn contact yourself instead of nagging me to death”. He had replied, flinging his phone at her.
She had cried that day but he had ignored her,now he felt remorseful. If Ibimina had not fought with him that night he wouldn’t have have been able to reach Tami’s school head teacher.
I am sorry babe
He now watched the window, eagerly waiting for the person to come. The Head Teacher had assured him that she’ll send one of the school staff who lived closeby to him. He paced the room, looking at his wristwatch , the window and Tami at regular intervals.
“Oh God where is this woman?” He groaned
He was almost tempted to call the Headteacher again to ask if her staff was still coming, but he managed to restrain himself even though the anxiety that had saturated his bloodstream was eroding his patience.
He increased his pace, grumbling to himself “And Ibimina had complained o. God I didn’t do this on purpose. How was I supposed to know she was really going through a lot. I am also going through a lot and I am not in the hospital. God please heal my wife and I promise to treat her right,if she change”
He paused in his thought , watching out for anyone coming towards the direction of the house. “But Ibimina why do you have to be a drama queen and land yourself in the hospital ehn” . He thought again.
And that was when he saw her …
A young woman looking who seemed lost in thought even as she scanned the street. Without thinking twice, he ran across the street to meet her. He had not met her before but he was convinced she was the one the headteacher had sent to help him babysit Tami.
Zara was supposed to be looking for the address Mrs Cole had given her but her mind was somewhere else. She was still angry that her Saturday was being used for work stuffs.
“The fact that I am not doing anything on Saturday doesn’t mean I am available for work. My contract is Monday to Friday, The fact that I am also not married do not mean I don’t have responsibilities”. She responded in her mind when Mrs Cole had pleaded with her to babysit for a parent.
She shook her head slowly, still thinking to herself. “If I was married with a child, will anyone think to ask me to babysit for a distress parent? Of all things to suggest. When my mate are going on blind dates, someone is calling me to babysit” .
Zara was still grumbling to herself when she felt a firm hand on the bare skin of her arms. Electric jolt ran through her body shaking her out of her thoughts. She felt dazed for more than a few seconds before she gathered herself together.
She should be weary of the stranger that had touched her but she couldn’t for he fit into the very description of the man she had prayed for – Tall, Fair and Muscular with a smell to die for.
Watch out for “Unaware’ -(6)
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