ECHOES OF SILENCE – 3
“Where is this kettle now”, Abike muttered out loudly as she searched for the electric kettle from the kitchen to the living room for the umpteenth time.
“What is it, what are you looking for?”
“The kettle, the electric kettle in the kitchen. It’s not in the kitchen and I can’t find it on the dining table either”, she replied her husband. They had the living room to themselves, because other occupants had retired to bed.
“Umm …oh, I think you should check Mama’s bathroom. I saw Aunty with the same kettle earlier on.”
“Like seriously, what would my kitchen kettle be doing in a bathroom?” She winced as she rushed out.
Wale sensed Abike’s restlessness. She had been moody all day. Earlier on in their room, he caught a glimpse of her as he changed his clothing to attend the Faithful Men’s meeting in Church. She was fiddling with her Ipad and her lips were pursed in the posture it assumes whenever she was upset. He was waiting for when she would open up to him. She usually does not hide anything from him.
Since they were alone, he was sure she would spill her mind any moment. The time was 9. 53 pm and he was waiting for the broadcast of the Channels news at 10. To kill time, he had put on the desktop and was about to post his comment to a publication on Yahoo, regarding the death of Bobbi Brown. He also waited for his wife to speak up on what was bothering her.
He was, however, surprised when she bade him goodnight immediately after serving his night beverage. She usually waited for him to finish with the news, and they retire to bed together. He knew then that whatever was bothering her must be serious.
He was perplexed at the attitude of women wanting to be petted and given back rubs before they open up and air their issues, which usually multiply by seconds. His mother was different in this regard: outspoken and never feared anyone, she always spoke her mind, not caring whose ox was gored. His father had always joked that she could wear anyone down with her perspectives: you just let her have her way if you want any peace. He proved his father wrong by marrying his love, against his mother’s wish for him to marry from Ikirun or any of the towns nearby.
“How I wish she will just get to the point without me having to whine and whine her on what the matter is. Women! Hmm … necessary evils”, he muttered wearily to himself as he began to think of ways to get her talking and to ease her mind. The aroma of the Cocoa tea cut through his thought and he lifted the cup to, first of all, savour the aroma of the tea before sipping it.
“Hmm”, he licked the froth from his upper lip as the hot content warmed their way down into his stomach, leaving a trail of sweetness behind. Abike had made it the way he liked it: very creamy and sweet. She prefers black tea, but he had insisted on his own preference: sweet and creamy. She had learned fast not to impose her will on his since the early days of their marriage, when she served him Lipton because they ran out of Milo.
He had refused to drink the tea and had gone to buy his beloved beverage, in spite of the late hour. His silence as he prepared his tea himself had succeeded in unnerving her. Since then, he observed that Milo was always been in good supply and the ritual of the nightly sweet drinks for his relaxation continued unabated.
He yawned, as he felt warm and sleepy enough to hit the sack.
“Hello, hello, … beeni (yes), it’s me your mom. … Maa binu (don’t be annoyed), I am calling late because of the urgent information I have to pass to you. … Heeen, your uncle is hopeful that you will get a good job here in Lagos. I just got his mother’s approval for you to join us. … Okay, if you say you can’t make it by weekend, make sure you get here on Monday. Please, don’t travel in the night o. … They will hear and greet everyone for me too. … Oo, omo ola, odaaro oko mi (daughter of wealth, good night)”, she sighed contentedly as dropped the phone and rested her right hand on her cheek.
Everything is working better than she planned. She had been purposefully nice to Mama and her son and had accommodated her nature. In fact, she made it a point of duty to connect with Mama since Aderonke, her sister who is gifted with visions, had told her that Irewale was a blessed child and would be so rich in the future. On that occasion, the boy visited her village, not far from Ikirun, with his father on the occasion of her father’s burial and her sister had taken special notice of him as she greeted her in-laws from Ikirun.
She had been widowed much earlier than Iya Irewale and life with her five children was not easy at all. Aside from the several lessons she learned from frustration and poverty, she grew to be wise and made good decisions, one of which was the use of the revelation of Irewale’s blessedness to her benefit.
Hence, she often ensured she gave a little portion from her meager ajo savings as her contribution whenever Iya Irewale wanted to send food and provisions to augment Irewale’s stipends. It was not much as she had many mouths to feed herself: the four children she birthed for Odejayi and the daughter she had in Secondary school.
The death of Irewale’s father had facilitated her moves, as she often helped Mama in the farm and at home. Her niceties also extended to Irewale, her target.
Now she was reaping the dividends of her labour too. Bolu, her first son, was in his final year at the University of Lagos. He had been living with Irewale since he finished his junior Secondary School, and she had been spared the expenses of his school fees. He had moved to campus at the expense of his host when he had issues with the wife.
Angered by her son’s relocation, she had worked severally on Iya Irewale on the need for her to come stay with her son, particularly since his wife of six years had refused to produce a child. Mama visited Lagos and had stayed on almost a year now, only visiting the village when occasions demand.
When she was ill, she had bombarded her son and Mama with calls, making suggestive statements that she would die if not taken to a good hospital in Lagos. All her ploys worked well so far, as she and Iya Irewale are now resident in Lagos, and are referred to as ‘ara Eko’ in Ikirun, a feat that has upped her social status amongst the wives. To be in her host’s good books, she goes out of her way to be extremely caring to his mother and even attends his Church.
God willing, her other plans too will work out and her life of drudgery in the village would finally be over. Her initial desire to be a city lawyer may have been scuttled by the love deceits of Adeola, who impregnated her in school and ran off, she would nevertheless use her brain and the opportunities afforded her by the gods to relaunch her dream of success.
“Ah, at last, am almost there. Eleda mi, mo dupe o (my creator, am thankful o)”, she smirked as she held her head.
“Ah, Iya Dele, kinide ti ire ko tii sun, se ko si (why have you not slept, hope there is no trouble)?”, Mama asked as she rolled over.
“Heee, Iya mi (my mother), hope I didn’t wake you up. Am only thanking God for my health again ni o. My enemy would have died if not for you and your son. May God continue to keep and bless you both for me o.”
“Amin. But it is late now, lie down and sleep: sound sleep is also a recipe for good health o”, she yawned.
“Thank you Maami, a sun ji (we’ll sleep and wake up)”, she prayed as she lied down, watching Mama doze off again.