The banging on the front door was persistent. Ronke wondered who could be hitting the door so loudly this early and how they managed to get through the front gate.
Where was Abdul the gateman anyway?
She tossed on the bed, trying to ignore the incessant banging. Abdul can deal with whoever it is. Today was her ‘forced’ day off and she’s not going to let anyone or anything take over it. She thought to herself.
“Romoke!, Romoke! Romoke! O yoo ko sii, ilekun.” ( won’t you open the door?). Mama Ore bellowed in her thick Ibadan accent.
Not again. Ronke groaned. Not Mama Ore. How she manages to come each time Eghosa was away was baffling. It’s as if she had some sort of monitoring device to know when her husband will be out of the house.
“Romoke!, Romoke! Romoke”! This time her voice was louder than the first.
Ronke hissed and got out of bed.
How many times do I have to remind her that my name is not Romoke? But she insists on calling me a name I don’t even like the sound of. Ronke murmured to herself
Ronke stretched, trying to ease the knot on her back, but stopped midway when she felt a sharp pain. The pain in her abdomen reminded her of the reason for her forced time off. As she tried to move, her headache worsened and threatened to burst her temples. The dizziness also returned when she started down the stairs. She stood for a few seconds to stabilize herself. Today is just not one to entertain any visitors let alone Mama Ore. She opened the door to let in a petrified Mama Ore who pushed past her and eased herself into a chair.
“Romoke, today that is Monday, you are at home sleeping your life away. Eh, is this how you will give my son a child?” Mama Ore asked in Yoruba.
How does going to work help one conceive a child? Ronke thought
“Good morning maami”, Ronke greeted
“That’s not the answer to the question I asked.” Ronke
“Maami, I heard you the first time. I am off work today.”
“Off work? How many days a month are you off work? You are always not at work, abi are you gradually becoming a stay at home wife?”
Ronke could feel the heat rising to her face. She felt an answer form in her throat but knew the outcome would not be pleasant if she voiced it. She looked at the woman sitting in front of her and felt disgusted. The first day she set her eyes on Mama Ore, she knew the woman was trouble. Why her husband will give this woman continued entrance into her home is what she can’t answer. Eghosa will have to answer that when he comes home.
“So Romoke, it has come to you ignoring my questions abi? O ti da be ( it is ok). Give me something to eat.”
“Are you deaf? Give me something to eat.”
Ronke hesitated. How was she to let Mama Ore know that she is strictly on bed rest? How can she best politely pass it across that she feels too weak to do any chores or cook? How does she explain the pain in her abdomen that hurts so much that she sometimes feels like passing out?
Lord, I know I have been praying more for the fruit of the spirit, but this woman sure knows how to test all nine of them. Please make her go prepare herself something or better still send someone in sooner.
“Alright, alright. I know my way to the kitchen.” Mama Ore suddenly said
Ronke looked up at her surprised, and heaved a sigh of relief and gratitude to God.
That prayer sure got answered quickly
“Maami, I will be upstairs in my room.”
“You can go.” she dismissed Ronke with a look of disdain.
As Ronke made her way upstairs she heard Mama Ore muttering.
“Five years of marriage and nothing to show for it. Everywhere is so clean because there are no children here. Look at her watching her weight and looking so trim like she’s not bothered. Let Eghosa come home. I wonder why he is quiet about all these nonsense”
Ronke’s eyes were filled with tears. Tears of being misjudged and tears of the pain she’s currently going through.
If only this one had stayed she muttered. If only this one had stayed.
Eghosa (fondly called ‘Osa’ by family and friends) drove towards the gate. He had no intention of leaving his wife all alone today or any other day for that matter. She needed him by her side for comfort and encouragement as much as possible.
He needs to submit a proposal for a contract. Turning into the Complex’s parking space, he stopped and put the car in ‘park.’ He grabbed a brown file and flipped through it. The content is complete his eyes caught sight an envelope that didn’t seem to belong there. He pulled it out, instantly opened it and wished he hadn’t.
Greenwich laboratories and radiology was written in bold red letters across the top. He did not need to read the content as it held what he already knew and had tried to forget. The diagnosis the doctor had given to him and Ronke. They had gone to see the doctor after the second miscarriage and Dr. Ken, a man in his mid fifties with lovely looking eyes and a fatherly disposition, sat across the table from them and gave the diagnosis.
“This miscarriage was due to an ectopic pregnancy. It was going to happen sooner or later. The fetus was growing outside the womb. And …..”
Eghosa got out of the car as he tossed the envelope with the letter in it into the backseat. He felt fear beginning to enclose on him like a cloud. He did not want to relive that conversation because it shook every ounce of faith he had gathered for years.
But God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of courage, of love and of a sound mind.
Yes Lord, I need a sound mind, I need courage, and we need a miracle. He prayed silently.
Straightening up, he went in to submit his proposal.
* * * *
Ronke waited for her husband to come home, it was more of an angry than anticipatory happy wait.
How could he expose me to Mama Ore? For God’s sake, she’s not even my mother-in-law.
She exhaled loudly as she heard his car drive-in.
Eghosa stopped in front of the door and felt for his vibrating phone. He had gone to submit a proposal on behalf of the company he and Dele his best friend shared. They had started the company 3 years after working for an engineering company owned by a Jewish man.
He looked at the caller, Dele.
“Dee, how are you?”
“I’m fine Osa, just checking on you and Ronke. Have you gotten home yet?”
“Yes, was as about stepping in when your call came in.”
“Ok, in that case, I will call later.”
“Take care of Ronke, I will take care of the office.”
Eghosa smiled appreciatively. This was what he loved most about Dele. He understands, even with the little explanation he could give him.
“Thank you Dee.”
The door flew open before Eghosa could reach the handle. Mama Ore stood grinning widely
Oko mi kaabo (Good afternoon, my husband)
she greeted wrapping her arms around him
“You came home early, Hope no problem?”
“Good morning maami.”
“No problem at all remember I have a company of my own now and besides Dele is taking care of it.”
“Dele? which Dele? That ijebu boy?
Hmm, Osa, open your eyes, that boy will suck you dry. Ahh. Aye mi! Is it until he finishes you before you will listen?” Mama Ore protested.
Osa sighed, this part of Mama Ore is not new to him, she always trying to bring someone down.
“Ma’ami, Dele is a child of God and besides we are co-owners of the company. We have been through thick and thin together so relax. It’s okay. Besides, I want to enjoy today with my wife.”
“Ahh, omo dada.” she smiled. “It’s ok then. Romoke is upstairs. I told her to rest while I prepare food for her because she looked tired.”
Why does he have the feeling that her story is false?
Thank you maami, you mean Ronke is upstairs?, he emphasized his wife’s name.
“Let me check on her.” He said, getting up before another conversation begins.
Taking the steps two at a time, he hurried up the stairs to their bedroom hoping to find a sleeping Ronke but was surprised to see her wide awake.
She welcomed him dryly and looked the other way.
“Babe, are you okay?” He moved close, eliminating any space between them and planted a kiss on her forehead.
“Ki lo de?” (What is it)
“Osa, did she give you money to pay for my bride price?”
Eghosa looked confused.
“Mama Ore.” Ronke answered
“Where did that thought even come from?” Osa asked, really surprised at the bouts of questions.
“Because she seems to have a say in my home. She comes here unannounced, takes charge like she owns the place. She makes some statements and they are binding, and the disturbing part for me is that she’s not even my mother-in-law. I am starting to think she contributed to this marriage that gives her the guts to have a say in it.” Ronke rambled in one breath
“Remember, what she said the day we went visiting mum at Auchi?”
…to be continued on Wednesday