Jacinta woke me up in the morning. I was surprised she woke up that early.
“What are you doing here? Did you sleep here?”
“Good morning. Yes, I slept here”
“Emeka and I are not married yet so we cannot share a bed”
“Wait o, you and Emeka I know have not had s£x? Emeka agreed to that?”
‘Yes, he did”
“Now I know what the attraction is. Are you a virgin?”
The question wasn’t what I was expecting. It was too personal to discuss with her. Emeka has never asked me that before. I didn’t respond. Her maid came out. She began to throw orders around. I laid back on the couch and slept off. Emeka woke me up a few minutes later and asked me to come into the bedroom. I came in.
“You know you have embarrassed me. Why would you sleep in the parlour? What happened to sleeping here. We have agreed to wait until the traditional marriage so why do you want everyone to know we haven’t done it? I want you to sleep in this room”
“I can’t. I can’t share a room with you”
“I will move to a hotel then so you can stay in the room”
“I want us to discuss something very important first”
“What is it?”
“I don’t want to stay here with your sister and her family. Please let me stay in the hostel. I promise you; I will not misbehave or cause you to be ashamed of me. Biko, help me”
“It is not you I am worried about. You see, in the university, lecturers take advantage of students too. But if they know you are related to my in-law, they will not try anything funny with you”
“They can know we are related without me staying here”
“How would they know? You have to be seen in his company often. If he drops you and picks you, they would know. Don’t even argue this; it has been finalized”
“What of their boys’ quarters? I can stay there”
“It is up for rent. It is expensive, I don’t think you need to stay there”
“I will tell uncle Emma; he will pay for it”
“Akwaugo, you are staying with my sister and that’s final. We won’t discuss this again. I have spoken with her husband and he will handle her” he snapped at me. He has never snapped at me before. Why was everything turning out this way. I was hurt so I gave him space.
I met his sister’s two adorable kids. I couldn’t believe someone so unfriendly will have such lovely girls. They came to say hello to me which I appreciated. I helped them get dressed for school and also helped feed the last child who was five years old. When Jacinta came out, she was surprised to see them ready for school in such a short time. She took them to the car with their bags and lunch bags and drove them to their school. It was 7:00am.
I saw the spare bathroom so I went in to get my toilet bag and change of clothes while Emeka was in the bathroom and quickly took my bath and dressed up there. I knocked before I entered the room, he was still in the bathroom. I used my sprays and left for the parlour. As I settled in, Jacinta came back.
“What will you have for breakfast? I have the ofe akwu from yesterday. Should I warm it and serve you people?”
“You will have to ask your brother; I don’t want anything, I am fine”
“Is it that you don’t eat or you don’t want to eat my food, which one?” she asked in such a condescending manner.
“She doesn’t want your food. Why are you like this Jacinta? You want to pick on her this morning? How did she offend you now?” Emeka asked as he stepped out of the room.
‘I only asked a question” she answered.
“What question? Well done. With all the foodstuff her family packed for you in appreciation of what you want to do for her you are not still satisfied. Please, this is my wife. If you can’t accommodate her, I will rent a place for her or put her in the hostel. I don’t want her to be unhappy here. Like I said, I will support you as long as she is here. I will carry out my responsibility”
“Mr. Husband, I don’t know what she has fed you with but then I did not force her family to send me anything and I didn’t invite her here, you asked for help. If you allow her be in the hostel or off campus, before you know it, someone would have already broken the hymen for you. It doesn’t concern me. She stays under my roof on my own terms”
“As the owner of the house or what? Don’t try me Jacinta, I will do what I have always promised you I will do. I am tired of putting up with your childish behavior. You are fighting with someone half your age. Someone you don’t know. She is staying here and she will be very comfortable. You don’t need to support us while she stays here, I have that covered” her husband replied her from behind.
Jacinta burst out in loud laughter, “You have what covered? I won’t say anything. Do what you want to do. I won’t be surprised if you have already done it. I am not going to quarrel with you anymore. If you decide she stays know that you have to take care of her. She is no more my responsibility”
I stood up and entered the room without saying a word. I didn’t need this drama before I fully entered school. Emeka said he was leaving the next day and I was worried about what would happen afterwards. I took my phone and called my mother. I needed to talk to someone. I locked myself inside the bathroom to speak to her. When she came on, I told her everything.
“Nwa m, Ada m, don’t leave that house. You will survive there through the means we know that works perfectly; prayer. Have you prayed about it? Have you
committed everything to God in prayer? See my daughter, if you make the mistake of moving to the hostel or any other place, that thing she declared will happen. Not that heaven sanctioned but so she can be able to say she was right. It is just one year and you will move back to Enugu. Stay with her; love will lead. Show her love and leave the rest to God. Inugo? Have you heard?”
My heart was bleeding as she spoke. I knew she was right. The person I experienced could stage a rape just to prove her point not caring who gets hurt in the process. I could see she was a housewife so she might need the money Emeka sends since her husband did seem to be giving her much. But I felt bad. Why did Emeka feel the need to trap me now? I had stayed chaste all this while; is it when I am almost there I will mess up or allow myself to be messed up? I cried. I cried until I heard Emeka knocking on the bathroom. I asked him to wait while I washed my face.
When I came out of the bathroom, he looked at me angrily and said, “What is wrong with you? Why are you acting as if I am punishing you? She is just acting up and I told you I know why. Do not allow her intimidate you. That’s all I will say. Are you ready? Let’s get to the school block for departmental registration. We will eat on our way”
“I am not hungry, thank you”
“Well, I am. So, we have something to eat”
‘You can drop me off then go and eat”
“Why? I want to help you out. You are angry with me I get but it is for your good. I will make it up to you I promise”
“I don’t want to eat; please just drop me there”
We went to the department. We spent hours getting everything done because of the rush but we finalized. Emeka paid for everything although uncle Emma had given me money to pay for them. The amount was minimal though. After all the stress, we drove out of school to a restaurant. He ordered Achicha which is a special
Nsukka delicacy. I loved it. It was interesting and very tasty. I was skeptical at first but I adjusted after the first spoon.
On our way home, I stopped by at a supermarket to buy snacks and biscuits for those in the house. Emeka looked me awe. I had no issues with the children and the maid who looked thirteen. I had no issues with their mother although she didn’t like me and I didn’t know why.
We got home and I gave the children the things I bought for them. They showed it to their mother while I walked into the bedroom to shower and change my clothes. I said a word of prayer as I went to the parlour. I asked, “Sister Jacinta, what are we preparing for dinner?”
She jerked up. she couldn’t believe what she heard. She replied, “I make my husband’s food”
“That is understandable but I can help prepare the things for the food”
“Is she serious?” Jacinta asked Emeka.
“She is trying to make herself useful, allow her”
She came into the kitchen and brought out the things she wanted prepared. I worked with her maid until everything was ready. I called her attention. She came in and made the soup. I handed things to her while she cooked. I boiled yam and pounded for dinner. I asked her to dish the children’s food so they would eat early and go to bed early. She didn’t argue with me. I fed them and helped to prepare them for bed. I asked permission to enter their room and she said “feel free”. I took them to bed by 8pm and we prayed together before they laid down to sleep.
While I was with the children, Dr Maduka came home. He went to freshen up and joined Emeka in the parlour.
“Thank you. I asked after you and I was told you were with the children”
“They are asleep”
“They are asleep? They don’t agree to sleep this early. Are you sure they are not in their mother’s room watching television?”
“No, they are asleep”
He stood up and went to check. He came back and said “Jacinta, they are asleep. Unbelievable”
We sat to eat dinner. It was late so I had a small piece with my soup. After the food, I helped clear the plates. I asked the bed to go to bed while I washed out the plates we used. She was also going to school the next day. I cleaned up the kitchen while they chatted and drank beer. Jacinta checked on me once and just shook her head. I was happy I spoke with my mother; I let love lead me.
The next morning, I helped get the children ready for school. By the time she came
out, they were having breakfast of bread and beverage. They had n their singlets,
pants, socks and shoes. She relaxed. The maid too was ready. Because of all she
had to do she usually skipped breakfast. Since I took over the difficult part of
bathing, brushing their teeth and feeding them, she had time for to get set herself
and have breakfast.