It was a cool Sunday evening in Abuja.
Shola and her mother, Mrs Olatunji, where sitting in the living room, sharing what Shola had assumed was companionable silence.
‘Your brother and Mimi are having a small get-together to celebrate baby Mirabelle’s first birthday’, said Shola’s mum.
‘Hmm’, replied Shola absentmindedly, as she typed in her answers for an online quiz on her phone. The quiz was entitled ‘Which Kardashian are you?’ She really hoped that she was a Khloe.
‘Mrs Kashamu’s daughter also had a baby recently’, her mum was saying.
‘Hmmmmmm’, said Shola, as she completed the quiz. Apparently, she was a Kim. Oh well…
‘And Mrs Ayo-Davis’ son Joe is back in Abuja from Atlanta. You know Joe-he’s Ade’s friend’, her mum said.
Shola reluctantly tore her eyes away from her phone’s screen, and looked at her mother’s face expectantly, while counting down silently in her head.
‘I feel that you’re not even trying to meet a nice man, Shola…’ began her mum.
Ah, this again.
‘Mum’, Shola started to say, but her mother continued talking as though she had not spoken.
Shola then endured an epistle about how she wasn’t getting any younger and how she was probably too outspoken for men’s liking. This, Shola thought, from her mother, the world’s most outspoken woman. She said nothing though, and just listened to her mother’s concerned words.
Shola thought about her mother’s words later that night, as she got her clothes ready for work.
She once thought about informing her parents that she was not even sure that she ever wanted to get married.
She had decided against doing so; they would probably burst into flames if she dared to utter such ungodly words to them.
Of course, she blamed Ade for her present predicament.
Ade, her older brother.
Formerly a ladies’ man.
Now happily married to her friend, Mimi.
And now also a doting father to Mirabelle, an Angel in baby form.
‘If Ade can get married, so can you’, her mother often muttered. It was almost like a mantra. Shola thought about printing the words on a t-shirt, but wasn’t sure that her parents would be amused.
The problem, thought Shola, was that to her, there was no problem.
She was happy being single at age 31. She was very confident in herself, her looks and her abilities in a very matter-of-fact way. This created a problem when she interacted with men who were interested in her. Flattery bored her. Insincerity amused her. Bullies annoyed her.
She was often described as ‘frustrating’ and ‘difficult’ by men she encountered, which she didn’t mind.
Shola loved being single. She could travel wherever and whenever she she wanted to. She only lived with her parents because her mother said it was ‘unseemly’ for a single woman to live on her own. Her father wouldn’t have minded if she lived away from home-as long as he knew that she was safe.
She took every opportunity to travel. She had gone skydiving, bungee-jumping and rock-climbing in different parts of the world, much to her parents’ horror and Ade’s encouragement.
Shola was an IT Engineer, a profession which made her father proud and which bewildered her mother. ‘But…won’t men be afraid of you?’ Her mother had once asked her. Shola loved her mum, but sometimes she felt the woman’s sense of drama was baffling.
She could sense the novelty of Ade getting married and becoming a father starting to wear off, and her mother’s attention shifting slowly but surely back to her. She would have to find a man quickly, before things got out of hand.
Or, Shola thought, I could just move to another country, cut off all ties with my family and live life as I please. The thought of doing so made her smile.
It would never work though, she thought, sighing with resignation.
Her mother would find her.
In the early hours of the next day, Shola woke up with a start, something her mother had said the previous evening suddenly piercing through her subconscious mind.
Joe was back in town.
She groaned inwardly.
Shola thought it was probably wise not to mention to her mum that she and Joe had shared a night of ‘passion’ before he left for Atlanta, on the premise that he was traveling and that they wouldn’t see each other again.
And now he was back in Abuja.
©Ivie M. Eke 2016.