Read Chapter X here.
Bisi woke up with a splitting headache. She groaned as she touched the temples. She checked the time. Almost five. Oops, she was late. Fiifi was not in bed. She got up and rinsed her face and went to the kitchen. She startled when she saw Fiifi setting the table. He looked up when she entered.
“Good morning. I figured I’d prepare breakfast since you only had sound sleep for a few hours.”
“Oh…you should have woken me up. Let me take over so you can take your bath.”
“Don’t worry; I’m almost done.” Bisi let out a groan.
“Are you okay?”
“Terrible headache.” He walked up to her and felt her forehead.
“I’ll be fine after I take a shower. I’ll go and check on the girls.”
“Okay.” She went and knocked on the door. She opened it and peeped inside. Both girls were ready with Kukuaa tidying up her sister’s hair. Kukuaa turned.
“Hey…I overslept. Breakfast is ready. Why don’t you go down and start eating? I’ll finish with Esi’s hair.”
“Okay. Are you feeling better?”
“Yeah, just some headache.”
“You’ll be fine.” Kukuaa left the room. Bisi picked up the hairbrush and began brushing Esi’s hair.
“Are you still angry, mummy?”
“No, honey; I’m not angry. I’m sorry if I scared you yesterday. It won’t happen again.”
“Have you said sorry to daddy?”
“Will you cook for him too?”
“I will always cook for him, Esi.”
“So what are you going to do to say sorry?”
“I’ll think of something. I’m done. Go and eat.” She got up and ran out of the room.
Bisi let out another groan. She obviously wasn’t good at staying angry. She was the only one suffering now. When she joined the girls at the dining table, Fiifi had gone up to take his bath.
“Won’t you go to work?”
“I’m thinking about it. I don’t feel like myself. I doubt I can be useful if I go to work like this.”
“Next time, leave the anger episodes to the pros like me,” Kukuaa said with a sly grin.
“I’ll remember that.”
“Good.” Fiifi walked in and sat down.
“Not going to work today?”
“She’s not feeling well, dad because she was too angry yesterday. I won’t get angry again because I don’t want to be sick,” Ewuresi said. Fiifi smiled at her.
“That’s good, Esi. You should get some rest.” Bisi nodded. When they finished their breakfast, Fiifi told the girls to go sit in the car whiles he went for the baby.
“Why are you taking Nhyira to Grandma’s when mummy is staying home today?” Kukuaa asked.
“She’s not feeling well. Taking care of Nhyira would be too much.”
“Mummy will be fine. It’s just headache. You can take care of the baby, right mummy?” Kukuaa asked, staring her mother straight in the eye. Bisi bit the inside of her cheek. She’d love to have the house to herself but saying so would imply that she was still angry and she was too worn out to argue her point.
“Yeah, fine. Leave the baby here.”
“Are you sure it won’t be a bother?” Fiifi asked, not convinced. Bisi nodded.
“I’ll manage.” Kukuaa wore a triumphant smile as she approached her and put her arms around her and kissed her cheek.
“That’s my mummy.” Ewuresi came to hug her too.
“Be good at school, okay?”
“Yes, mum.” They left the room.
“Get well soon, B.” She nodded and he also left the house. She placed her head on the table and dozed off. She woke up with a start when she heard the baby crying.
“And my day began,” she said cheerlessly.
Bisi called in sick after which she cleared the table. She bathed and fed the baby and then took a shower. She ate some breakfast whiles watching the morning TV show. Her eyes would dart off to check up on the baby who was on the carpet, happily making sounds and clapping. She took some painkillers to help with the headache. Her phone rang and she took it.
“Mum! Been a while. How are you doing?”
“I’m good. You don’t check up on me, how would you know how I’m doing?” Bisi smiled.
“Sorry about that, mum. Have been quite busy these days. How’s dad doing?”
“He’s fine. How’s my son-in-law?”
“Is everything okay?”
“Yeah…we had an argument yesterday and I kind of lashed out at him. It was kind of ugly.”
“Oops, it is one of your out-of-the-blue massive explosions?”
“Yep and I’m so not proud of myself right now, mother.”
“No; I will when he gets back from work.”
“Good; the earlier the better. Send him my regards, all right?”
“I will, mum. Is dad around? Let me speak with him.”
After chatting with both of them for a while, they said their goodbyes and she hung up. Her assistant at work called to make some inquiries. She was still on the phone when the doorbell rang. She went to open the door to find her mother-in-law.
“Let me call you back, okay? Thanks. Please come in, ma.”
“Thanks, my daughter.” She entered. “Fii told me you were not feeling well so I should pass by when I have the time.”
“Oh no, he told you about it.”
“Told me about what? All he said was I should pass by to check up on you.”
“And the baby? Did he ask you to check if I was taking good care of him?”
“No, he didn’t say that. We both know you would. What’s going on?”
“We had a fight and I overreacted.” They both sat down.
“About the baby?”
“More or less.”
“Still struggling about accepting the baby?”
“I guess so.” Their attention drifted to the baby as he made loud sounds. Fii’s mother picked him up.
“When you look at him, what goes through your mind? How does it make you feel?”
“I see the one thing I couldn’t give my husband. It reminds me of my shortcoming as a wife. Anytime I see Fii holding him, all I hear in my mind is that I failed him. That I couldn’t make him happy enough with what I have given him so far,” Bisi confessed, tears filling her eyes.
“Oh, but why would you think that? You’ve been a wonderful wife to him and mother to his daughters. Why would you think you’ve failed?”
“Because if I hadn’t, he wouldn’t feel discontented enough to go make a baby out of our matrimonial home. But it’s not like it’s up to me when it comes to determining a baby’s gender.”
“Exactly; it’s actually up to him so don’t blame yourself for his indiscretion. He should have known better.”
“You should see how happy Fiifi looks whenever he’s holding him. It’s like he finally feels complete and I feel left out because I wasn’t part of it. I wasn’t the one to bring him this much joy.”
“But he brought him home to you, B. He could have paid whoever gave birth to him to raise him abroad or something but he didn’t. He brought him to you. He wanted to share his joy with you.”
Bisi nodded, tears falling on her cheeks.
“I really said some harsh stuff and I know I hurt him. I don’t know if he’d forgive me for that.”
“He will; he loves you very much, B. He obviously didn’t calculate how much it would affect the family but trust me, he’s beginning to realize it now. Nhyira is a beautiful boy, B. And he’s all yours. You may have lost yours but you’ve been given another one. God knows best.”
“Are you feeling better now?”
“Yeah, the painkillers seem to have worked. Would you like to have lunch with me?”
“Sure.” Grandma kept Bisi company with Nhyira as she prepared lunch amidst chats and counsel.
After Fii’ s mother left, Bisi thought of preparing Fii’s favorite meal to pave way for her apology later. Her outburst had drained her more than it de-stressed her. She had to apologize to her husband before the guilt overwhelmed her.
She was preparing dinner when the girls returned from school.
“You’re back? Where’s daddy?”
“The driver came for us.”
“Really? I thought he’ll bring you home himself. Maybe he has been held up with work.” Her phone beeped and she took it. It was a message from Fiifi.
Sorry for the late notice but I have to travel to Kumasi to meet up with some associates. Will see you soon. Bisi sighed. He was punishing her. He knew his absence would make her feel worse.
“What is it, mum?”
“Your dad is traveling to Kumasi today. He’ll be back tomorrow.”
“Oh, I wanted to tell him what happened in my class today,” Ewuresi said. Bisi smiled.
“Go and change. Then come and tell me about it.”
Fiifi put his phone down and sighed. He was in a car with a fellow colleague.
“How’s Bisi taking in your baby from another woman?”
“Not too good. She exploded yesterday. Wasn’t funny at all.”
“Is that why you pushed for us to take this trip today? This isn’t very urgent. We could have gone….”
“I want to close this deal as soon as possible. It has nothing to do with my wife.” He rubbed his wedding band with his thumb.
“I told you it was a crazy idea, Fiifi. You’re lucky your wife didn’t walk out on you that very moment you brought in the baby.”
“I know. I just hope she’d accept him as hers.”
“That would take time.”
“She has all the time in the world.”
After dinner, the Pratt ladies treated themselves to some ice-cream. After sharing a fit of laughter with her girls, Bisi cleared her throat.
“Um…I want to say something about what happened yesterday.” Both faces turned serious.
“I know I overreacted and I made everyone uncomfortable. I wish your daddy were here today so I could apologize to all of you but nevertheless, I’ll still say this. I’m very sorry for how I acted. Although I was angry with your dad, how I treated him wasn’t right. I don’t want you two to grow up and talk to your friends, boyfriends or husbands like that. Since we started this family, your dad and I have consciously tried to show you how a family should live like. Although we falter sometimes, I believe we’ve been trying so far. But yesterday wasn’t my finest moment and for that I’m really sorry. I’m not saying that when you have to say something, you don’t do so; what I mean is that when talking to someone in your anger or frustration, you try your best not to hurt the other person’s feelings. You have to get your point across without disrespecting him. What I did yesterday was the exact opposite and I hurt your dad and made you two sad. I can’t promise that wouldn’t happen again. Life can stress you out in ways you can’t even imagine but I promise to do my best not to get to that breaking point again, okay?”
“So, you forgive me?”
“Yes, mummy.” She sighed in relief.
“Can we more ice-cream?”
“Mummy, let’s watch Tangled!” Ewuresi said.
“Come on Esi, you’ve watched it more than twice already,” Kukuaa said, topping up everyone’s ice-cream.
“But it’s nice. Mummy, please?”
“Okay; we’ll watch it.”
“Yay!” Ewuresi ran to the living room to set it up.
Bisi and Kukuaa went to join Ewuresi and watched it for the fourth time but still had a good time.
After tucking the girls in bed, Bisi retired to bed. She lay there, replaying the previous day’s scene in her head. She knew her anger was justified but her reaction was over the top. In her ten years of marriage, this must be the third major outburst so far. She could remember the shock on Fiifi’s face the first time it happened. She had promised herself not to do that again but life happened. If only she could talk to him…she picked up her phone and opened WhatsApp.
Should he call to inform Bisi he had arrived safely, Fiifi thought as he stared at his phone screen which showed Bisi’s WhatsApp page. She was online. Who was she chatting with at this time?
Why wasn’t he typing anything? Bisi wondered. Or maybe he’s expecting her to do so first. But he was the one who traveled. He should let her know that he had arrived. She deserved that at least.
Does she even care if I’m okay? Or was she still angry with me? Fiifi thought.
Fiifi doesn’t chat online at night. So who could he be chatting with? Bisi wondered, biting her lower lip. Bisi heard Nhyira crying.
What the hell? I’ll be bigger person,” Fiifi said to himself and began to type. He realized Bisi had exited the chat. Oh seriously?
Bisi leaned on her pillows and put the baby on her bosom. She took her phone and reopened the app. Fiifi was offline.
“Ah well,” she said to herself and put the phone down. She patted Nhyira’s back.
“I guess you’ll be sharing the bed with me tonight, Nhyira,” she said.
Josephine Amoako © 2016
Read Chapter XII here.