Read Chapter XIII here.
“And that is all that time will allow us for tonight. Make time with me same time tomorrow for another exciting session. This has been Today’s Woman with me Bisi Pratt and I hope you enjoyed spending time with me on the show. See you tomorrow and goodnight.” Bisi flashed the cameras one of her dashing smiles one last time before the credits started rolling.
“And as usual, you were on point, BP,” her producer complimented.
“Now hurry up and get out of here. Your family is waiting for you.” Bisi checked the time on her watch.
“You’re right. My boy won’t go to sleep till I arrive.”
“Awww…isn’t that cute?”
“Yeah, he’s very cute. I’ll go and wrap up in my office and then leave. See you God willing tomorrow.”
“You too, B.”
Ten minutes later, she was out of the building. She was opening the car door when she heard a familiar voice calling her ‘madam.’ She turned to find Fii’s driver walking towards her.
“John? What are you doing here?”
“My boss asked me to come over and drive you home. He just called to tell me you’re done and that you’ll be coming out soon.”
“But what is the problem? I drive home all the time.”
“I don’t know why, ma’am,” he said stretching his hand to take the car key. She dropped it in his palm with a sigh. She felt tired and she appreciated Fii’s intervention. She owed him a kiss for that, she noted with a mental smile. She sat in the passenger seat and the driver took off.
Nhyira was dozing off, his head leaning on his father’s chest as Fiifi watched TV whiles the girls were busily chatting on their phones which beeped every second and was followed by fitful giggles. Fiifi gazed at them for a moment and shook his head. Girls, he thought.
He straightened himself when he heard Bisi’s car pull over which made Nhyira wake up.
“Is mummy home?”
“Yeah, she just arrived.” Nhyira rushed out of the room towards the kitchen.
Bisi opened the door and announced, “I’m home, darlings!” She closed the door. When she turned around, she saw Nhyira running towards her holding a white rose.
“Mummy, for you!”
“Awww…thank you! Where did you get it?” She said, taking it and smelling it.
“He stole it from me. It was supposed to be my gift to you but I guess he beat me to it,” Fiifi said as he made his way towards her. Nhyira was grinning proudly.
“You’re so sweet! You’re indeed your father’s son.” She squatted and gave him a hug. He kissed her cheek.
“And he kissed me. Oh, I’m feeling loved tonight!”
“Why is mum getting all the male attention in the house?” Kukuaa asked.
“Well, because I’m the woman of the house. When you get your husband and your home, you can choose to share your male attention if you want and play pilolo with it.” Kukuaa shook her head and continued her chatting. She hugged her husband.
“Thanks for sending the driver to me. You’re heaven-sent.”
“You’re welcome.” They broke apart.
“Mummy, I want to sleep.”
“Of course; it’s way past your bedtime. Let’s go.” She took his hand.
“How are my Pratt ladies doing?”
“Fine, mummy!” They both sang out.
“You tuck him in; I’ll warm up dinner.”
“Okay, thanks. Hope you’ve eaten.”
“No, I was waiting for you.”
“Oh, then you must be hungry.” Nhyira pulled her arm.
“Let’s go. Isn’t it time for you girls to go to bed?”
“We are not babies anymore, mum,” Ewuresi said.
“Well, you’ll always be my babies. Up, up; you’re all going to your rooms. Follow me.” Fiifi smiled admiringly as he watched them climb the stairs. He walked to the kitchen to make dinner ready.
After dishing out the food and setting it on the table, he sat down to check his emails. Bisi came downstairs wearing one of Fii’s oversized T-shirts. She wrapped her arms around his neck from behind and kissed his neck. He turned to look at her.
“Hey, you’re wearing that. It’s been a while since you last wore it.”
“I know.” She sat down beside him and pulled the plate towards them. She took a fork, closed her eyes for a few seconds and dug in. She heaped the fork with the rice and fed Fiifi.
“So how was work?” He nodded as he chewed on the gizzard.
“Good; we’re considering taking over one of these entrepreneurial startup consults springing up. It looks like it has a lot of prospects.”
“Oh okay. That’s good. Still expanding, huh?”
“Yep; for you, the girls and Nhyira.” She smiled.
“Thank you.” He stared at the T-shirt she was wearing.
“So, is that an invitation or what?” He said, tugging at it.
“Nope,” she answered instantly and resumed eating.
“Why not? We have the whole downstairs to ourselves.”
“And you seem to have forgotten that we have three super curious kids upstairs. I don’t want us to traumatize them.”
“Oh, what trauma? They will get over it. I did.” She gave him a curious glance. He shrugged.
“I don’t kiss-and-tell, B.” Bisi laughed. They finished their dinner and Bisi cleared the table and washed the plate. After putting the kitchen in order, she turned to face a serious-faced Fii.
“What are you thinking about? Remembered something you have to do at work?”
“Oh no; I’m just thinking of what I can do to change your mind.”
“Oh my dear Fii; you don’t have to stress out your brain over that. Just do one thing you haven’t done in a long while and I might consider it.”
“What, painting your nails?” Bisi laughed.
“You did that?”
“Oh yeah, during our hay days. I remember that look on your face as I did. Come to think of it, I’ve done a lot of silly things for love.” Bisi laughed harder.
“What silly thing have you done for me?” He asked.
“Oh why, we are doing a checklist now?” She took a piece of chocolate from the fridge and bit into it. She put the rest in his mouth and licked her fingers. He squatted.
“What are you doing?”
“Get on my back.”
“Haha…In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve gained weight and I don’t want you breaking you back for me. It’s sweet of you but I’m going to pass.”
“Come on, I won’t drop you. I promise.”
“Fii, I think it’s a bad…” He took her hand and pulled her over making her fall on his back. She screamed. He carried her up the stairs.
When they got upstairs, the door to Kukuaa’s room opened and Ewuresi’s head appeared.
“What’s going on?” Fii paused and Bisi stopped giggling; both staring at their daughter with a sheepish grin.
“I see,” Ewuresi said, after taking a good look at them.
“What is it, Esi?” Kukuaa asked from inside.
“Mum and Dad are ‘chopping’ love. Goodnight!”
“Why aren’t you in bed, Esi?” Bisi asked.
“Kuks and I are watching something. I’ll soon go to bed. Goodnight and lock your door,” she said and closed the door. Husband and wife glanced at each other and broke into laughter. He opened their door and entered. He let her down his back. They both sighed.
“I think I need a massage,” he moaned.
“I told you you’d hurt your back.”
“Oh I knew that but I needed a legitimate reason to get that massage.” She chuckled. She hugged him.
“You’re the best.”
Nhyira’s teacher came up with a class activity where the pupils had to introduce themselves to the class. She wrote the questions to which they were to answer on the board. It made the class interesting as almost every kid said something they could all laugh about. When the fourth one finished hers, the teacher looked around the class to call the next one. Most of them had their hands raised.
“Nhyira, your turn.” He went to stand in front of the class.
“My name is Nhyira Pratt. I am four years old. My father’s name is Mr. Fiifi Pratt. My mother’s name is Mrs. Bisi Pratt. My first sister is called Kukuaa Pratt and my second sister is called Ewuresi Pratt. My father is a boss and my mother talks on TV. I love my family because they are nice. I am special to the family because they love me and because I’m adopted.” The teacher blinked.
“You’re what?” she asked.
“I’m adopted. It means I’m the last to join the family.” The teacher gave a nervous laugh.
“Of course it is. Thank you, Nhyira. Everyone clap for him.” The class applauded as he went to his seat.
When school closed, Kukuaa came over to pick him up.
“Good afternoon, Ms. Thompson.”
“Good afternoon, Kukuaa. How are you?”
“I’m fine, thank you.” Nhyira saw her and waved. She waved back. He began packing his things.
“Ms. Pratt, um…we were having this self-introductory exercise today and Nhyira said something…I don’t know how to call it. I know it’s none of my business but what he said after kind of confused me.”
“What did he say?”
“He said he was adopted.” Kukuaa’s eyes widened.
“I must say I was surprised because he does look like your father. I don’t know who told him he was but maybe you could talk to him about that.”
“Sure, I will. Thanks, Ms. Thompson.” Nhyira had walked up to them now. Kukuaa smiled as she took his hand.
“Say goodbye to Ms. Thompson, Nhyira.”
“Goodbye,” he said with a wave.
“Goodbye, Nhyira. See you tomorrow.” They walked out of the class.
They sat at their usual spot on a bench as they waited to be picked up.
“So how was class today?” Kukuaa asked.
“It was okay.”
“What did you do today?”
“We learnt a rhyme today and we told the class about ourselves.”
“I see; what did you say?”
“I said my name, daddy and mummy’s names; your name and Ewuresi’s name. I said their work and then I said I was special because everyone loves me and because I’m adopted.” Kukuaa shifted uncomfortably on the bench. It was almost painful to hear the word.
“What do you understand by the word ‘adopted’, Nhyira?”
“Mummy said it means I’m the last to join the family and that everyone loves me.”
Kukuaa couldn’t fathom why their mother would use the word in the first place. She had to ask her.
“It is true that we all love you and that you’re the last to join the family but you’re not adopted.”
Nhyira gave her a puzzled look.
“But daddy’s friends from church said I was adopted.” Oh, so that’s where it came from.
“They are wrong. They think you’re adopted but you are not. Adopted children are kids who are born by someone and are taken to live with another person. Do you understand?” He nodded.
“Good; but you were not taken from anyone. My mum and dad are your mum and dad so you’re not adopted.”
“Okay; so why would daddy’s friends call me adopted?”
“I don’t know; they just guessed, I think. So next time, don’t say you’re adopted, okay?”
“Okay.” Kukuaa pulled his cheek and he giggled. Ewuresi walked up to them and sat next to Nhyira. She offered both of them spring rolls which she was holding wrapped in a polythene bag. Kukuaa and Nhyira took one each. They all bit into theirs and the girls moaned at its crispness.
A few minutes later, their car pulled up and Nhyira was the first to notice it. He pointed at it.
“It’s John. Let’s go.”
Later that night, after Fiifi had tucked Nhyira in bed, he joined the rest of the family in the living room as they watched one of Madea’s stage plays on TV.
“Dad, mum, there’s something I need to tell you.”
“Okay, what is it?”
“Nhyira’s teacher told me today that Nhyira during one of their class exercises, referred to himself as adopted.” Fii and Bisi glanced at each other.
“Why would he say that?” Ewuresi asked.
“He said your friends from church called him that and apparently, it stuck in his head. And the definition you gave him made him think it was cool to mention it to the class.”
“Yep; but I spoke to him and cleared the air. So he understands he’s not adopted but we love him and he’s the last to join the family,” Kukuaa said. Bisi sighed in relief.
“Thanks, Kuks; I didn’t want to confuse him by contradicting what the deacons said. I’m glad you corrected him.”
“You’re welcome. I’ll go to bed now. Esi, are you coming?” Esi got up.
“Yeah. Goodnight, mum.” She hugged her parents. Fiifi kissed her forehead.
“Sweet dreams, my love.”
“Don’t forget to pray before you sleep, okay?” Bisi reminded them.
“Okay, mummy. Pray for me too; I’ve a test tomorrow,” Kukuaa said as she hugged them.
“Goodnight, sweetie,” Fiifi said. The girls left them.
“Whew! I’m glad Kukuaa was able to resolve this. It had been bothering me,” Bisi admitted.
“Yeah, thank God for smart children.” He kissed her forehead.
“Thank you, B.” She looked up at him.
“For being a great mother to the kids especially Nhyira. You could have despised him because of me but you’ve loved him and because of that, the girls have accepted him as their brother. And for that, I’m grateful.”
“It’s been a pleasure to be a mother to your kids, Fiifi Pratt.” He smiled.
“Likewise my pleasure to father yours.”
Josephine Amoako (c) 2016
Read Chapter XV here.