Read Chapter XXX here.
The alarm went off and Bisi’s eyes snapped open. Was it her ears was the alarm clock particularly loud that morning? She felt Fiifi stretching next to her. He leaned forward to check if she was still sleeping and he thought so since her eyes were closed. He got out of bed and headed to the bathroom. Bisi reopened her eyes when she heard the bathroom door close. She sighed as she got out of bed.
She knocked on Kukuaa’s door and peered inside. She was still sleeping. Because of her pending exams, the final students had an early morning class before school actually started. Bisi walked to her and gently tapped her.
“Wake up and get ready.”
“Five more minutes.”
Bisi sat on the bed and yawned. Kukuaa who still felt her mother’s presence in the room, asked, “What are you doing, mum?”
“Waiting for your five minutes to be up.”
“You know I can’t sleep when I know you’re waiting for me.”
“I know.” Kukuaa groaned as she got up. Bisi gave her a broad smile.
“Dad lets us sleep for ten more minutes.”
“Well, it’s a good thing I’m back, isn’t it? What would you like to have for breakfast?” Bisi asked, getting up.
“Oats. I need something heavy for my morning class. So I can doze off without apology.”
“I hear you. Don’t forget to have your quiet time.”
“And pray for me.”
“I always do.” She smiled her thanks and left her room. Ewuresi was up but Nhyira was still in bed. She went to the kitchen after waking him up. When she finished with breakfast, she decided to prepare sandwiches because she knew Kuks would be hungry after her class. But she had to prepare for all three if she wanted her peace of mind. She was humming to herself when Nhyira appeared.
“There he is…need some help?” He nodded. She wiped her hands clean and buttoned him up. He really didn’t need the extra set of hands. He just wanted his mum to dress him for school. The girls joined them.
“Mum, are you making sandwiches? For who?” Ewuresi asked.
“Who else has an important exam to write? Of course it’s for me,” Kuks answered.
“Sandwich?” Nhyira asked.
“I made some for all of you. Sit down and start eating. I’ll quickly package the sandwiches.”
She finished with the packaging and handed them to the three. Fiifi came downstairs and sat.
“Good morning, folks.” They replied in unison.
“Aren’t you going to get ready?”
“Don’t worry about me. You take the lead. I’ll follow later.”
“Are you sure?” Fiifi asked.
“Yes. I’ll head upstairs. Have a great day at school and be good, okay?” She leaned forward and kissed the three on the cheek. She went upstairs.
She was wrapping up her devotional study when she heard the car start and a few minutes later, drive out. She closed her eyes as she said a short prayer and dashed into the bathroom.
She let out a scream when she opened it. Fiifi was sitting on the bed, waiting for her.
“What are you still doing here? I thought you were the one…”
“I asked John to take them.”
“I decided to wait for you so we can go together.”
“That’s not necessary,” she said walked to the dressing mirror and sat in front of it.
“I wanted to leave the house with my wife. Is that a crime?”
“I didn’t say it was a crime. I just said it wasn’t necessary.”
After a moment of silence, she asked, “Are you sure you want to wait? I haven’t eaten breakfast yet?”
“Don’t worry; take your time. Whenever you’re ready,” he said. He sent a message to his secretary informing her he’d be reporting late so she should reschedule his meetings. He got up.
“I’ll be in the study. Let me know when you’re done,” he said and excused himself. Bisi sighed.
The whole point of delaying was to avoid being in the same car with him and it had just backfired on her. If she had just gone with the family, she’d at least have the children to distract herself. Now she was stuck with him…alone.
She hastily finished her breakfast. She checked her watch. What a way to report to work after a week in absentia. She took her phone and texted Fiifi to come down to save time. He was downstairs in the next minute. Bisi locked up the house when they stepped out. Fiifi opened the passenger door for her to sit down and closed it. He got into the car and took off.
“So it’s most likely we’ll be caught up in the morning rush. Let’s see how we can beat that.” He put on the radio. She felt her shoulders relaxing as the sound of music filled the car. She inhaled deeply.
He’d glance at her from time to time and it seemed she was lost in thought.
“What are you thinking about?” He asked, breaking into her trance. She looked at him blankly for some seconds before regaining her composure.
“My life…how I got here.”
“What do you mean?”
“How I had no idea that the life I was living was just a lie…and someway somehow, it felt more comfortable than having to face the truth.” Fiifi gripped the wheel.
“I thought I was protecting you from the pain of knowing the truth but it seems I hurt you more instead of protecting you and for that, I’m sorry.”
“I didn’t ask for your apology. You asked me a question and I gave you a reply,” she said, keeping her eyes on the road.
“Do we need to see someone about this?”
“Who, your mother so she can beg for you like the last time when you first brought Nhyira?”
“Fine, should we talk with your mum instead?”
“No. She was never pleased with you bringing a child from outside. I did my best to keep her out of the drama. Adding your omitted detail would only rekindle the flames.”
“Okay…a professional counselor?” She didn’t reply.
“Or our pastor? He seems to be fond of you. Did I tell you he came over to pray for you yesterday? You woke up a few minutes after he had left,” he informed her. Bisi had a faint recollection of the dream she had before she woke up at the hospital. Oh, so that’s how the dream came about.
“I see. I’ll call him.”
“So should I arrange for us to meet him?”
“No. I’ll be fine.”
“Does that mean we’re also fine?”
“Can we please not do this now? I need to be in a good frame of mind to resume work and I can’t do that if you keep hammering on this.”
“I’m sorry but I want us to deal with this sooner than later.”
“I need time…and space.” Before he could respond, she increased the volume of the radio and leaned back into her seat with her eyes closed. Fiifi sighed.
It was just about twenty four hours till she got home and he was already getting frustrated with her attitude. He understood she needed time to work things out but he didn’t want the tension dragging any longer. It was as if she was making no effort to deal with it. He couldn’t really blame her. If the tables had turned, he wondered how he would have handled it.
He found a spot at the parking lot of her workplace and parked. He got out of the car and opened the door for her. Bisi shook her head. Being gallant isn’t going to score you any points, she thought as she got out of her car with his help. He locked the doors.
“Why are you locking the doors?”
“Because I’m going in with you.”
“That’s so not necessary. I can walk by myself.”
“I know. You were ill for a week and I’m taking you inside and placing you in the care of your boss. Leave me to do my job. Besides, I need to see your boss.”
“What for? I remember telling you to stay away from my work life.”
“Just to exchange pleasantries. Trust me, I’ve no intentions of causing you any inconvenience. Shall we?” He said, offering his arm. Bisi placed her arm around his and they entered the building.
“Yay! Bisi is back!”
“Hi guys. Did you miss me?”
“Of course we did!” One colleague hugged her.
“Oh I can see, your hubby brought you to work. Hope you’re back to full form.”
“I am. He’s just being sweet.” Fiifi smiled.
“I’ll go and say hi to your boss.” He walked away.
“We wanted to visit you but your husband wouldn’t tell us where you had been admitted. He said you needed peace and quiet to recover.”
“Yeah, I did. But I’m thankful for your thoughts and prayers. It’s why I’m back today.”
Fiifi walked back in to find other colleagues welcoming Bisi back. He held her by the elbow.
“I’ll be on my way.” She turned.
“Oh okay. Thanks for the ride. Will John bring me my car?”
“Don’t worry about that. I’ll come and pick you up.”
“I’ll see you,” he kissed her cheek and walked out.
“Whoa, you do have a gentleman for a hubby. I’m jealous.”
“Hmm…Don’t be. You might get what you wish for.”
“That’s exactly what I’m hoping for.” They chuckled.
Bisi’s phone beeped when she was going over some notes. She took it and saw that it was a message from Fii.
“Don’t force yourself, Fii,” she muttered to herself as she tapped the screen to read it.
Hope you’re settling in okay.
Yeah, I’m good, she typed back.
Great. What time do I come to pick you up? She thought for a second.
Can’t tell for now. Let me know when you’re leaving the office.
Ok. Take care.
You too Thanks. She put the phone down.
Fiifi smiled to himself. One step at a time.
Bisi and Fiifi later arrived at home to find Fiifi’s mother there. Bisi gave him a ‘Really?’ look and rolled her eyes.
“I had no idea she was…”
“My daughter,” Grandma called out. Bisi turned to face her with a huge smile.
“Ma! Good to see you.”
“I’m sorry to barge in like this. Considering you just came out of the hospital, I figured the household would be a little short of foodstuff. So I took it upon myself to do some shopping for you.”
“Oh, you did? You didn’t have to. I should be the one shopping for you instead of the other way round.”
“Don’t be silly. Getting married and actually staying married to my son despite his many flaws makes me hugely indebted to you.”
“Well, I did vow to stay for better for worse till death do us part, right? I’m just keeping my word,” she said with a tight smile and walked past her calling out, “Where are my babies? Mummy’s home!”
Grandma watched her walk away.
“She’s still angry, isn’t she?”
“Yep. And now she thinks I asked you to come over to plead on my behalf.”
“Well, that’s why I am here. Have I told you how disappointed I am in you? I don’t think your dad and I raised you to be this kind of husband.”
“Not now, mum. Are you joining us for dinner?”
“Of course I am. After preparing it, who do you expect to eat it?” Fiifi chuckled.
“Aww…thanks, ma. You’ve always been sweet,” he said and kissed her on the cheek.
“Let me go and change.”
“Sure.” Fiifi went upstairs. He entered the bedroom but Bisi wasn’t there. Bisi entered a minute later. She took off her shoes and then her jewelry.
“Apparently, my mum prepared us something and she’s staying for dinner.”
“Of course she is.”
“If you’re uncomfortable…”
“Please Fii, don’t make me look like a bad daughter-in-law. This is your house, her son’s house. She can stay for dinner if she wants. She can join us for dinner every day if she so wishes. Who am I to be uncomfortable?”
“Okay…what exactly are you mad about?”
“I’m not mad. I’m just indifferent.”
“No, you’re angry and it’s eating you up. I don’t want you corrupting your gentle soul because of me.”
“Oh, so you care about my gentle soul, do you now?
“You know I do.”
“No, I don’t. Everything I thought I knew about you has been wiped off the slate. I’m here because my kids need their mother and father. That’s it.”
“Please let’s not keep your mother waiting, all right?” She said and walked out, banging the door.
Kukuaa who was passing by, cringed at the sound of the slammed door.
“Are you okay?”
“You just banged the door. You don’t bang doors. You only bang the door when you’re angry. So are you angry?”
“Whoa, are you psychoanalyzing me?” Bisi asked back and started down the stairs.
“Ha! You’re avoiding the question. Guess what, granny prepared us fufu and light soup with goat meat! I’m salivating already!” Kukuaa said excitedly as she followed her mother down the stairs.
“Uh huh, I can see you drooling.”
They entered the dining room to find Grandma, Ewuresi and Nhyira already seated.
“Wow…hungry much?” They sat.
“He’s changing clothes. He’ll join us soon.”
Fiifi walked in and sat down.
“Thanks, ma. It really smells good.”
“Wait till you taste it. Let’s hold hands as we say grace,” Grandma said. They did and she prayed.
“Amen.” They responded and started eating.
“Wow…great taste. Any secret ingredient?” Bisi asked. Grandma smiled.
“A heart of love.”
“No kidding,” she replied, smiling in return.
“I’ll tell you after dinner.”
Grandma’s presence neutralized the tension which was at boiling point minutes before the dinner. When they finished, the three cleared the table and helped tidy up the kitchen. They were laughing over a funny video when Grandma entered.
“I’ll be on my way but can I have a word with mummy first?”
“Go to your rooms. I’ll be up soon.”
“Thanks for dinner, Grandma. It was super delicious.”
“I’m glad you liked it. I’ll see you soon.”
“Okay; goodbye and goodnight.” The three went upstairs as Grandma walked to the living room with Bisi following suit like a child waiting to be scolded. They sat down. Bisi folded her arms.
“My dear Bisi, Fii told me the events which led to you getting admitted at the hospital and I must say, I was beyond dismayed about his actions. I don’t know if I’d have the heart to forgive him if I were in your shoes but since you came into our lives, I’ve found you to be an extraordinary woman with a big heart. It might be broken and bleeding at the moment but I know you’re also strong enough to forgive. I know I shouldn’t be doing this, apologizing for him. But for the sake of the family, the kids, I hope you’ll let sleeping dogs lie. I thought I had raised my son to be above the behaviors he has portrayed but it seems I missed something somewhere and for that, I apologize.”
“I’m here because of the kids and it is my responsibility to raise them to be better than the average person so you don’t have to worry about that, ma. I’ve realized the hard way that if I dwell on what he did, I’m the only one who’ll lose. I can die at worst and my children will have no mother to depend on and he can find himself another wife in the next half year,” Bisi said.
“Come on B…”
“Please, do not come on B me. This is my stance on the issue and I don’t want to repeat myself. So as I was saying, I’m going to raise your grandkids to the best of my ability so don’t worry.”
“And your husband?”
“He’s not my priority at the moment. My children are.”
“Are you saying your marriage is over?”
“Not necessarily. I’ll continue to do my wifely duties so he’s not going to be deprived of anything; you can be assured of that but I’m not going to see him the same way I used to. I’m sorry.”
“Let’s give it time. I’m sure you’ll feel better.” Bisi snorted. Mother and son exchanged a glance. This was going to be harder than they both anticipated. Grandma sighed.
“I’ll be on my way. I do hope you can sort out your issues.” She stood and they did same.
“Thanks for passing by, ma; and I’m grateful for dinner. Very tasty. Have a good night.”
“You too, Bisi.”
“Let me escort you to your car,” Fiifi said. Bisi went upstairs as they stepped outside.
“You really broke her this time, son. I haven’t ever seen Bisi like this.”
“I know. I’m out of ideas to fix the situation.”
“There are no ideas to work on. She needs time to heal. Till she’s ready to let go, nothing you do would please her. It would only irritate her further. She’s on the verge on throwing everything you two have built together away. Don’t give her that final push to do so,” she cautioned. Fiifi nodded. They hugged. Fiifi suddenly felt emotional. The distance widening between him and Bisi was breaking him down. His mother patted his back.
“Don’t give up. Keep on praying, be nice but don’t overdo it. Give her time. Bisi is a good woman and she loves you. If she didn’t, she would have left or thrown you out but she still sleeps on the same bed with you. All hope isn’t lost yet.” He pulled back from her embrace.
“I hear you, mother. Thanks for everything.”
“My pleasure. I’ll be praying with you. Goodnight.” She sat in her car and drove off.
Fiifi sighed and entered the house. He ascended the stairs with heavy steps. He felt like he was dying inside. When he entered the bedroom, he was met with Bisi’s shrill voice.
“Oh, so I was right about you calling up your mother to come beg for you. How pathetic. I knew you to be a mama’s boy but you’ve taken the definition to a whole new dimension. Goodness!”
“I told I had no idea she was coming here and from the look of things, it was a bad idea for her to pass by. So just drop it, okay?”
“Sure,” she said, raising her palms in surrender. She got up to go to the bathroom.
“What would it take for you to forgive me?” She turned and walked to him, holding his gaze.
“If the tables had turned, would you have readily accepted me into your arms and your bed? If I had had an affair, gotten pregnant and made you believe it was yours for the past six years and you just found out, would you just brush it aside and take me in? Or would you have driven me to my parents and asked for your drinks to be returned to you? Don’t rush to answer it. Think about it carefully and tell me: would you forgive me?”
Fiifi swallowed as the intent stare made his eyes tear up.
“I don’t know,” he answered truthfully. Bisi nodded.
“At least you didn’t lie about this one. And for that, I’m grateful. So don’t expect me to forgive you for something you wouldn’t do same for me. I might have a big heart as mama said, but I’m also human. So forgive me for not being able to forgive you this time.” She turned and entered the bathroom.
Fiifi released the tears he had been holding back since he entered the bedroom. He didn’t know how long he could keep up with this. This was killing him and Bisi held the knife. She had the power to twist it any how and as hard as she wanted. He couldn’t stand it.
(c) Josephine Amoako 2016
Read Chapter XXXII here.