Read Chapter XL here.
Fiifi and Bisi lay nuzzled against each other watching funny videos on YouTube. After watching a few of them, they abandoned the iPad and got engrossed with each other. Bisi’s phone rang. Fiifi paused and looked at her.
“Aren’t you going to pick it up?” She shook her head and kissed him. The phone kept ringing.
“Maybe you should answer it. It could be important.”
“Ignore it; it’s our new intern.”
“Then it must be important work stuff.”
“I assure you, it isn’t. After he mixed up some documents I needed for my show and that of one of my colleagues, I told him to run everything by me. I think he took my words too seriously.” The phone stopped ringing.
“See…he gets the message. He should figure himself out. Now stop talking and kiss me.” He smiled and kissed his wife.
Nhyira stared at the phone, his hand clenching his chest. This was the first time his mother had not answered his call. Was she still upset with him? Who else could help him with his pain?
He began groaning. He started to panic. Was he going to die? All alone, far from home?
His breath started coming in short pants. “Mummy!”
Bisi woke up in a start. The room was engulfed in darkness. Dumsor must have paid them a visit after she fell asleep. Impulsively, she got out of bed and made her way towards the door. She groaned when her forehead hit the door. She searched blindly for the door knob and opened it. She rushed to Nhyira’s room and opened the door.
“Nhyira, are you okay?” The silence that greeted her bolted her mind back to reality. Nhyira was gone and it was just a bad dream. She sighed and closed the door. She felt her forehead throbbing of pain. She rubbed it and found her way back to the bedroom. She lay on the bed. Fiifi shifted and threw his arm around Bisi. She rubbed his arm as she allowed her mind to wander.
How was Nhyira faring at the moment? Was his heart bothering him? Did he miss home just as she missed him? A part of her regretted letting him go but she also knew something was broken in the bond they shared because of Constance’s influence on him and it was necessary for him to find that out for himself so they could reconnect again. It has been months since he left but it still felt like yesterday.
She closed her eyes and muttered a prayer for her son and fell asleep.
Nhyira sighed when Constance asked yet again about his parents.
“Why are you so interested about my mum and dad?”
“Well, I wanted to know how they are faring since you left them. Are they begging you to come back?”
“No, I said I wanted to come to the States and they respected my wish. It kind of seems you are more interested in their affairs than you are about mine.”
“Come on, Nhyira. That’s not true. I do care about you. I’m your mother after all.”
“Fine, do you want to hear about my day? A lot of interesting things happened in class this week.”
“Um…I wish I could but someone just knocked on my door…” He heard a door open and close.
“Oh hey, come on in. Sorry but I’ve got to go. We’ll talk soon, yeah? Take care, baby,” Constance said sweetly and ended the call. She rolled her eyes.
“Gosh, I forgot how needy kids can get sometimes. I’m glad Bisi took this responsibility off my hands. But seriously, it’s too quiet. I must do something to shake things up a little. What can I do?” She wondered.
“Aha!” She sat down and took her phone.
Nhyira scanned his contact on WhatsApp lazily. He paused the scrolling when he noticed Kukuaa’s display photo. He tapped on it to get a better look. It was a photo of his mother and sisters wearing sunglasses, holding cocktail glasses blowing kisses. It looked like they were at the beach. They looked very happy. Nhyira smiled and for the first time since he left home, he missed them terribly.
He had managed to lock away his homesick feelings and convince himself that leaving home was for the best but he wasn’t so sure anymore. Constance was almost always preoccupied to chat with him. And whenever she did find the time, she’d always ask for his parents as if she wanted to somehow get their attention. He selected a photo collage Constance had sent him an hour ago and made that his display photo. As he stared at the photo, he could see a slight resemblance between them. How strange. He was so sure he looked like his mum, Bisi. Or was it mere perception?
He saw an alert pop up on his iPad. Kukuaa had sent him a video link. He quickly opened it. He gasped when his eyes took in the setting. Kukuaa was being interviewed on mummy’s show but their mother wasn’t the host.
“So how does it feel being the daughter of a respected TV personality like Bisi Pratt?”
“It feels great, actually. To know you were born to such a phenomenal woman that so many people look up to…the respect rubs off on you too. My mother is a very careful woman. When we were kids, she hardly ever exposed us to the public and so we didn’t feel popular although once words went round in school that we were Bisi Pratt’s wards, the treatment was more favorable, I must say.”
“Haha, no one wanted to be blacklisted on national TV, huh?”
“Exactly. I remember there were times where she was called on to be the MC of one ceremony or the other and my sister and I would plead with her to take us along so we could have bragging rights at school and all but she would never take us. She’s very principled and I’m glad she raised us the way she did. My sister, brother and I are blessed to have been raised by her,” Kukuaa said.
“You’re indeed blessed. So what last words do you have for your mother, Kukuaa?”
Nhyira watched in admiration as his attention drifted. He had always dreamt of the day he’d be on his mum’s show. She had assured him the time would surely come and it finally did but he was gone. He felt sorry for himself. He missed his mother. He checked the time. She might be at work.
He called her number. She answered at the fourth ring.
“Hey…how’s my prince doing?” That brought a smile to his lips. He missed her saying those words.
“I’m good, mum.” He could hear some voices at the end.
“Are you busy? I could call back…”
“What, are you kidding me? We took a short break after a meeting and we are just sharing thoughts. You know you’d always be my priority, honey.”
Wow, he thought. He wished his real mother would put him first too.
“Kuks just sent me a link to her TV interview and I thought of calling you after watching it.”
“Awww…she did great, don’t you think? I wish you were here as well. I know how much you wanted to when you were younger.”
“Yeah and I still do. I hope I haven’t lost my chance.”
“Oh no; I’m Bisi Pratt, remember? If my baby boy wants to be on TV, he will be on TV.”
“Thanks, mum. I hope you and dad are doing well.”
“Oh yeah, we’re good. Esi is back in school so I’m stuck with Kuks.” They both chuckled.
“It feels good to hear your voice, mum.”
“Same here, sweetie. Sorry but I have to go; our meeting is about to resume. Talk to you soon, yeah?”
“Of course, mum. Take care.”
“You too, dear.” The line went dead. He sighed. He suddenly felt better.
Bisi Pratt might not have given birth to him but she was his mother in every sense of the word.
When Constance got in touch with Nhyira later that day, she again indirectly inquired about the Pratts.
“You sound quiet. Do you miss your family? Do you wish you were back home?”
“Sometimes but I’m okay.”
“But I doubt they miss you that much. I’m pretty sure Bisi is happy that you’re out of the country so she could have her true family to herself.”
“Why do you say that?” Nhyira asked, scowling.
“I watched to Kukuaa’s interview on TV…”
“I’ve seen it too. Your point is?”
“They are happy, that’s my point. It doesn’t seem that there’s anything or anyone missing in the Pratt’s clique. Tell me the truth Nhyira, did Bisi push you out?”
“No, she didn’t! I said I wanted to leave.”
“I’m sure she made you say so. She’s a TV host, remember? She’s an expert at making people say things she wants them to say. You don’t have to feel bad for leaving, Nhyira. It’s her fault, not yours.”
Constance’s poisonous words were sucking the happy feelings he had garnered after speaking to Bisi. He tapped his finger on the table restlessly. He had to shut her up before she made him crazy.
“Why are you saying all this? Do you want me to hate my mother?”
“Of course not but technically, I’m your mother not her…”
“If you are really my mother where were you when she was raising me as a baby? Why are you now showing up now that I’m grown? You didn’t want to change my diapers, did you?”
Constance hesitated. What had gotten into him? He had never spoken to her in that tone.
“Calm down, son. I didn’t mean to make you angry. I’m sorry if I offended you. It’s just that Bisi is so good at acting the perfect…” Nhyira slammed the phone down.
Constance startled at the sound. She stared at the phone.
“Did he just hang up on me? Wow, what manners did Bisi teach him? And yet her daughter comes on TV and hails her as the mother of the century. Please…” She put the phone down.
Nhyira began to breathe heavily. He clenched his chest. He used his other hand to grip the edge of the table for support.
It’s okay, Nhyira. Breathe, he could hear Bisi’s voice in his ears. He heeded to the words and forced himself to breathe. After some seconds, he began to feel better.
How ironic that the woman who gave him life was the very one whose words had the stinging power to take his life away. Did he make a mistake believing her words the first time and fleeing the home where he felt the safest?
(c) Josephine Amoako 2016
Read Chapter XLII here.