Then there were pictures of Daisy dressed as a nurse, pictures of his grandmother and her, pictures and pictures and pictures, but the height of the search had been when he’d discovered his picture amongst the stack.
It was a portrait picture of his he remembered snapping while in his Mid twenties. It had looked so odd amongst Daisy’s collection because it wasn’t a recent picture of his.
Jide knew he had never been a part of Daisy’s life, hadn’t known her, barely seen her and hadn’t liked her, so how come she had his picture?
If he had wanted to believe it to be an error, a misplacement, a game of chance, some gimmicks of mama, then the back of the picture had proved otherwise. At its back had been penned down dates of events he wasn’t familiar with, but consciously knew had being significant. The only date he had been able to unravel had been recent, and that had prompted him to go through his calendar, only to discover that it had been their wedding day.
Even though it might have seemed childish and meaningless to someone else, it hadn’t been to Jide, every stroke across his picture meant so much to him, just as he was sure it had meant more to Daisy.
That was when he’d felt drained of the zeal to dig further, in its place had been the longing to get answers on what part he was playing in a game he hadn’t been aware of.
Jide held the phone on his ear with apprehension. This was the second ring and Mama was yet to pick up. Was she just going to ignore his call? He wondered and hoped everything was alright with her, considering the fact that he hadn’t kept in touch since.
Jide: ‘hello’ Jide said soon as he felt it had been picked.
Silence at the other end.
Jide: ‘Mama…are…you there’ he stammered with an unsure voice.
Mama: ‘Jide?’ came the reply.
Jide: ‘good…’ his voice trailed. In his apprehension, he hadn’t checked up Boston’s time.
Mama: ‘Jide, abi tani mon ba soro?’ (who are my speaking with)
Jide: ‘Mama, emi ni’ a pause then, ‘Jide’ he replied gradually getting back his confidence.
But the silence that followed punctured that confidence.
Jide gave out a long breath and said:
Jide: ‘mama, please talk to me, am sorry and I just…’
Mama: ‘gbenu e dake!’ (shut up!) mama cut in with a shout. ‘kilo so? You are sorry, just like that? Ah! Jide, mon ke fun Fun nko to she fun mi, I’m very sad! Ti eyan ba so fun mi kpe ole she ri, ah! I wouldn’t have believed! Jide what came over you? Did you just forget everything i’ve done for you just like that? Nitori kpe mo Fe omo to da bi iyawo fun e? You treated me like your mate! Infact, send her back to Boston, she tells me that you’ve been treating her badly, so just send her back to me! Omo jati jati ni eh, o fe nko to da, awon omo oloriburuku lo fe na, so send her back! Mama concluded with a shout.
Jide had kept mute through out the rain of abuse, he had felt remorseful with each lash of mama’s verbal whip, he knew he deserved it all and could picture how angry Mama would look as she bared her mind to him.
He exhaled now, haven unconsciously held it in all the while.
Jide: ‘am sorry, ma bi nu mama’ (don’t be annoyed) he replied.
Another silence passed, Jide thought he heard quiet sobs at the other end of line, this made his heart constrict more in pain. He had no idea that he’d hurt her so deeply.
Jide: ‘am sorry ma’ he repeated soberly.
Mama: ‘I love you that’s why i did what i did, how bad was that?’ mama said. From her speech, Jide knew for sure that she had been crying.
Jide: ‘now i know that you and my father meant well. I was blinded by my arrogance and hurt that i turned insolent and bit the fingers that fed me, you’re more than a mother to me, and I’ve missed you so much, forgive me please, sha nu mi, mami’ he pleaded again.
Mama’s sigh filtered through the phone before she spoke.
Mama: ‘I know your dad and i might have over done it, but we only meant well, and I have longed wished for you to come back to your senses. Jide omo mi, i forgive you, you are still my favourite grand child regardless’
Jide: ‘thank you mama, am very happy’
Mama: ‘kini ale she? Omo yin ni wa, ale jun yin nu’ (what can we do? You are our children, we can’t throw you away).
Jide: ‘e se ma’ (thank you)
Mama: ‘Bawo ni Daisy omo mi? Ko fe kpe mi mo ni? Its been long i heard from her’ (how is Daisy, she doesn’t want to call me again?).
Now, one of the reason he’d called.
Jide: ‘Mama, Daisy is the problem, she’s been acting up recently, especially after Brenda arrived Nigeria’ he said.
Mama: ‘Brenda ke? Omo agaracha ibo yen?’
Jide: ‘you know her?’
Mama: ‘offcourse i know her! She’s too wild for my liking’
Jide: ‘she’s the one who’s been advising Daisy and now she’s behaving…’
Mama: ‘are you very sure? The last time Daisy called, she was complaining bitterly about your attitude’
He wasn’t actually innocent himself.
Jide: ’em mama…well…I…I’ he stammered.
Mama: ‘gbenu e dake! Shut up! you’ve not been saying the truth yourself’
Jide: ‘well am changed now, and i want to make our marriage work but Daisy is proving difficult. There’s also Brenda making matters worst’
Mama: ‘really? Daisy didn’t tell me her part, but no worries, i will call Daisy and talk with her’
Jide: ‘thank you’ a pause then: But they are other questions i…uhm want to ask’
Mama: ‘soro, mon gbo’ (speak, am listening)
Jide: ‘well…today i uhm…happened to come across some pictures and i saw things…’
And so Jide told his grandmother things he’d discovered about Daisy and asked for her clarification, mama tried as much as she could to explain some of the things to him while she urged him to seek the answers to other personal questions from Daisy.
At the end of the discussion, Jide got a whole new perspective about Daisy and resolved not to give up on building their marriage.
Jide went over the set table again, doubts that the rice which still looked raw and tasted salty would do the trick, reflected on his face.
Yes, he had actually cooked and maybe broke a record, because cooking wasn’t part of his abilities. Maybe Candles would have added color to the atmosphere, but there was no time to get candles and stuffs, neither did he know where they could be bought anyways. He would have preferred they went out, but Daisy’s case was a complicated one, asking to take her out for dinner would be like wishing for the moon, sun and stars. Impossible! She would just ignore him and head for her room, only to be seen the next week! He’d never seen someone who loved indoors like her.
He only wished that he had some of Ade’s charms and kitchen dexterity, the guy was a pro when it came to impressing the ladies, for he could still be the lady’s delight even with his irritating character. That was probably the only good trait about him. Jide mused as he strolled over to the settee where he would patiently await his wife’s return.
He was tired, having struggled for the past hour to fix the perfect romantic atmosphere to impress Daisy so she could atleast be calm enough for them to talk about their marriage. Maybe she would appreciate his culinary gestures, for it wasn’t everyday a husband cooked rice and warmed the stew for a wife, was it? He concluded as he slumped unto the settee.
Back then in school, what he had needed was his looks, wealth and popularity and he could get any lady he wanted, but now he doubted the effectiveness of all that. The Daisy he’d come to discover was a woman that didn’t care about those stuffs, she wasn’t into him because of his wealth, he didn’t even think it was his looks that had caught and held her heart. He fully realised how he’d taken her love for granted, thinking her to be a puppet in the hands of his parents when all she’d done was love him.
He couldn’t wait for her to return home and wished he had been decisive enough to stop her earlier when she left with Brenda to go see Peter, a man whose identity he understood now.
Mama had told him Peter was Daisy’s ex, had warned him to take caution where he was concerned for she wasn’t sure what his exact mission to Nigeria was.
But he still didn’t feel threatened, the guy had obviously lost completely for he was the one with the legal proof of ownership. He would rather concentrate on making things right with Daisy, apologise for how he had treated her in the past and maybe, God helping, they could start over from the scratch.
Names have been changed to protect the identity of the narrator and other individuals in the story.
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