Daisy was feeling much better than she had these past few days, for two days after the ‘mattress’ incidence, Daisy had hardly seen the exterior of her room, even when Okon came yesterday for his cleaning rounds, she had totally ignored his knocks on her door. But today, after much thought and resolution, she was out & in the kitchen.
She had somehow consciously come to grasp with her situation, and told herself that getting so down-beaten with any cold shoulder act that Jide sprang up would only give him pleasure if she kept showing that it affected her badly. She resolved to try play along his ‘game of shoulders’ and show him that if he was trying to pass across a message, she wasn’t decoding! She would show him also that she was the least afraid of all his tantrums, his arrogance, his impulsiveness, his bad temperament, his ego and whatever package came with the man now her husband.
However, she was going to make sure she didn’t pay him back in his own coin, she would show him that two wrongs don’t make a right and that ‘evil’ can be bought with good, though she knew it was going to be an uphill task. She would try her best to condone, comply and give him the much space he was trying to tell her he craved. Didn’t the Bible admonish wives to respect and submit to their husbands with all the patience they could muster? Even though she wasn’t really a ‘Bible person’ she remembered that the Pastor had said something like that during their wedding service, also, every book on marriage issues she had read or glanced through revolved around the same virtues; But she wasn’t going to sacrifice her comfort and emotions on the altar, if it eventually came to that.
This was the reason why she was up early and busy in the kitchen trying to fix breakfast for him again, even though there was little to work with today. She made a mental note to ask him for money to buy food items for the kitchen, for it was his damn responsibility, even if he was gonna go all smokes on her, she wont care. The jollof rice she had cooked on Monday had served her hunger needs yesterday evening when she emerged from her room to eat, for she had practically been surviving on juice before then. Bless Okon for heating it on Wednesday morning else they wouldn’t have been any left to salvage. But now, she couldn’t keep mute and starve to death, her Bank at the states told her it would take time for them to complete the money transfer to her new bank here in Nigeria, she didn’t even know how far they’ve gone with it, due to the recent activities that demanded her time.
After much deliberation, Daisy decided to boil water and fill the flask, then she arranged the tea items close to the down-turned tea cup. She surveyed her work and shaking her shoulders in resignation, she went to seat in the parlour, they was plainly nothing in the house, maybe that would give him an idea of it she thought.
The time was 6:20 & since she didn’t feel sleepy, she decided to watch Television. When Jide surfaced at about seven all dressed for work, Daisy who was engrossed in the musical video she was watching on Trace TV, didn’t notice the surprise that appeared on Jide’s face for a flint second.
He was surprised to see Daisy in the parlour and the dining, set. For the past two days, she had locked herself in and now she re-appeared and was acting as if nothing had ever happened. He quietly picked his key from a side stool, a scowl played up on his face, then he thought he heard someone say ‘hi’ but when he cast a glance at Daisy, she looked deeply engrossed with the television.
Was she trying to show him how resilient she could be? Jide thought angrily as he marched out of the house banging the door after him. The sound jolted Daisy, her gaze travelled to the door, then to the dining before it settled back on the television.
She had said ‘hi’ to him then and had wanted to say more but the scowl on his face stopped her, she just feigned to be engrossed in the Tele instead. So much for her brave resolution then, for she knew now that it wouldn’t be as easy as she had thought. She was far too weak, emotionally to keep up the game. She slowly lay on the settee, her mind blank.
Daisy opened the door to see a man in front of her, he looked very familiar but her brain was finding it hard to firmly piece him together. The man smiled now and extended a hand to her, she put out her hand to receive the handshake, but she still wasn’t clear who he was or where she had seen him before.
Visitor: ‘Mrs. Olukoya right?’ the man asked as he cut the handshake. Daisy merely shook her head to his question, she wasn’t sure if she should invite him in, he was also holding a large brown envelope that looked heavy.
Visitor: ‘Good’ the man said bringing out the content of the envelope ‘…I came here to deliver the wedding pictures, mama gave…’he was saying but Daisy had lost attention, the word picture had jolted her memories and now she remembered who the man was, she felt so silly for how hard she tried to recollect who he was. Her wedding photographer!
Daisy: ‘The photographer!’ she nearly screamed.
Visitor (Photographer): ‘Yes’ the man said an amused streak on his face
Daisy: ‘Do come in’ she said
Photographer: ‘okay’ he replied and Daisy gave way for him to pass.
Towards the settee, he brought out the picture album and gave it to her. Daisy got busy immediately flipping through the pages, she was visibly excited and forgot about the man or the fact that they were still standing.
Photographer: ‘I will also collect the remaining payment for the picture’
Daisy: ‘oh’ she replied, that had definitely gotten her attention.’how much is it’ she asked closing the album, her face didn’t hold the initial excitement.
Photographer: ‘5K’ the man said simply.
Daisy: ‘I… I am sorry but…I don’t have…i mean, the money is not ready, uhm…Jide…i mean my husband had no idea that…’
Photographer: ‘I understand quite alright’ the man interrupted. He thought the woman before him to be really amusing with the way she stammered with that American accent of hers, he honestly understood her plight. It would be best for him to come back and since the family was well off, his money should be ready then.
Daisy: ‘Am sorry’ Daisy calmly said.
Photographer: ‘Its okay, I will come back… lets say Saturday…’
Daisy: ‘It would be ready then i promise’ Daisy cut in, the color now returning to her face.
Photographer: ‘let me be on my way then…’ he replied and started for the door.
Daisy: ‘Is there anything i can offer you?’ she called.
Photographer: ‘Thanks but am in a hurry’ he replied without looking back, soon he was out and walking down to the gate.
Daisy heaved a sign of relief, then reopened the picture album and went to seat down. She had taken her bath and had been watching television before she heard the knock. She was over the trauma of the morning incident with Jide, that was one good thing about her, she hardly sulk for long or allowed her emotions weigh her down completely, except offcourse, in some instances.
The picture before her now was the one where Jide had been dancing with the ‘lady on red’ during their couples dance, the picture brought back memories of the wedding celebration she had succeeded in blanking out, anger burned in her, just below that was the ‘cake-stuffing’ picture, she wondered if the photographer had intentionally arranged the ‘ugly’ pictures together because the previous pictures had been lovely, Jide seemed to be in his best behaviour then.
It didn’t get any better As she flipped through the next pictures, they showed how desperate Jide had been to create a scandal, just then, the movie scene of Julia Roberts in ‘Runaway Bride’ running away from her wedding on a horse flashed through her mind, she imagined herself in the same situation but this time in a Nigeria busy road as the horse galloped away through traffic, she smiled, that would be scandal enough for Jide and the nosy media she thought. Another thought struck her then: she hasn’t browsed the internet to see if there was anything about their wedding, the Olukoya’s might just be prominent enough to attract media attention.
Her phone rang then interrupting her flow of thought, it was crying helplessly on the dining table. She dropped the offensive picture album and started for the Dining.
The number that showed on her phone looked familiar, it bore the international code of Boston, Daisy had a feeling that she knew who it was.
Daisy: ‘Hello’ she said.
Caller: ‘hello!’ the voice at the other end screamed, Daisy pushed the phone away from her ear to curtail the noise. She definitely knew who it was.
Daisy: ‘Jeez Bren, you don’t wanna bust my ear drums now, do you?’ Daisy replied smiling while she sat down on one of the dining chairs.
Caller (Bren)‘Spare me that Bullshit! ‘ave been searching your number for days now’ came the reply.
Daisy: ‘And who let the cat out of the bag?’
Bren: ‘It was quite a search, i had to call Mama’s house and the housekeeper gave me her Nigeria number and then i called there, then she gave me your number, jeez Dee, why didn’t you call me Since you left?’
Daisy: ‘Maybe cos i was pissed at you’ Daisy replied.
Bren: ‘oh Dee, you know i wouldn’t miss your wedding for anything in the world, but my exams…’
Daisy: ‘got you!’ Daisy screamed ‘how i love every chance i get to make you whine like a dog’
Bren: ‘oh you! You know i would squeeze your neck for this if i get you’ the other said playfully.
Bren: ‘you gotta catch me first then’ Daisy giggled. She really loved Brenda,they were the very best of friends infact they were ‘BFFs’. It was indeed her Master exams which coincidentally fell on her wedding day that stopped her from coming, she understood.
Bren: ‘So how was the wedding?’ Brenda asked.
Daisy: ‘so and so’ Daisy replied, that question changed her countenance.
Bren: ‘And what’s that supposed to mean?’
Daisy: ‘lets just say it would have been bearable if you had been there with me’ Daisy said, her tone laced with sadness, her eyes instinctively travelled to the album on the chair.
Bren: ‘oh Dee, like i knew that dude ain’t worth the sacrifice, but you were so bent on your shortsighted perspective of love and affection, it beats me to know how…’
Daisy: ‘really Brenda, i don’t think you called to tell lash an ‘i told you so’ did you?’ Daisy cut in angrily
Bren: ‘Chilax girlfriend, i don’t wanna fight with you over the phone, i missed you that’s why i called’
Daisy: ‘well okay, forgive me, i missed you too’. Silence on both sides.
Bren: ‘that reminds me i saw Peter the other day…’ Brenda was saying.
Daisy: ‘Am a married chick now!’ Daisy cut in. Peter was her Ex-boyfriend
Bren: ‘oh puleaseee, spare me’ Brenda replied stressing the ‘please’ They both laughed.
Bren: ‘Talking about marriages, have you and your hubby done the deal, you know what i mean’ Brenda said
Daisy: ‘yeah right’ she scoffed ‘that dude would rather beat me into a pulp than make sweet love to…’
Bren: ‘oh no he didn’t!’ cut in Brenda with an alarmed tone.
Daisy: ‘jeez sister, i was trying to make an expression here’ Daisy replied exasperated.
Bren: ‘that better be, cos i know that man ain’t tripping if he don’t want me to be all over his face’
This made Daisy smile, she knew Brenda was capable of all that drama, she was, as Mama referred to her ‘agaracha ibo’, she could really cos a drama when she set her mind to it unlike the calm and docile Daisy.
Bren: ‘He wouldn’t dare’ Daisy said
Daisy: ‘not when you are there’ They both laughed.
Daisy: ‘I really miss Boston, you, the Hospital… everything …even Peter’ Daisy was sober now.
Bren: ‘I know, you don’t know how i feel too, you are married now and can’t come back…’
Daisy: ‘Don’t be too sure about that’
Bren: ‘It still wont feel the same, you know, am thinking of coming back finally to Nigeria, mother Africa calls’
Daisy: ‘Not you too!’
Bren: ‘America holds no more splendor for me, i wanna be close to my friend and family’ ‘I can’t wait for then, it will be just like old times’
Daisy: ‘keep your fingers crossed girlfriend’ ‘they are most definitely’ Daisy said. The two friends were really nostalgic. Daisy heard a knock just then. She cursed silently, when would this people stop springing up on her?
Daisy: ‘A knock Bren, I’d just go get it then…’
Bren: ‘Oh no, i gotta go too, will call you tomorrow’.
Daisy: ‘okay Bren, don’t forget to. I’ll Miss you’.
Bren: ‘I’ll miss you too, byeee’ Brenda said and cut the call.
Daisy felt so alone now and wasn’t curious to know who was knocking, the drama of today was overwhelming and she didn’t need more. She slowly stood up to go see who it was that was knocking louder now.
Daisy walked unsteadily towards Jide’s study, it had taken all the strength she could, to actually make this move. The photographer had to be paid, he would be coming on Saturday; there was practically nothing in the house to eat and She couldn’t possibly starve!
Her resolution firmer, she got to the door but hesitated some seconds before knocking softly, like the door would bite if she knocked any louder. No response from inside. She was about knocking again when she heard Jide’s voice. She opened the door gently and stepped in standing an inch from door, she however made no move to go further.
Jide had been writing when he heard the knock, he was surprised ‘cos he knew there was only one person in the house who would be knocking & he was curious to know what she wanted. Now she was standing at the door and didn’t seem to want to come any further, she was holding something like a parcel, he wasn’t sure what it was, she didn’t say anything either, she just stood lost in thought and glancing round his room.
He considered the woman that stood before him, she was pretty, though not any prettier than his girlfriend. Grace qualified now as an ex, he thought drily, they should be of the same height he guessed, she was 26, he remembered his grandmother had said when he had inquired of her age, then he had accused her of wanting to get him hooked with an immature girl, but now as he examined her in that shirt of his she had annoyingly decided to turn into her nightwear, she wasn’t immatured in any way, she had the curves at the right places with that bossom of hers that was guaranteed to drive him mad if he ever let his guards down, she was all feminine and any man would appreciate that she was their wife, but that man wasn’t him, she wasn’t his hand picked choice, she was forced on him through treachery and manipulation of his family and that grandmother of his whom he had loved dearly but obviously not anymore, she had betrayed his love and trust in the most unforgivable way.
Jide anger rose automatically when he considered all this, he turned now to the document on his table, if Daisy was going to stand there forever, he would gladly watch her do so. Daisy stood lost in her perusal of the study now turned Jide’s bedroom. It didn’t look homely to her, it had a bed jammed to the wall at one side and a shelf stacked with books at the other, jide was perched on a chair and an adjoining desk, writing ‘who knows what’. Daisy wondered why a warm blooded handsome hunk would decide to camp in this unromantic crib, when a sexy willing damsel waited with open arms just a room away, eager to fulfill his fantasies. She smiled at her silly thoughts and caught herself, realizing only then that she had been standing at the door without uttering a word. S he looked at Jide now, he had continued writing and the expression on his face made all her earlier thought and strength shrivel and in place was an unexplainable fright.
Daisy: ‘hi’ she said softly. Jide continued writing, without a glance her way. His coldness got to her and she looked down at the picture album she was holding.
Another painful silence.
Jide: ‘Daisy, what do you f.ucking want?’ Jide asked angrily, he wasn’t sure he could ignore her forever again, her presence was making him uncomfortable to his chagrin and he just wanted her miles away, if he didn’t want to lose concentration or let his guards fall!
Daisy flinched at his tone and her face became all sober and sulky like she would break down in tears the next minute. Jide noticed her facial expression and even though he wasn’t sure if it was real or faked, it affected his anger, he found it melting down that he couldn’t keep it up, this scared him more and now he really wanted her to be off and done with.
Jide: ‘I don’t think you set out to come showcase yourself to me this evening, so say what you want and be off from my presence’ he said, his tone however held not the trace of anger it had before.
Daisy, finding strength in his renewed tone spoke:
Daisy: ‘uhm, sorry to disturb, but i uhm…the wedding photographer came today and he…uhm, you know wanted…uhm, money for the pictures he brought in today and i don’t…’ she was stammering, her face down all the while, she did so whenever she was nervous.
Jide was amused by the way she was speaking, it showed she wasn’t all that strong and resilient as she had shown, he resolved to make it harder for her.
Jide: ‘don’t you feel silly, standing there and talking to me about pictures of a wedding you know i don’t care about?’
Daisy stared at him now:
Daisy: ‘I…I…well…the man said on Saturday…I told him..uhm…promised him that his money…but my bank…’
Jide was trying hard to stifle a laugh, that was surprising. Daisy was amusing him silly with all her stammering, he didn’t remember her to have speech problems, and he thought that the faster she was gone, the better for him.
What is your take on this story so far?
Names have been changed to protect the identity of the narrator and other individuals in the story.
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