Please note that this series contains some sexually explicit content, violence and offensive language. It is not appropriate for children nor an immature and sensitive audience.
A SMALL WORLD - SEASON TWO
Copyright © Ufuomaee
It was a Friday morning, in mid-April, and Bolu was getting ready to go to work. As usual, Lola had prepared and packed his lunch for him, and was assisting him to make sure he had everything he needed for the day. As she no longer had an office to go to, her mornings were more leisurely. She normally got herself busy and ready to work from home when Bolu had gone.
They had been invited to attend Chidinma’s nephews’ birthday party tomorrow afternoon, and Lola really wanted Bolu to be there with her. They hadn’t really gone out together since Tinuke was born, and she knew that she was partly to blame for it. She was often exhausted and uninterested in going out. When she wasn’t looking after her baby or working, she was usually sleeping or desperately trying to relax in front of the TV. The few nights that Bolu had been keen to go out, she had declined. So, he had stopped making the effort to ask her out.
“I hope you’ll be free tomorrow to attend the party I told you about…” Lola said, as she helped Bolu fix his tie.
“You know, Chidinma’s twin nephews’? We were both invited.”
“To a children’s party?” Bolu looked at Lola as if he couldn’t believe she was serious. “Lola, I have enough things I’m juggling. What am I going to do at a kiddie's party?”
“You can be with me. With Tinuke. There will be other families there too. And you can meet my friends. Come on, dear, we hardly do anything together anymore.”
“Okay… How about I take you out to dinner tomorrow night?”
“Bolu, it’s really not the same. Can’t you just take one day off? Must you work every weekend?” Lola sat on the bed, looking despondent.
Bolu looked at his watch, stressed. He wasn’t ready for this discussion. When would Lola understand that there were just some sacrifices they had to make for his career, and that their marriage didn’t have to fit any blueprint? It wasn’t that he didn’t want to be at home on Saturdays, it’s just that he got so much more work done on a Saturday afternoon. He was more focused, because there were fewer distractions at the office during weekends.
Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes.
Bolu heard the whisper of the Lord in his Spirit. This was about priorities, and he was falling into his old workaholic mentality again. This was much harder than he’d realised, keeping the vision to put his relationship with his wife and family first.
He bent down to look at his wife, and raised her chin with his hand. “Okay. For you, I’ll be there. I promise.”
She threw her arms around him and they hugged each other tightly. “Thank you, Baby.” She left out a huge sigh of relief.
He gave her a quick, but soft kiss on the lips, before pulling her up from the bed to escort him to the door. At the door, they hugged again, and Bolu hastened to his car.
“Have a great day!” Lola shouted after him, and then shut the door, when he’d entered his car.
Lola looked at her watch. 3:15pm. The party was in full swing, and Bolu was nowhere in sight. He’d told her not to wait for him, and that he would meet her there latest 3pm, and it was looking like he had forgotten…or changed his mind about coming. She didn’t want to call him. It would just make her emotional and want to go home.
Fortunately, she had Temi and a few of her friends, to keep her company. Even Temi’s husband, Oyinda, had come, and the man was always travelling! However, Temi wasn’t looking her jovial self today.
Lola had invited Chidinma to join a WhatsApp group she had with a few friends, and she and Temi had hit it off as well. However, Chidinma was busy helping her sister-in-law with the party. A couple other mothers from the group were there with their babies. Only one of their single friends showed up.
Angela had been dating a guy she really liked, who she was sure was going to propose, until he dumped her on New Year’s Day. They had told her it was a blessing in disguise, and that God had better plans for her this year.
“Temi, you okay?” Lola asked, after studying her friend for a while.
Temi tried to smile, but it didn’t reach her eyes. “I’m okay.”
“Let’s go for a walk…” Lola said, tugging at Temi’s arm.
Temi rose up reluctantly, and Lola swung her arm through hers. They walked away towards the outdoor pool area of the Chukweke mansion, where the birthday party was being held for Uchechukwu and Chukwudi Chukwueke. The party was well attended for a 'kiddie's party', as Bolu had called it. There was a separate area for the grownups, where they had a buffet, while the kids had a bit of a Fun Fair set up with candy stores, hotdog stands, carnival rides, arcade games and more. Lola was blown away by the extravagance of it all.
The women got to the pool area, which was sparse, compared to the rest of the compound. They leaned against the railing that surrounded the pool, and looked on at the party. Temi sighed.
“So, what’s going on with you?” Lola asked.
“Nothing… It’s nothing.”
“Temi, you know you can tell me. I know I’ve been a bit preoccupied with Tinuke for the last four months, but I am still your best friend. You can be real with me…”
“I had a miscarriage,” Temi looked at Lola and swallowed. Oyinda appeared to be having a good time. He seemed to know a couple of people at the party, and Temi had been observing the way he kept looking at one of the women.
“You did? Oh, Temi. I’m so sorry. That must be painful. I didn’t even know you were pregnant. How far along were you?”
“Just about two months. I hadn’t even told Oyinda.”
“Why? Is everything okay between you guys?” Lola looked over at where Oyinda was sitting. He looked like his usual self.
“Ummm…” Temi muttered, and tried to pull herself together. This was not the place to have a heart to heart and breakdown before her friend. “Yeah… I guess I didn’t know how I felt about having another baby… I was actually a bit relieved.”
“Really?” Lola raised an eye-brow.
Temi let out a sigh. “Really.” She turned to Lola, wondering if she should relay her suspicion about her husband. She swallowed and took a chance. “I think Oyinda’s having an affair.”
Lola gasped, and just then, she spotted Bolu, and smiled, happy that he came. She immediately felt guilty and turned to her friend. “I’m so sorry. That’s horrible! Why do you think so?”
Bolu hadn’t spotted them yet, and was looking around for Lola. To help him spot her, she shouted “Bolu!!”
When he saw them, he started to walk in their direction. Temi was uncomfortable. She started to walk away, but Lola pulled her in for a hug. “We have to talk about this later, okay? Please don’t worry about it. God’s got you!”
Temi nodded, getting teary-eyed. She wiped it, before turning to greet Bolu.
“I’m sorry I’m late, Babe. Hi, Temi,” Bolu greeted.
“Hi,” Temi smiled and hugged Bolu briefly, before leaving the happy couple alone.
Kemi Ojo had been double-minded about whether or not to attend Ifeanyi and Mary’s party for their twins. Mary had mentioned it to her last Sunday at Church, when they had bumped into each other, and she’d accidentally invited herself. She’d said she would like to help out, and Mary had seemed unsure how she would be contributing to the party. She’d said she could help with the distribution of gifts, and Mary had smiled and said thanks.
But when the day came, Kemi didn’t feel comfortable about going. However, she thought it might seem weird if she didn’t show up at all, so she’d decided to go. For good measure, she took her nieces, and relieved their mother for a few hours that Saturday. Mary had appeared genuinely pleased to see her and the small children she had brought along. The kids were beyond excited when they saw the Fun Fair that was set up for them, and had quickly run and climbed unto the bouncy castle.
Kemi spotted a familiar frame by the buffet. Is that Oyinda? She doubted it would be him, because he had said something about going to Port Harcourt for the weekend.
She took a plate, and entered the queue beside him. He turned to her, and his smile was interrupted by shock, and what looked like fear. So, it was him! What was he doing here, and why was he looking at her as if she was a werewolf about to bite him?
“Surprised to see me?” Kemi asked.
"Yeah…!” he laughed strangely, stealing a quick glance around the compound, as though he was watching out for someone. “What are you doing here?”
“Mary and Ifeanyi are my friends. What are you doing here?”
“Wow, it’s a small world! They’re my friends too,” he lied. He had only accompanied his wife.
Oyinda’s heart was racing fast. He put his plate on a tray and collected his bottle of water. Raising his tray full of food, as if to show why he couldn’t talk, he said, “I’ll see you, later.”
Kemi just looked at him, as he went to sit with his friends. Why was he behaving so oddly? And why did he lie about going to Port Harcourt? Was that a wedding band she’d just seen on his finger?
Since she had been dissed, and he hadn’t even been happy to see her, Kemi decided to go to another table to have her lunch. Occasionally, she looked in his direction. And once in a while, she caught him looking at her. What game was he playing at? She was so pissed off, she wished she could just leave. But she’d brought her nieces, and they were not leaving in a hurry.
Chidinma was meeting Nomnso’s girlfriend, Kay, for the first time. She was pretty and smart, and she liked her already. She could see that Nomnso was very smitten with her. NYSC was really working out well for their family, she thought. First, Ifeanyi met and fell in love with Mary, and now Nomnso finds his true love in Camp!
“So, which Church do you go to?” Chidinma asked Kay, smiling. She was finally able to sit down long enough to enjoy a meal.
“I don’t have one.”
Chidinma was confused. “You don’t go to Church?”
“I do. But not just one. I fellowship anywhere,” Kay said, starting to feel a little uncomfortable. She didn’t like these sorts of questions.
“But why? Don’t you want to be accountable to a Church?”
“Well, I have to find and choose the one I want to be accountable to, right? I haven’t yet.”
Chidinma looked at Nomnso. “So, this Sunday, where are you going?”
“I don’t know. I might follow Nomnso to his Church.”
Chidinma was stuck. She didn’t know how to proceed with her questioning. What type of Christian was Kay? She didn’t know how to relate with her nor understand her perspective on Christianity, if she couldn’t find the denomination to place her in.
“Okay. But, you are Protestant, right?”
Kay smiled. This was so typical. “Do I have to be? I am just a Believer in Jesus Christ.”
It was all Chidinma could do not to shout “What sort of Christian are you?!“. Nomnso looked at his sister, and tried to hide his amusement. He had gone through the same thing when trying to understand Kay’s beliefs. She was non-denominational in the strictest sense. She had some beliefs about Christianity that he had found strange, but refreshing. But one thing, she definitely knew what she believed. It just didn’t fit into any religious box.
Kay decided to turn the tables around. “So, which Church do you go to?”
“Blessed Christ Baptist Church,” Chidinma swiftly answered.
Kay nodded. “Why?”
Chidinma was surprised by that question. “Well, my husband is a Minister there… Well, he’s travelled now. But that’s our Church.”
Chidinma fell silent. She actually didn’t really know why she had chosen that Church, other than the fact that her husband went and served there. And he had been raised in that Church. He was a Baptist. She wasn’t sure what she was. She’d just followed him there, and now it was home.
“That’s great. I’m happy you have a Fellowship you can call home. Maybe I’ll visit one day.”
To be continued…
Photo credit: www.pixabay.com
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