Makuo stirs lazily on the bed. She knew she had to get up and get set for the day if she wants to catch a bus going to Enugu today. She has only come to Anambara yesterday evening and did not plan on leaving so soon, not to talk of as early as the wee hours of the next morning. She arrived in Anambra yesterday to pay her mother a visit. She stopped at the little market near home to pick up some food stuffs, her plan is to make dinner and give her mother a treat. Had she known that her mother would turn her visit into a prayer session for her invisible husband she would have remained in her flat in Enugu, have a glass of wine and stretch her legs on her cormfortable sofa.
Chukwuma has called Makuo that morning too telling her that he bought their mother a car but would bring it down to the east during Christmas. He also called their mother but didn’t disclose what the suprise was. If only her mother knew it was a car not a daughter in-law she would probably stop dancing.
Makuo made her mothers favorite meal for dinner- Plaintain porridge mixed with smoked fish and nchuanwu leaves. She takes her mothers plate to the parlour and goes into the room to tell her dinner is ready. They always eat in the parlour, the dining room is never almost used besides from when they needed something from the fridge.
“You’re not eating?” her mother ask with a mouthful of plantain porridge
“I’m not hungry, yet”
A pall of silence is cast over the room and they both sit there. Makuo is on her phone sliding her friend’s enagagement pictures on facebook. She has accepted to be a bridesmaid at Nneka’s wedding next month. Almost all her friends are married or engaged but Makuo is never the one to want something just because someone has it, or a number of people to say the most, but, on the other hand she thinks “what i’m i doing wrong that no one seems to show interest in me for a long time” She heaves a sigh and closes the app. In no time her mother dropped the plate.
“Nne, this food is very delicious. It’s too bad your man has refused to come out of hiding so you’ll show him your skills” her mother said, and ended with an almost silent sigh
“Which man”? Makuo asked, looking confused
“Your husband of course! I dont know what part of this world he is in but dear Lord,” her mother had now broken into a prayer with her knees on the floor, eyes closed and hand lifted up to the sky “Lord begin to direct him to my daughters life. Enough is enough. my own will not be different in Jesus name…” She had expected to hear Makuo echo a resounding amen but on opening her eyes, Makuo was nowhere in sight and neither was her plate. Makuo had taken her plate to the kitchen, left her in the praying position and went to bed.
When Makuo visits she never plans to travel back to Enugu so soon but her mother never made any of her visits to Anambra worthwhile. Her mother has always looked downstairs from her upstairs room a little longer with hope that there would be a man following in her walk up the stairs. She always digress from praising Makuo’s delicious meal to praying for a man to eat her meals.
Makuo is tired of her mothers behaviours. Although not new, she had hoped that they would change as the years did, but never.
“Breakfast is-” her mother was cut short being taken back by Makuo fully dressed appearance with her small travel bag packed and sitting on top of the already made bed
“Adanneya, are you leaving today? Already? You only just arrived yesterday”
“Yes, I have to leave now before the Eastern Mass buses are fully booked”
“If it’s about last night, my dear i’m sorry It’s just that…”
“Mum, just that what? Just that i won’t rest because I have not gotten married? Is what you want to push Chukwuma and I into making the wrong decision of a life partner?” Makuo said, now with teary eyes
“No mum, you listen; I won’t kill myself. There are no husbands for sale in the market, even if they are, I won’t buy one to make you happy and neither will I settle for the wrong man. I’m leaving, I’ll credit your account as usual by month end. Take care of yourself and call me if anything comes up”
With that, Makuo walked past her mother and out of the house.
Makuo unlocks the door to her flat, just a day away and the air is dull, she turns on the fans and slumps on the sofa. She brings out her phone and sends her mother a text telling her that she had gotten to Enugu safely. She got up, opened the windows and picked up her work phone where she had dropped it on the table and turned it on. Makuo had decided to have two mobile phones- one for work and the other for her personal contacts. As the phone came on, the message tone beeped and she opened the messsage-
“Makuo, i need someone to cover up for Mrs Nkemjika on New year’s Eve. A couple is coming to survey the creche and you are the only one i can rely on. Let me know if you’re up to it.”
It is the assistant headmistress at the school where she works. Makuo begins to wonder what the lady had meant by “you are the only one i can rely on” but Makuo already knew- It was because she was the only unmarried woman in the office and the headmistress did not want to take other women away from their families. “What if i wanted to go see my mother” She thinks to herself, then she sighs wheen she remembers her mother would rather she comes with a man than she comes to visit alone. She replies the text and tells the assistant headmistress that she would be available.
It’s Nneka’s wedding today. Minutes after the couple and the train dance into the reception, Makuo disappears. She goes to the restroom with the excuse of having a stomach ache and stare continually at her self in the mirror. “A bridesmaid yet again” she whispers, She looks at her freshly manicured nails, Her hair hanging down in curlsbecause that’s what Nneka had wanted, If Makuo had her way, her hair would have been stlyed into a bun. Her makeup flawless- the bride had insisted that the makeup artist would be in charge of her bridesmaids look. Makuo remembered the proud rich smile on Nneka’s face when she said the bills are on her husband.
In all honesty, Makuo did not have a tummy ache, she just said that to escape all that was going on outside. There were five ladies on the bridal train. Three were engaged, one in a serious relationship and the fifth? the fifth was her, staring at herself in the restroom mirror; tears ruining the makeup that Nneka’s husband footed the bills for.
Makuo finially decided to share in her friend’s joy. She wipes her eyes and steps out of the restroom. There’re screams starring up in one corner and Makuo rushes up to see what the fuss was all about. The fourth bridesmaid had just been proposed to and of course she said yes, (just like it happens on Bella Naija). It would have been a suprise if she didn’t considering that he is all she had been talking about all day. Makuo feels a hand pat on the back, she turns around and on seeing Nneka, she flashes her a forced sad smile. Nneka smiles back at her and just before her husband came to steal her away she whispers to Makuo
“Nne, he’ll come”
A psychology Major and a book lover, Ifunanya Anumba loves to spin yarns.